Development: why the swiss government wants to mobilise the trillions

November 20173 min readFilter sector option: Financial inclusion, Filter sector option: Sustainable food, Filter sector option: Climate financeBlended Finance

On 10 October, a responsAbility event dedicated to development investments and the role of public-private partnerships was held at the premises of the Swiss Embassy in London. Following a keynote by responsAbility CEO Rochus Mommartz, a panel discussion on How to mobilise the trillions featured such distinguished guests as Philipp Hildebrand, vice-chair of BlackRock; Guido Fürer, Group Chief Investment Officer, Swiss Re; and Nick O’Donohoe, CEO of CDC Group. Alexandre Fasel, the Swiss Ambassador to the United Kingdom, explains why he was pleased to host the event.

Mr. Ambassador, why did you invite responsAbility to London?

responsAbility is a long-standing partner of the Swiss government in the field of development investments. Switzerland has been at the forefront when it comes to enabling the cooperation between the private and the public sectors in this field and Swiss asset managers have helped to bridge the gap between the Swiss capital market and the micro and SME finance sectors in developing and emerging economies – which is exactly where the Swiss government wants to promote. Development investments, therefore, are an important area of activity for Switzerland and responsAbility has shown us the way.

“Development investments are an important area of activity for Switzerland and responsAbility has shown us the way.”

Alexandre Fasel, Swiss Ambassador to the UK, London

In a previous posting you acted as Swiss ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva. You are therefore very much familiar with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. How does this event tie in with these goals?

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals –what we call the Agenda 2030 – is the framework through which all the activities of the international community, and notably the United Nations and their agencies, funds, and programmes, are being organised. As such, it is very much the constitution of the international community when it comes to sustainable development. While the Sustainable Development Goals are clearly defined, we do realize that we will never be able to reach them if we rely uniquely on public funding. To act on the agenda 2030, we need a close cooperation between the public and the private sector. This is what my government’s cooperation with responsAbility is all about – as this event was supposed to highlight.

“To act on the UN’s Agenda 2030, we need a tight cooperation between the public and the private sector. This is what the Swiss government’s cooperation with responsAbility is all about.”

Alexandre Fasel, Swiss Ambassador to the UK, London

Swiss asset managers have been at the forefront of development investments for years. Is this a fact that you want to share with London’s financial community?

I believe that Switzerland’s leading role in the field is a well-known fact among experts. To ensure we retain this position we want to bring in as many partners and new actors as possible. The challenge lies in having everybody work together towards a common goal. We need development financing from public investors as well as private sector development investments. We need this coming together of the private and public concerns. To put the cooperation into practice, to make it the normal thing to do, remains a challenge. So in a first step, we assemble as many partners as possible on this platform.

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