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FEATURE STORY October 19, 2017

Ideas for Action: Youth Engagement for Financing the Future of Development


The World Bank launched a new publication—Financing Sustainable Development: Ideas for Action—and hosted the top winners of the Ideas for Action Initiative (I4A) at an event held October 10. The initiative, co-sponsored by the World Bank Group and the Wharton School, invites people 18–35 from around the world to share their ideas for innovative solutions to implement the SDGs. (For a description of all of the winning proposals, click here.) 

I4A provides opportunities for the next generation of leaders to contribute to the narrative shaping the 2030 Development Agenda and its objectives and to take ownership of its financing and implementation. It also provides access to some of the leading professionals in the global development industry and the private sector. “Our hope is that I4A will bring together the creative insights and thoughtful innovations of the next generation of business and public sector leaders with the implementation potential of development organizations,” says Mahmoud Mohieldin, who hosted the session. “We hope that it will foster a sense of ownership while incubating some exciting ideas that can shape our shared future for the better.”

More than 5,200 youth from 118 countries participated in this year’s competition, working in teams to develop and share their ideas on how to finance and implement the SDGs. The winners were selected through a vigorous three-stage selection process evaluating the creativity, significance, feasibility, and clarity of the proposals. Reviewers included young World Bank Group staff and Wharton students, along with technical experts and senior executives from the World Bank Group, the Wharton School, MasterCard, PepsiCo, Firmenich, and the G-24 Secretariat. Competition partners included the World Bank Group Youth to Youth Community, the Young Americas Business Trust, and the Organization of American States.

The event highlighted the importance of the ideas, inspiration, and leadership of young people, who will soon assume global and local responsibility for sustainable development and shared prosperity. Members of the top three teams joined leaders from the World Bank Group, the finance minister of Nigeria, and a senior manager from PepsiCo.

  • The first-place winner, Team Kitovu, from Nigeria, created a web- and mobile phone–based fertilizer/seedling warehousing system that matches inputs to farm locations owned by smallholder farmers in distant locations, lowering the cost of cultivation while increasing yields. The platform also seeks to link smallholder farmers in distant locations to processors, produce buyers, inputs, and other ecosystem stakeholders, in order to track produce, reduce postharvest losses, and increase farmers’ income.
  • The second-place winner, Team Gifted Hands, from Uganda, created a network that trains visually impaired women to become certified medical tactile examiners. The screening reduces breast cancer deaths and provides employment for women with limited opportunities.
  • The third-place winner, Team Agratam, of India, converts low-lying, waterlogged wastelands into productive fish farming units in the state of Bihar. By aggregating this unproductive land, Agratam provides rental income to marginal smallholder farmers who own small parcels of land from which they cannot extract value or generate economic returns.

Watch the video here

Speakers at the event included:

  • Mr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, Senior Vice President, World Bank Group
  • Ms. Nena Stoijkovic, Vice President, Blended Finance and Partnerships, International Finance Corporation
  • Ms. Mamta Murthi, Director, Strategy and Operations, Africa Region, World Bank
  • Ms. Gabriela De La Garza, Citizenship and Sustainability Senior Director, PepsiCo Latin America Beverages
  • Mr. Djordjija Petkoski, Lecturer and Senior Fellow, The Wharton School
  • Mr. Nwachinemere Emeka Obewe, Team Kitovu (Nigeria), First Place Winner, 2017 Ideas for Action
  • Mr. Mukose Andrew, Team Gifted Hands (Uganda), Second Place Winner, 2017 Ideas for Action
  • Mr. Akshay Verma, Team Agratam (India), Third Place Winner, 2017 Ideas for Action

"The emerging theme from this year’s top six proposals appears to be an effort to help match the supply and demand for certain goods and services through innovative digital platforms and establish a link between inputs and outputs that may not have been established organically. These winning ideas, if implemented, can help address inefficiencies in the development finance landscape and move us closer to meeting the SDGs. "
Mahmoud Mohieldin