Scaling up sustainable finance in low and middle-income countries: High-Level Expert Group kick-starts work

The High-Level Expert Group (HLEG) on scaling up sustainable finance in low and middle-income countries meets in Brussels today for the first time kick-starting their reflection on the challenges and opportunities of sustainable finance in partner countries with a view to providing recommendations to the Commission on how to scale up funding from the private sector. At a time when the multiple global crises are taking a heavy toll on the global economy, overturning years of progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), helping partner countries in accessing finance for their sustainable infrastructure projects is critical 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 has dramatically impacted countries around the world, increasing the funding 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 bring in private capital towards sustainable investments. I look forward to the recommendations of the High-Level Expert Group. These will feed into the EU’s forthcoming EU sustainable finance strategy for low and middle-income countries that will underpin and boost the delivery of Global Gateway.”

Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations Oliver Várhelyi added: “In these difficult times, it is crucial to scale up sustainable finance in all low- and middle-income countries, including in our immediate Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood. These countries need substantial investments more than ever, especially now, in the aftermath of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine. If we want to see our partners in the Neighbourhood undertake the necessary reforms and invest in sustainable projects, more resources are needed, and we need to further mobilise the private sector. Our Economic and Investment plans designed together 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 in a Team Europe approach contribute to bringing about the needed financing from the private sector for the massive investments required to tackle the most pressing global challenges and ensure sustainable development. The recommendations, expected to be presented around mid-2023, will inform a comprehensive Commission strategy to scale up sustainable finance in low- and middle-income countries. The strategy will be instrumental to bridge the investment gap in partner countries and to implement the EU Global Gateway strategy.

The group gathers 20 highly qualified members selected on the basis of their expertise, from a company or institution they represent, while taking into account geographic and gender balance. The 20 members of the group are:

  • Ms. Ayaan Adam, Senior Director and Chief Executive Officer, African Finance Corporation Capital Partners
  • Dr Kenneth Amaeshi, Professor, European University Institute
  • Mr. Obaid Amrane, Chief Executive Officer, Ithmar Capital
  • Mr. Antoni Ballabriga, Global Head of Responsible Business, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria
  • Mr. Hans-Ulrich Beck, Global Head ESG Products / Executive Vice-President, Product Strategy and Development, Sustainalytics
  • Dr G Ganesh Das, Chief – Collaboration & 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, General Counsel, Andra AP-fonden
  • Ms. Judy Kuszewski, Chair, Global Sustainability Standards Board, Global Reporting Initiative
  • Ms. Elodie Laugel, Chief Responsible Investment Officer & Executive Committee member, Amundi
  • Ms. Senida Mesi, Leadership Council 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 Research for Development, 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 Boutique, Nordea Asset Management
  • Ms. Zalina Shamsudin, Head of International Programmes – Asia Pacific, Climate Bonds Initiative
  • Mr. Claus Stickler, Global Co-Lead, Allianz Investment Management SE
  • Mr. Iker Vinageras, Head of ESG Solutions, Bolsa Institucional de Valores

Moreover, 20 representatives from the European development finance institutions and multilateral development banks, together with relevant international organisations and fora have been nominated as observers. These are : African Development Bank (AfDB), Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), European Development Finance Institutions Association (EDFI Association), European Investment Bank (EIB), Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation Ltd (FINNFUND), the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), International Platform for Sustainable Finance (IPSF), Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Proparco (on behalf of AFD group), the Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme – Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI) and World Bank Group.


The establishment 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 received a very high number of applications from civil society, academia, the business and finance community and other non-public sector institutions and selected 20 senior, high-level experts from EU member states and partner countries.

For More Information:

Terms of reference of the High-Level Expert Group on scaling-up sustainable finance in low and middle income countries

Strategy for Financing the Transition to a Sustainable Economy