The European Commission (EC) recently received the final recommendations of the High-Level Expert Group (HLEG) on scaling up sustainable finance in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), in the presence of International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.

Emerging markets have faced severe capital outflows since 2022, marking the worst ever recorded. In a press release, the EC said that the HLEG’s report provides concrete and innovative actions that the Commission can take to mobilise private capital for sustainable investments in Global Gateway partner countries.

The report outlines ten recommendations, emphasising the need for an enhanced strategic engagement model with partner countries and increased flexibility in leveraging the EU’s external financial support instruments.

Among the recommendations are solutions to mobilise private capital and increase fiscal resources for sustainable investments. The report also calls for measures to strengthen the size and depth of local sustainable capital markets. These recommendations aim to integrate more private funding into sustainable development efforts in partner countries amidst constrained public funds and limited concessional finance.

European Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen highlighted the importance of scaling up sustainable finance in LMICs due to current public finance constraints. She stated: “This report sends a strong signal to our partners that the European Commission is committed to mobilising private capital at scale for sustainable investment in low- and middle-income countries.”

European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi added: “Our ambitious Economic & Investment Plans in the Western Balkans, Eastern Partnership, and Southern Neighbourhood have been instrumental in mobilising nearly EUR 50 billion of investments in vital sectors. These recommendations will help our partners navigate the current economic and geopolitical landscape.”

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IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva noted the difficulty of closing the investment gap for LMICs due to constraints on public finance and high global interest rates. She stated: “This report is a valuable contribution to the ongoing international efforts to mobilise private capital for these countries. The IMF will continue to work closely with the European Commission to support our partners in developing their capital markets and attracting private investors.”


The HLEG was tasked by the European Commission to identify the challenges and opportunities of sustainable finance in LMICs and provide recommendations on concrete actions to support sustainable finance in these regions. The group comprised international experts from various fields, including finance, civil society, academia, and business. Established in September 2022, the HLEG held twelve meetings, culminating in the recommendations after 18 months of work.

The Global Gateway initiative aims to reduce the global investment disparity and boost smart, clean, and secure connections in digital, energy, and transport sectors, as well as to strengthen health, education, and research systems.

The strategy, which seeks to mobilise up to €300 billion in public and private investments from 2021 to 2027, represents a collaborative effort involving the European Union, EU Member States, and European development finance institutions. The goal is to create essential links rather than dependencies, closing the global investment gap.

High-Level Expert Group on scaling up sustainable finance in low- and middle-income countries (HLEG) final report

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