7-8 June 2017

Tour & Taxis

Avenue du Port 86 – 1000 Brussels



Organised by the European Commission, the European Development Days (EDD) bring the development community together each year to share ideas and experiences in ways that inspire new partnerships and innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.

The European Development Days is Europe’s leading forum on international cooperation and development. EDD 2017 focused on promoting a new global strategy to address the most pressing current global development challenges and bringing together development actors committed to tackling poverty worldwide with a particular emphasis on engaging the private sector as a partner in economic development. Overarching objectives of the private sector engagement include the promotion of inclusive growth and the creation of decent jobs in particular for women and youth, which leads to improved living conditions.

I. Sustainable investments in developing countries by the private sector

What can be done to boost private sustainable investments in developing countries so the Sustainable Development Goals can be reached?

This panel highlighted examples of successful private businesses that were able to scale up their operations in a sustainable way using renewable energy, thanks to grants and loans from multilateral development banks.

Key points

  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) require massive investment, which can only be mobilised if the private sector is involved.
  • There is a current debate about opportunities and risks of blended finance.
  • Blended finance should reinforce the market and support viable businesses.
  • Sustainable investment requires an enabling business environment.

II. Digitalisation

Mainstreaming digital technologies in EU development aid to help developing economies and societies benefit from the digital revolution

Just as globalisation shows signs of becoming more of a two-way street between developed and developing nations, many politicians are gaining traction by denouncing internationalism. One strategy to encourage girls to go into STEM disciplines: replace the ‘hierarchical’ educational approach with hands-on, practical experiences where students can learn by doing.

Key points

  • Africa is leapfrogging the rest of the world on digitalisation and is primed to continue.
  • A predictable regulatory environment is essential.
  • The harmonisation policies on a regional level can help fuel the process.
  • Young people, especially girls, need to be encouraged to go into careers in technology to take advantage of future employment opportunities.

III. Investing in women entrepreneurs

Enabling women’s economic participation for sustainable growth and rural development

Key points

  • Women entrepreneurs in Africa already generate significant employment and tax revenues while also gaining personal autonomy and independence.
  • Advances to gender equality could add US$28 trillion to global GDP by 2025.
  • The challenges facing woman entrepreneurs are well documented; what is needed now is action to unleash their business potential.
  • Future success will require access to commercial-scale credit, not just microfinance, for women to grow their businesses.
  • Negative male attitudes to women’s business ideas need to change in the banking sector.


IV. The smart investment – empowering women in the economy

The transformational impact of working with the private sector to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment

Key points

  • The economic potential of increased female participation in the workforce is enormous. African women alone drive the new growth in their countries.
  • Progress on gender equality is crucial for the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of ending hunger. An end to hunger would improve gender equality.
  • Business management skills are essential for women’s financial inclusion in developing economies.
  • The political empowerment of women cannot be separated from economic empowerment.




EFMC – European Fund Management Consulting

Agnese Accapezzato

PR and Communications Manager