On 8 February 2021, the CFC was an observer to the organizational session of the Preparatory Committee for the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5). The meeting was inaugurated by Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative & Secretary-General of the Fifth UN Conference on LDCs.
Ambassador Sheikh Mohammed Belal, Managing Director, represented the CFC. Participating in the event virtually from Amsterdam. During his intervention, Ambassador Belal urged the United Nations (UN) to look for answers for some simple questions before they decide on the big ones. Ambassador Belal posed “Why, despite all our good wishes and accounting sophistications, a coffee grower in Ghana or Rwanda or Colombia gets only a pence worth for a cup of coffee that you and I sipped in a coffee shop? Or Why a women worker, who left her village for slum in the outskirt of Dhaka or Dakar, gets only 12 cents for a polo shirt you and I bought from a superstore nearby for no less than 14 USD?”
Referring to Chocolate industry, Ambassador Belal wondered why most smallholder cocoa farmers in West Africa, producing 70% of the world’s cocoa, live on less than $1.25 per day while the industry is over 100 billion dollar? Why they receive approximately just 6.6% of the retail value of a chocolate bar?
Accordingly, he encouraged the delegates to take a proverbial walk backwards and put in place micro initiatives for eventual mega outcomes. On behalf of the CFC, he requested the UN for an analysis of the value chain backward before we go forward.
Ambassador Belal also urged the UN to consider a pool of impact-oriented fund under UN system to address the development issues in the Least Development Countries (LDCs). He called for the UN to be a part of the world being created by the impact revolution exemplifying the idea of “doing well while doing good.”
Ambassador Belal also appealed for dedicated programs for Africa. He stated that with 33 of the 46 LDCs in Africa, LDC 5 may consider specific programs that would help produce millions of agricultural entrepreneurs or ‘agripreneurs’ who can help introduce improvised technologies for a digitally able Africa.
Highlighting the high demand for climate and livelihood projects in the CFC, Ambassador Belal encouraged the UN system to work together to put resources more for the fishing, than the fishing rods. He sought to build synergies to make best use of resources and experiences while avoiding duplications and overlapping as the world wish to relieve the LDCs from the burden of poverty by putting them on the road to prosperity.
As it is crucial to remain committed to sustainable development to build resilience in a post-pandemic world, Ambassador Belal highlighted the growth of impact investing and the CFC’s involvement in it, and called for other actors to join this shared journey.