Bhupender Yadav, India’s Minister for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change at IGF's pre-COP gala reception Image Credit: Supplied

India Global Forum’s Middle East and Africa 2023 concluded in Dubai on 29 November with a pre-COP gala reception. Bhupender Yadav, India’s Minister for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, who addressed the Climate for Business (ClimB) Forum earlier in the day, was the Chief Guest.

ClimB Forum, strategically timed on the eve of the CoP 28 Summit in Dubai, explored the convergence of climate leadership, clean energy, policy strategies and green financing for the promotion of sustainable economic growth, and the critical role of technology and innovation in addressing the far-reaching impacts of climate change.

Speaking at ClimB about climate financing, Deepali Khanna, Vice President Asia, the Rockefeller Foundation said, “Where a lot more needs to be done is the commitments that have been made so far. When you're looking at developed countries, the hundred billion dollars that we need to be flowing, really is the need of the hour. Developing countries need the resources, they need the capacity to be able to absorb this finance as well as get the finance for everything that they need to do.”

India Global Forum Middle East and Africa (IGF MEA) 2023 programme convened business leaders, policymakers, and thought leaders from India, UAE and Africa to discuss opportunities for further collaboration and growth between these regions through a series of exclusive networking opportunities, panel discussions, and keynote speeches, covering a range of topics including trade, investment, innovation, technology, and sustainability. The three-day event featured 165 speakers and over a thousand delegates and attendees.

“One of the highlights for me has been the unprecedented collaboration we witnessed over the past few days. Dialogues for global partnerships is the essence of our work and I am thrilled that we have enabled this vibrant exchange of ideas, expertise and experience,” said Manoj Ladwa, India Global Forum Founder and CEO.

The third and final day of the event was dedicated to sustainability, climate change and environmental protection.

Alongside ClimB, IGF Studio, a broadcast studio styled discussion moderated by news anchors, witnessed engaging conversations. Speaking about the role of AI in climate change mitigation, Vivek Aswani, Chief Commercial Officer, Rimm Sustainability said, “You are dealing with a lot of data and variables when it comes to climate change. That’s what we see with our clients - so AI can come in and provide support for businesses. AI can provide output and support and sustainability expertise to tackle issues which are complex.”

The second day of the event saw several celebrities in attendance including actors Suniel Shetty, Vivek Oberoi, Sanya Malhotra, journalist Palki Sharma, fashion designers Shantanu and Nikhil, and comedian Tanmay Bhat sharing their inspiring journeys and secrets to success.

“As a creator, don't trust platforms at all because platforms could change rules. You want to listen to what the founder is saying on quarterly earnings calls to figure out what's the next move. I spent far too long chasing likes and comments, whereas I should have been spending that time building businesses. And now, I finally learned that.” noted Bhat.

Also on Day 2 was the Founders and Funders Forum that brought together several entrepreneurs from Africa, UAE and India to identify potential opportunities for collaboration and knowledge sharing. The WomenIN Forum used its platform to enable both men and women entrepreneurs to spotlight the lack of gender diversity in the boardroom.

“I believe in a company doesn't it doesn't have to be profit right away. But I definitely believe in a company that has a vision of turning profitable. You can't build a company taking only money from investors. So, given that I invest, I know that it has to be something which is client funded and your biggest advocates are your clients,” said Dr Somdutta Singh, Founder and CEO, Assiduus Global speaking at the Founders and Funders Forum.

The inaugural day featured India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, UAE’s Minister for AI Omar Al Olama, PayTM CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma and spiritual guru Gaur Gopal Das among others at the IGF Forum.

This year’s edition of the event expanded beyond the India-UAE relationship to encompass Africa and the wider Middle East region too. Participants from Africa included Amina Mohammed (Founder, Trade Negotiations Investment Forum), Dennis Mwighusa (President, Fintech Assosocation Tanzania), Odunayo Eweniyi (Co-Founder, Piggyvest).