THE CHALLENGE OF A DECADE seizing the moment to deliver change

This year, 2020, marks FMO's 50th anniversary. But more importantly, 2020 marks the start of a “decisive decade” of actions, in that the world has only 10 years left to reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and even less time to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

These are collective challenges that need collective action. No one can do this alone. We need partnerships; new, innovative and even unexpected alliances that can drive action on inequality and climate change.

As 2020 started, we tipped into the ‘decade of decisive action’ to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. We introduced our ambitious and optimistic anniversary theme ' the challenge of a decade, the achievement of the century'. A theme focused on accelerating all efforts to reach the SDGs. But 2020 has also been marked by an unexpected event COVID-19 - and we are only just starting to truly understand the scale and scope of its impact.

The COVID-19 crisis has also re-enforced the interdependence of our world. It has brought to the fore the urgent need to build together a fairer, greener and more resilient world. Instead of sidelining the Goals COVID-19 has made the SDGs even more relevant as it offers us an integrated framework to combat this crisis and 'build back better'. Furthermore, it clearly sets out what we need to focus on. This is important because we don’t want to step from one crisis into another. Fundamentally it is also imperative, because if the population keeps growing at the rate it is, consuming resources and emitting greenhouse gases at the same rate, it is simply not sustainable. So we have to manage our investments in such a way that they contribute to a world in which we can live sustainably. That is why we keep ourselves on the road to accelerating all efforts to reach the SDGs.

SDG10 - Reduced Inequalities - is the theme of this edition of Future-minded. Equality is crucial for growth and stability. As FMO our investments aim to help enhance growth and inclusion at the same time. We invest to expand access to reliable and affordable electricity, deepen financial inclusion to reach the most vulnerable, and promote women entrepreneurship. We can only realize this by working together with our customers and partners. On all fronts, we must harness the power of partnerships to accelerate the realization of the SDGs. That is the opportunity before us.

We believe that to accelerate change you need disruptors, actors and accelerators. Each brings different qualities to the table.

Read here the interview with Ahmad Ashkar, the founder and CEO of the Hult Prize Foundation – one of the world’s most acclaimed entrepreneurship programs operating on more than 1500 university campuses in 121 countries. The program has become a benchmark start-up challenge for social entrepreneurship.


The disruptor envisions new business models, and initiates a new approach to an existing problem. The disruptor challenges us and our way of thinking. They may start out small, but they think big. But of course, the goal is not to stay small—it’s to grow their innovation or invention to match the challenge at hand, whether reducing inequalities or climate action. That is when disruptors need actors and accelerators.

The disruptor challenges us and our way of thinking.

Click here for the interview with Manoj Sinha. He co-founded Husk Power Systems with the vision of giving people in remote areas of Asia and Africa, like the one where he grew up, access to reliable electricity.


The actor is already making the difference and can serve as an example for others. This is an entrepreneur who dares to apply disruptions and develop them into feasible business solutions. The actor has built a profitable business by doing good. His or her model can be replicable or scalable.

The actor has built a profitable business by doing good.

Read here the impressive growth story of the Bank of Africa, from one bank in Mali in 1982 to creating access to finance in 18 countries in East and West Africa.


The accelerator can further scale entrepreneurial solutions. They can enable large-scale change that is needed to solve the world’s most pressing issues. By setting enabling conditions, they can pave the way for change. Their role is often to engage, incentivise, manage and, in the case of a public entity, set a regulatory framework. That is how they can set a direction of travel.

Accelerators can pave the way for systemic transition.

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