IPI MENA Director Highlights Role of Innovation in 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

In an online conference organized by United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Investment and Technology Promotion Office in Bahrain (UNIDO-ITPO) on September 29th, IPI MENA Director Nejib Friji highlighted the role of innovation and entrepreneurship towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Moderating a panel on impact investment through the Enterprise Development & Investment Promotion (EDIP) Program, Mr. Friji pointed to how panelists from across the globe;  Austria, Bahrain, Egypt, India, Mali, and Russia, showcased their best practices, experiences and collective opportunities to link the EDIP sector to other SDG agendas, particularly the efforts to support women and youth through such transitioning times. In particular, women economic empowerment, extensive job creation and economic prosperity for a growing youth population in the long-term. On an infrastructural and policy level, efforts to foster entrepreneurship and resilient SMEs is done alongside strengthening local institutions, and building ecosystems that can catalyze higher domestic investment and FDI.

The panelists highlighted the roles of their organizations in supporting entrepreneurship, innovation and promoting impact investment to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 9, to “build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.” They discussed the support needed to sustain start-ups and the growth of small medium enterprises (SMEs), navigating through the challenges brought on by COVID 19, and how entrepreneurs and innovation are able contribute to new opportunities, by being at the forefront of digitalization and the 4th Industrial Revolution.

The panelists included: Dr. Bernardo Calzadilla-Sarmiento, Managing Directorate of Digitalization, Technology and Agribusiness, UNIDO; H.E. Veronika Peshkova, UNIDO Goodwill Ambassador, Dr. Hashim S. Hussein, Head of UNIDO-ITPO in the Kingdom of Bahrain; H.E. Safia Boly, Former Minister for the promotion of private investment, SMEs and national entrepreneurship, Mali; Dr. Khaled Hanafy, Secretary-General of the Union of Arab Chambers; Anjan Das, Executive Director, Confederation of Indian Industry and Director of Technology and Innovation; and Dr. Sidi Ould Tah, Director-General, Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA).