Badr Jafar
A plenary interview with Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises and Special Envoy for Business & Philanthropy, during the 11th edition of the AVPN Global Conference, in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: Crescent Enterprises, a UAE-headquartered multinational diversified business, was represented at the 11th edition of the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network Global Conference (AVPN) held in Abu Dhabi from April 23rd to 25th, 2024. The aim was to explore avenues for strategic philanthropy in global growth markets.

During a fireside chat, Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises and COP28 Special Representative for Business & Philanthropy, emphasized the significant potential for global growth markets. He stated, “With $26 trillion expected to transition to the next generation in Asia and Africa over the coming two decades, there are enormous possibilities for our global growth markets, both in the Arab world and beyond, to become centers for large-scale strategic philanthropy and social innovation. The UAE stands at the forefront of this enormous opportunity.”

Jafar highlighted the importance of philanthropic frameworks and networks, addressing challenges and opportunities in tackling the climate change agenda, as well as emerging trends in global philanthropy. Stressing the importance of transparency and sharing data-driven insights, he added, “Data and research are crucial elements that enhance the impact of philanthropy, and we must invest seriously in boosting this. This is especially urgent considering the next generation of donors is transforming the practice of philanthropy by demanding more hands-on approaches, with a growing emphasis on accountability and transparency. And as evidence-based intervention becomes the norm, demands on quality data collection and analysis will increase.”

The discussion also addressed the unique catalytic role of philanthropy in addressing global challenges of climate change. Despite the UN-estimated need for annual investments of US$4 trillion to achieve climate and nature goals, only 2% of global philanthropic giving is currently directed towards such initiatives.

Jafar, who chaired the inaugural COP28 Business & Philanthropy Climate Forum, commented: “The COP28 Presidency created a paradigm shift in the way we unite, act, and deliver. A relentless focus on inclusivity brought together record numbers of representatives from business, civil society, youth, academia, indigenous peoples, and faith leaders, combining their respective strengths to deliver the historic action-oriented UAE Consensus at COP28 that has charted a new and vastly improved era for climate and nature action.”

The conversation also highlighted the pivotal role that governments can play in unlocking the transformative potential of philanthropy through offering incentives, providing regulatory support, fostering cross-sectoral partnerships, and promoting research and data sharing to inform and improve philanthropic outcomes.

The session concluded by focusing on the importance of driving systemic change through strategic philanthropy, and not just offering symptomatic relief. As more philanthropy becomes strategic in nature, increased collaboration within the sector is being witnessed. “Our philanthropic ecosystem in the UAE has the tremendous potential to build on this momentum and to strengthen relationships among business, philanthropic, and government stakeholders. This will, in turn, unlock value across our social and economic landscapes, and generate a multiplier effect on positive impact for millions of people,” Jafar added.