On Monday, May 31, 2021, the AmCham MENA Regional Council, hosted the second webinar in a series of regional webinars focusing on the economy in the MENA region. The webinar titled: “The Prospects of a Post COVID-19 Economic Recovery and Sustainability: A Regional Perspective” featured guest speaker Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, Executive Director for Arab States, International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Joining Mr. Mohieldin were Mr. Samer Judeh, Board member, AmCham Jordan, Mr. Hisham Fahmy, CEO, AmCham Egypt Inc., and Mr. Tarek Tawfik, President, AmCham Egypt.
In his presentation, Mr. Mohieldin discussed the uneven recovery during the pandemic in which Egypt exceptionally managed to have growth, as opposed to the downward trend of most countries.
Additionally, he shared the global effect of the pandemic on the real economy and finance systems in relation to increasing extreme poverty, acute hunger, increasing education poverty, and total employment.
Mr. Mohieldin shared his insights on the widening gap in SDG financing, adding: “There are opportunities in investing in the SDGs, especially with the widening gap in funding”. He elaborated on that, explaining that the unmet SDG financing gap was $2.5 trillion prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and additional needs due to COVID-19 spending in 2020 amounted to $1 trillion. A drop in external private resources in 2020 reached a total of $700 Billion.
He further explained that the SDGs open up $12 trillion of market opportunities in four economic systems: food and agriculture, cities, energy and materials, and health and wellbeing. To capture these opportunities in full, businesses need to pursue social and environmental sustainability as avidly as they pursue market share and shareholder value.
The webinar concluded by a Q&A session moderated by Mr. Tarek Tawfik.