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Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Five companies awarded grants from SDGs partnership fund

Permanents Secretary of State Martin Eyjólfsson with representatives from Össur, Verkís, Retina Risk and MAR Advisors. - mynd

Five companies in the fields of health care technology, geothermal technology, and fisheries have received grants from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ Sustainable Development Goals Partnership Fund for development cooperation projects in Djibouti, Ethiopia, India, Vietnam, and Ukraine. The total allocation from the fund amounts to 72 million ISK.

In the field of fisheries, MAR Advisors received a 2 million ISK grant for a preliminary study for their project on better access to European markets for Vietnamese seafood. MAR Advisors is a specialised advisory company in international seafood and infrastructure investments. According to CEO Magnús Bjarnason, modern solutions can bring greater freedom to smaller producers in Vietnam to grow their business and improve production processes based on certification of origin and sustainability.

Two companies in the field of healthcare technology received grants. Orthopaedics company Össur was awarded a grant of almost 30 million ISK to supply victims of the war in Ukraine with prosthetics. The number of amputees in Ukraine has grown considerably due to the ongoing war. According to Margrét Lára Fridriksdóttir, Executive Vice President, People, Strategy & Sustainability, Össur will donate their products and the company’s experts have already started training Ukrainian experts to provide people in need with the necessary prosthetics.

RetinaRisk received a 10 million ISK grant for their project on transforming eye screening to prevent blindness in India. According to Sigurbjörg Jónsdóttir, CEO of RetinaRisk, the project aims to provide 200,000 low-income patients with eye screening next year with the help of the company’s risk-assessment algorithm for diabetic eye disease.

Two projects in the field of geothermal technology have received grants this time around. Verkís was granted 4 million ISK for a preliminary study on the use of geothermal energy in Lake Assal in Djibouti. According to CEO Egill Vidarsson the project will allow the company to assess how opportunities for economic activity and sustainable use of resources, like geothermal, can be developed in one of Africa‘s poorest country.

A nearly 30 million ISK grant goes to Reykjavík Geothermal to establish a geothermal research lab in Ethiopia. The project aims to create a diverse set of jobs and accelerate geothermal research and thus facilitate and advance geothermal utilization in Ethiopia, according to Dr. Snorri Gudbrandsson of Reykjavik Geothermal.

„I’m very pleased to see Icelandic companies use their ingenuity, expertise, and financial resources to support sustainable development, greater prosperity, and job creation in poor and war-torn countries around the world. The Icelandic private sector brings a lot to the table when it comes to development cooperation as these projects clearly demonstrate,” said Minister for Foreign Affairs Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir.

At the signing of the contracts, Permanent Secretary of State, Martin Eyjólfsson, expressed great pleasure with the ambition and diversity of the projects which showcase how the public and private sectors can come together to advance the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals through development cooperation.

The Sustainable Development Goals Partnership Fund aims to support Icelandic companies who are interested in advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals through cooperative projects in developing countries. Further information on the fund is available at www.mfa.is/sdgfund. The next deadline for applications is 3 October 2022.

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