- Proparco's 2021 Sustainable Development Report has just been released. It is the time we highlight the impacts of our operations, what do we actually mean by "impact"?
Impact refers to the impact of our clients! Our long-standing partners as well as our newer ones. We support them in their activities to develop the products and services needed for tomorrow's resource-efficient, balanced prosperity. We support them in their role as employers for more redistribution and equality between women and men, but also in their social role and as actors of local development. We support them because of their ability to change and reverse the trend of degradation of our environment and our planet, a critical issue affecting us and in turn affecting all economic activity with phenomenal momentum. Proparco has chosen to try to push, boost, and enhance these impacts through decent jobs, access to tomorrow’s services, the climate and soon nature, gender equality and the strengthening of social links which is a prerequisite for shared and sustainable development. We are also modestly measuring our capacity to mobilize private investors and financiers, to go beyond demonstration and to scale up. Or to accelerate the evolution, sometimes the transformation, of our clients.
- What significant impacts have you noticed this year?
After a year hit by the pandemic, we are witness to two major facts: our clients’ resilience and their ability to recover. In terms of employment, it is clear, albeit excepting a few sectors that are still recovering, such as tourism, job losses have been limited or temporary, and there has even been a catch-up in terms of objectives for projects and investments launched before Covid-19. The same is true for access to services, with nearly 9 million beneficiaries expected to gain improved access to an essential good or service within five years, including more than 5 million in Sub-Saharan Africa. Even the impacts in terms of climate change and gender equality are on the rise again, with 700 million euros in climate co-benefit projects, 2 MtCO2eq avoided per year and over 350 million euros of signed amounts qualified for the 2X Challenge.
- Speaking of resilience, how does Proparco support its clients' resilience?
The pandemic disrupted the start of our 2020-2022 roadmap. In 2020, we worked alongside our clients to get through the crisis, provide liquidity to the financial sector and provide emergency aid. In 2021, we were able to deploy significant financing to support the recovery by providing greater support to businesses and restarting infrastructure projects that were put on hold during the health crisis. Beyond the health crisis, accompanying our clients in addressing tomorrow's issues, and in particular the consequences of climate change and biodiversity loss, is a challenge that we must take on. Adaptation to climate change is an issue at the heart of our role as a development finance institution and one in which we have much to do. We will dedicate the next edition of our Private Sector and Development magazine to this topic.
As impact monitoring is now an integral part of your impact analysis process, what conclusions can you draw today?
Impact monitoring is a demanding but essential exercise to demonstrate the actual impacts of our operations and to ensure the relevance of our estimates. This year, the exercise focused on monitoring the results declared by our clients at the end of 2020 for 273 transactions signed between 2015 and 2019, representing a total amount of nearly 5 billion euros. This also contributes to our transparency and accountability efforts. Despite the still significant effect of the Covid-19 crisis, actual impacts at the end of 2020 are almost in line with our forecasts (82% of ex-ante estimates achieved for the maintenance and creation of jobs, 88% for the tCO2e avoided). This is a surprise and a good one, especially since the majority of these impacts are in Africa, a continent whose development and innovation dynamics we are supporting.
- What should we take away from this report?
In substance, that the economy is recovering and that the key word for the private sector and the "Proparco" at their service is, from now on, transformation: of demand, of needs, of products, of actors and, in the end, of the comparative advantages and positioning of each actor. A powerful movement offering opportunities and risks.
Regarding the form, that we have been trying for four years now to report on this transformation with our Sustainable Development Report, in the most honest and transparent way possible by providing data, descriptions and examples, going beyond simple communication.
So see you next year for the edition that will wrap up our 2020-2022 roadmap and lay the foundations for our next one! And above all, a big thank you to the teams for their investment in this important work!
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