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Sustainable Banking Network Accelerates Expansion of Sustainable Finance in Africa

JOHANNESBURG, October 10, 2019 – Thirty-eight emerging market economies, including five countries in Africa, have initiated key banking reforms to drive development and fight climate change, according to the second Global Progress Report of the IFC-facilitated Sustainable Banking Network (SBN).
The SBN Global Progress Report shows that regulators and banking associations in countries in Africa are adopting national sustainable finance policies and voluntary principles as well as advancing green bond markets and innovative green lending policies.
“African countries will be among the hardest hit by climate change and Africa already faces daunting challenges around job creation and inequality,” said Kevin Njiraini, IFC’s Regional Director, Southern Africa & Nigeria. “Advancing sustainable finance is critical to help the region build competitive and resilient financial services that support inclusive economic development.”
In addition to providing practical resources for countries undertaking sustainable finance reforms, the report also highlights the knowledge shared by SBN members – a hallmark approach of the network. This includes country progress reports from SBN’s six African member countries: Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and South Africa.
Key sustainable finance developments in the region include:
· Morocco led the region in a first green bond framework in 2016, which was expanded to include social and sustainability bonds in 2018. Through the Marrakech Pledge, Morocco is championing a continent-wide effort to foster green capital markets in Africa.
· Nigeria issued the first sovereign green bond in the region at the end of 2017 and Nigeria’s Access bank issued the first Certified Corporate Green Bond in Africa in April 2019.
· South Africa’s Johannesburg Stock Exchange introduced a green bond segment in 2017 as part of the country’s sector-wide approach to sustainable finance that includes banking, insurance, pension funds, and asset management.
· Kenya’s Capital Markets Authority introduced green bond guidelines in February 2019 and saw issuance of Kenya's first green bond in September 2019 for affordable green student housing. Kenya has also introduced tax incentives for green bonds – a first in Africa.
· Ghanaian banks adopted the Sustainable Banking Principles with Bank of Ghana support in the summer of 2019.
· Egypt has committed to draft a national roadmap for sustainable finance by 2020.
Green Bonds are any type of bond instrument where the proceeds will be exclusively applied to eligible environmental projects. They are regulated instruments subject to the same capital market and financial regulation as other listed fixed income securities.
The SBN report is based on an innovative results-measurement approach developed by SBN members as they work to convert sustainable finance policy reforms into practical implementation and behavior change across the banking sector.  
About Sustainable Banking Network
Established in 2012, the Sustainable Banking Network (SBN) is a voluntary community of financial sector regulatory agencies and banking associations from emerging markets around the world committed to advancing sustainable finance. SBN members are committed to moving their financial sectors towards sustainable finance by designing and implementing policies that require banks to assess, manage, and report on environmental, social and governance risks in their lending operations and to put market incentives in place for banks to lend to green and socially inclusive projects. As the first global network focused on promoting sustainable finance at the market level, SBN members represent 38 countries and $43 trillion (85 percent) of the total banking assets in emerging markets. For more information, visit
About IFC
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities where they are needed most. In fiscal year 2019, we delivered more than $19 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit
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