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SDG Investment Trends Monitor. April 2021

31 May 2021

The UNCTAD study analyzes the impact of COVID-19 on investments in the UN Sustainable Development Goals from a perspective of goals, objectives and sectors.

The Roscongress Foundation presents the salient points of the publication accompanied by fragments of broadcasts of relevant panel discussions from the business programme of international events held by the Roscongress Foundation.

International private investment in developing countries related to the sustainable development goals fell by one third in 2020, jeopardizing their achievement.

The reason for this was the pandemic. The total amount of announced investments in new projects decreased by 33%, and international project finance (large infrastructure projects with many investors) fell by 36%. Thus, the pandemic has nullified the increase in investment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) over the past 5 years, starting in 2015. Moreover, new investments (greenfield investments) for the SDGs of developing countries and countries with economies in transition are now almost 20% lower than the level before 2015, and the financing of international projects is lower by more than 30%.


Developing countries bear the brunt of declining investment in the SDGs.

In developed countries, significant government aid packages have gone to industries such as renewable energy and digital infrastructure. This situation leads to asymmetry and distorts the picture of global trends in investment in the SDGs.

Within the group of developing states, the most difficult situation is in the least developed countries, which is a matter of concern for the world community. In least developed countries, investment in new projects related to the SDGs fell by 31% and international project finance by 23%.

Regionally: in Africa, investments in the SDGs fell by 39%, in Latin America by 40%, in Asia by 23%, and in countries with economies in transition by 28%. However, with regard to international project finance, in developing countries in Asia, investments in this context fell by only 13%.


With the exception of renewables, investments in all SDG sectors have declined.

In the case of renewable energy sources, the picture was distorted by data in developed countries. However, even in this sector, investment growth has dropped to less than 1/5 of the pre-COVID-19 growth rate.

As for infrastructure projects and infrastructure industries (utilities, telecommunications), international project financing fell by 60% in value terms.

The cost of new projects in agriculture and food processing, water supply and sanitation, health and education were by one to two thirds lower than in 2019.


For more information, see the special sections of the Roscongress Foundation Information and Analytical System: Sustainable Development, Economic Inequality, Standards of living, dedicated to achieving the UN sustainable development goals and global challenges and responses to them.

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