Scaling up sustainable finance in low- and middle-income countries: High Level Expert Group launches its work – The European Sting – Critical News & Insights on European Politics, Economy, Foreign Affairs, Business & Technology

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The High Level Expert Group (HLEG) on Sustainable Finance Development in Low- and Middle-Income Countries meets today for the first time in Brussels to launch its reflection on the challenges and opportunities of finance in partner countries with a view to providing recommendations to the Commission on how to increase private sector financing. At a time when multiple global crises are weighing heavily on the global economy, wiping out years of progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), helping partner countries access financing for their sustainable infrastructure projects is essential to a global recovery, in line with the Global Gateway strategy.

Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen said: “Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine and its economic fallout have had a huge impact on countries around the world, increasing the financing gap needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Public resources continue to play an important role, but this is not enough. As Team Europe, we are stepping up our efforts to attract private capital to sustainable investments. I look forward to the recommendations of the High-Level Panel of Experts. These will feed into the EU’s future sustainable financing strategy for low- and middle-income countries, which will support and stimulate the implementation of Global Gateway.

Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations Oliver Varhelyi added: “In these difficult times, it is crucial to develop sustainable finance in all low- and middle-income countries, including in our immediate neighborhood to the East and South. These countries need substantial investment more than ever, especially now, in the aftermath of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. If we want to see our neighborhood partners undertake the necessary reforms and invest in sustainable projects, more resources are needed and we must mobilize the private sector more. Our economic and investment plans designed with our partners will undoubtedly have a key contribution in this regard.

The group’s task is to identify over the next nine months how the European Commission could, through a Team Europe approach, help secure the necessary financing from the private sector for the massive investments needed to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges. more urgent and ensure sustainable development. The recommendations, which are expected to be presented around mid-2023, will inform an overall Commission strategy to scale up sustainable finance in low- and middle-income countries. The strategy will help fill the investment gap in partner countries and implement the EU Global Gateway strategy.

The group brings together 20 highly qualified members selected on the basis of their expertise, from a company or institution they represent, taking into account geographical and gender parity. The 20 band members are:

  • Ms. Ayaan Adam, Senior Director and Managing Director, African Finance Corporation Capital Partners
  • Dr Kenneth Amaeshi, Professor, European University Institute
  • Mr. Obaid Amrane, Managing Director, Ithmar Capital
  • Mr. Antoni Ballabriga, Global Head of Responsible Business, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria
  • Mr. Hans-Ulrich Beck, Global Head of ESG Products / Executive Vice President, Strategy and Product Development, Sustainalytics
  • Dr. G Ganesh Das, Head – Collaboration and Innovation
  • Mr. Michael Gotore, Chief Financial Officer, Namibia Power Corporation
  • Ms. Nadja Håkansson, Senior Vice President Hub Africa, Siemens Energy Africa
  • Ms. Laetitia Hamon, Head of Sustainable Finance, Luxembourg Stock Exchange
  • Mr. Martin Jonasson, Legal Director, Andra AP-fonden
  • Ms. Judy Kuszewski, Chair, Global Sustainability Standards Council, Global Reporting Initiative
  • Mrs. Elodie Laugel, Chief Responsible Investment Officer & Member of the Executive Committee, Amundi
  • Ms. Senida Mesi, Board Member, Sustainable Development Solution Network (SDSN)
  • Mr. Uche Orji, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority
  • Dr Nicola Ranger, Head of Sustainable Finance for Development Research, Oxford Sustainable Finance Group, University of Oxford
  • Ms. Alice Ruhweza, Regional Director for Africa, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
  • Mr. Thede Rüst, Head of Emerging Markets Debt Shop, Nordea Asset Management
  • Ms. Zalina Shamsudin, Head of International Programs – Asia-Pacific, Climate Bonds Initiative
  • Mr. Claus Stickler, Global Co-Head, Allianz Investment Management SE
  • Mr. Iker Vinageras, Head of ESG Solutions, Bolsa Institucional de Valores

In addition, 20 representatives of European Development Finance Institutions and Multilateral Development Banks, as well as relevant international organizations and forums were appointed as observers. They are: African Development Bank (ADB), Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), Coalition of Ministers of Finance for Climate Action, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Association of European Development Finance Institutions (EDFI Association), European Investment Bank (EIB), Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation Ltd (FINNFUND), Netherlands Development Finance Corporation ( FMO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), International Platform for Sustainable Finance (IPSF), Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Proparco (for the account of the AFD Group), the Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), United Nations Development Program nt (UNDP), United Nations Environment Program – Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI) and World Bank Group.


The creation of this group was announced in the Strategy for financing the transition to a sustainable economy, which was published by the Commission in July 2021. In response to the call for applications published in April 2022, the European Commission has received a very large number of applications from civil society, academia, the business and finance community and other non-public sector institutions and selected 20 high-level experts from EU Member States and partner countries.