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: Thought Leaders Unite to Mobilize Finance for Sustainable Development Goals at 2023 Sustainability Table Discourse Series

Thought Leaders Unite to Mobilize Finance for Sustainable Development Goals at 2023 Sustainability Table Discourse Series

In an era where the world grapples with critical environmental challenges, climate change, and sustainability, the 2023 Sustainability Table Discourse Series (STS) is set to convene an insightful array of thought leaders, policymakers, and business leaders to address key critical policy issues such as decarbonization strategies, the mobilization of finance for timely climate action, and the creation of ecosystems that address climate change, environmental, and SDGs-related issues.

Now in its seventh year, the event is dedicated to advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and driving the transition towards a circular economy. The Sustainability Table Discourse 2023 will center its discussions on the critical need to mobilize finance for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the imperative need for investments in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related areas.

A Gathering of Influential Voices

The event, scheduled for 10.00 am, Thursday, November 2nd, 2023, at the Lagos Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, will witness Lagos Governor Mr. Babajide Sanwo Olu, Kwara First Lady, Dr. Olufolake Abdul Razaq, Dr. Isiaq Salako, the Minister of State for Environment and Ecological Management, Dr. Yunus Akintunde, Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment, Akintunde Oyebode, Ekiti State Commissioner for Finance and Economic Development, Tokunbo Wahab, Lagos State Commissioner for Environment. From the private sector, Mohamad Darwish, CEO, IHS Nigeria, Kola Aina, Founding Partner, Ventures Platform, Tariye Gbadegesin, CEO, ARM Harith Infrastructure Investment Limited) and Olumide Lala CEO, Climate Finance and Investment Accelerator funded by the UK Department of Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) amongst other stakeholders.

A Vision for Prosperity: The theme of this year’s discourse is “Sustainability to Prosperity: Mobilizing Finance for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).” Kayode Olaniyan, the convener of the Sustainability Table and Principal Consultant at Avantgarde, stated that

“We are once again going beyond the rhetoric, the speakers are subject matter experts who will share insights into channeling finance into SDG-related projects. We are not just discussing the critical $10 billion funding gap for the SDGs but we will harness this challenge as an opportunity to attract capital and impact investments into sustainable projects for economic prosperity. This year, we’re placing a special emphasis on integrating ESG principles into funding strategies, guiding us toward maximizing the returns on these investments.

In this discourse, we aim to empower decision-makers with actionable insights, shaping a future where investments lead to impactful change. We will address policy issues and create a roadmap for global progress, unravel the climate geopolitics, drive decarbonization, mobilize climate finance, and nurture a resilient ecosystem.”

“There is an intensifying urgency to mobilize finance for achieving the SDGs by changing the narrative, telling our sustainability success stories as Nigerians and Africans to the rest of the world.” He underlined the enormous potential and capacity that Nigeria holds for socio-economic prosperity when aligned with the SDGs.

Speaking with journalists on the upcoming launch of his book “Not a Tick in the Box,” which is one of the activities at the STS 2023, Olaniyan stated that the book is a compelling journey into the heart of sustainable business practices. “This transformative body of work challenges individuals, businesses, and stakeholders to go beyond superficial corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts and intentionally integrate sustainability into their core strategies. Through engaging narratives and illustrative examples, Olaniyan illustrates that sustainability is not a mere checkbox exercise but a profound reorientation towards economic prosperity while upholding environmental and social responsibility. This book bridges the gap between profit and the planet, urging readers to embrace a transformative journey that harmonizes business success with a better, more responsible, and environmentally conscious future.

The Imperative of Investment

Highlighting the significance of the event, Olaniyan emphasized that Nigeria currently faces an annual funding gap of $10 billion to meet the SDGs, as estimated by the United Nations. SDGs represent a global call to action, aiming to transform the world by ending poverty and inequality, protecting the planet, and ensuring health, justice, and prosperity for all.

An Investment in a Greener Tomorrow: This year’s discourse will delve into various aspects of financing for the SDGs, including strategies to close the funding gap, showcasing Nigeria’s potential for sustainable growth on the global stage, and identifying factors contributing to the funding deficit.

Sponsors and Partners

The STS 2023 is sponsored by IHS Nigeria, the largest subsidiary of IHS Towers, the fifth largest independent multinational TowerCo globally by tower count spanning 11 countries and impacting the lives of over 750 million people. With ownership of over 16,000 towers in Nigeria and the deployment of 6,500 kilometres of metro optic fibre across 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in just 18 months, IHS has facilitated the expansion of telecom services, ensuring that more Nigerians are connected than ever before. IHS is aggressively laying fibre across Nigeria, bridging the digital divide, and ensuring connectivity for all. Its diverse portfolio of services includes optic fibre connectivity, rural telephony, and cutting-edge solutions such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Edge Data Centre.

Listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: IHS) in October 2021, demonstrating the potential of a Nigerian-rooted company, IHS is a strong advocate for sustainability evident in the investment of over $100 million in its Project Green initiative. The initiative is geared towards reducing carbon emissions across IHS’s extensive network of over 16,000 sites in Nigeria by a commendable 50% by the year 2030. IHS’s approach to sustainability is guided by the UN Global Compact, to which the company has been a signatory since 2020, and its sustainability strategy is structured around four pillars: Ethics and governance, Environment and climate change, Education and economic growth, and People and Communities. Sustainability is also one of its core values.

Other sponsors of the Sustainability Table discourse 2023 include Ekiti State Government, Clarence Gate Investment Limited, and ACIOE (an advisory services firm) amongst other partners.

The Sustainability table is convened by Avantgarde Innovation and Technology Services Limited, an environmental and sustainability one-stop shop.

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