Ashish Kumar,Deputy General Manager Export-Import Bank of India

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1.From your perspective, why do you think the SDGs are important for DFIs as a way forward?
The contours of developmental goals for the international community have been redefined to be more inclusive and just in nature, with a significant role envisaged for the private sector and civil society in achievement of these goals. These Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) serve to blend the economic, social and environmental priorities of the global economy. In this context, the developmental mandate of DFIs impart them a distinctive role in facilitating achievement of these goals. Over the past several decades, DFIs have played an instrumental role in adopting innovative approaches and providing resources, tools and technologies for developmental needs. DFIs now need to realign their activities to be more responsive to the idea of “The Future We Want”.

2. From where your institution operates, how do you think these SDGs will impact inclusive development in your country through your DFI?
The activities of Export-Import Bank of India (Exim India) have been in consonance with the developmental priorities, and several programs of the bank are already in sync with the path envisaged for meeting the SDGs. Recognizing the role of private sector in sustainable development, the Bank has supported myriad firms, with varied scales of operations, at all stages of export business cycle. Adopting an inclusive approach to developmental financing, the Bank has also supported firms at the grassroots level by way of financial support, capacity building and skill development, and export marketing. Exim India’s programs have not only benefitted the domestic economy but also provided a fresh resonance to development in other countries as well. The Lines of Credit (LOC) programme of the Bank is a demand driven, development oriented and non-prescriptive program, which serves to strengthen South-South cooperation and is in line with the policy of nurturing development partners for mutual growth. The LOC programme of the Bank strives to fulfil the goal of revitalizing global partnership for sustainable development. Exim India finances projects in other developing countries in a variety of sectors like Agriculture, Transportation, Manufacturing (cement, sugar), Conventional and Renewable Energy (generation, transmission and rural electrification) and Infrastructure, thereby assisting these countries in nudging closer to achieving of the SDGs. The Bank has also signed an agreement for a long term loan with the European Investment Bank to support projects that contribute to climate change mitigation. Exim India has also arranged for a credit line from the Asian Development Bank for providing foreign currency term loans to the MSME borrowers in certain specific lagging provinces of India, with the purpose of increasing competitiveness in the relatively less developed regions and helping them integrate into the mainstream economy. Going beyond its usual course of business, Exim India has also contributed positively in areas such as health, education, technology, training, sports, and institutional capacity building, among others. In line with the focus on SDGs among the developmental community, the commitments of the Bank are expected to strengthen.

3. What projects have your institution financed /supported that are in line with the SDGs? (e.g., in the areas of poverty reduction, clean energy, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, clean water and sanitation, etc.”)
SDG 2: Zero hunger: – Under an LOC to Government of Senegal, 2394 diesel engine pump sets were supplied from India and installed in rice producing zones of the country. As a result, coverage area under irrigation has increased more than two fold and rice production in the region has gone up by 180%. According to some estimates, around 40% of the rice demand of Northern Senegal is being met by local production, as compared to the earlier 19% of local demand. The project has contributed to reduction in the import bill of food products as also generated employment for field workers (particularly women farmers) and servicing staff of equipment.

SDG3: Good health and well-being: – A joint venture between Indian and African companies for a pharmaceutical formulation manufacturing facility at El Sadat Industrial Area, Egypt, was supported under Exim India’s Overseas Investment Finance Programme. The company has an installed capacity to produce approximately 130 mn capsules and/or 160 mn tablets. This has expanded access to affordable medicines in the local market.

SDG 4: Quality education: – Mozambique IT Park has been financed under Exim India’s LOC extended to the Government of Mozambique. The project involved setting up of and developing a science and technology park as well as a technological development and innovation centre. The IT Park has imparted training in hardware and software to more than 500 students.

SDG 5: Gender equality: – Exim India helped Patiala Handicrafts Society, Punjab, India in organizing a four-month Design Development and Training Workshop, and also provided financial support to the association. The association works towards income-generation and welfare of women from marginalized and underprivileged section of the rural community. More than 5000 artisans are associated with the association for their livelihoods.

SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation: – Exim India has signed three Buyer’s Credit Agreements, under National Export Insurance Account with National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB), Sri Lanka, for financing projects in water sector. The projects would supply potable water to nearly one million people.

SDG 7: Affordable and clean Energy: – Two LOCs were extended to the Government of Rwanda for financing the 28 MW Nyaborongo Hydro-power project in Rwanda. The project is Rwanda’s biggest hydroelectric power plant and has not only provided a boost to the country’s national grid, but also reduced the government’s expenditure on diesel/gas by 43%. The cost savings for the country from the project are expected to be close to US$ 3 million per month. By way of electricity exports, the project has also become a source of foreign exchange earnings for the country.

SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth: – The Bank supported tribal artisans of Chhattisgarh, India by conducting a Design Development Training Workshop on Dhokra Crafts in association with Consortium of Women Artisans of India (CWEI). Various decorative prototypes were developed which can provide regular source of income to the tribal community.

SDG 9: Industry, innovation, infrastructure: – Exim India has partnered the centres of excellence like the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras Rural Technology Business Incubator (RTBI) for extending financial support to techno-entrepreneurs (technopreneurs). On a standalone basis, these entrepreneurs are unable to get funding from banks given the size and the age of the companies. It was here that Exim India’s support opened up new avenues for the companies which need necessary handholding in their initial stages.

SDG 10: Sustainable cities and communities: – Under an LOC to the Government of Bangladesh, 290 double decker buses, 50 articulated buses and 88 single decker buses have been supplied to Bangladesh from India. They are plying on the roads of Dhaka and other major cities of Bangladesh. The buses have improved the urban and inter-city transportation and have facilitated travel for the people of Bangladesh.

4. Please provide additional insights or suggestions for ADFIAP to undertake in relation to DFIs and SDGs.
The new sustainable development agenda acknowledges that to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all, partnerships at various levels will be essential. Since its inception, ADFIAP has facilitated such partnership among the DFI community. ADFIAP’s sustainability development framework also takes cognizance of the element of sustainability in developmental goals. Going forward, ADFIAP can serve as a platform for discussion, deliberation and addressing of bottlenecks which pose challenge for meeting the objective of availability of finance in an inclusive manner. For example, a major constraint for development finance is a lack of investable projects, which can be addressed by way of project preparation facilities. ADFIAP can also plan undertaking joint research on topics pertaining to SDG in association with member DFIs or donor agencies. Exim India would be happy to work with ADFIAP on this initiative. In addition, from the sustainability angle, ADFIAP could forge tie-ups with initiatives that engender clean energy. One such initiative is the International Solar Alliance, which was conceived at the backdrop of the COP21 in France in 2015, as a coalition of 121 solar resource rich countries, receiving almost 300 days of sunlight, located between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The Alliance envisages addressing the energy needs of these countries and providing a platform to collaborate on addressing the identified gaps through a common agreed approach. ADFIAP could consider a joint declaration with ISA to commit its support to clean and sustainable energy.

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