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IFC Working with African Banks to Promote Sustainable Financial Practices

Nairobi, February 12, 2009— IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Financial Times today brought together key financial sector executives from across Africa to discuss how to more fully integrate social, environmental, and corporate governance objectives into their business strategies, and help create new opportunities for growth amid the current global financial turmoil.
IFC and the Financial Times jointly hosted a dinner in Nairobi to promote the 2009 FT Sustainable Banking Awards. Now in their fourth year, the awards recognize financial institutions and their clients that have shown leadership and innovation in adopting high environmental and social standards.
This year’s awards feature a new category recognizing institutions that use the power of finance to address the uneven distribution of essential goods across society.
“The ongoing global financial crisis is exposing weaknesses in banks and has underscored the value of a long view and the importance of more sustainable business practices in the financial sector,” said IFC Executive Vice President and CEO Lars Thunell. “The crisis highlights the continuing plight of the very poor and the urgency for the financial institutions to contribute solutions to the under-supply of basic needs such as energy, water and food alongside efforts to deal with the challenges of climate change.”
The Nairobi dinner was attended by about 40 senior bankers from countries across Africa, including Botswana, Burundi, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. The Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank and the African Development Bank also attended. Prof. Njuguna S. Ndung'u, Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, was a guest of honor.
The FT Sustainable Banking Awards have grown in popularity and last year’s winners were selected from a record 182 entries from 129 institutions across 54 countries.
For 2009, applications are being accepted until March 6 in the following five categories: Sustainable Bank of the Year, Emerging Markets Sustainable Bank of the Year, Achievement in Basic Needs Financing, Banking at the Bottom of the Pyramid, and Sustainable Investor of the Year.
The winners will be announced and the awards presented on June 4, 2009 at a gala dinner at the Renaissance Chancery Court Hotel in London, attended by senior bankers and decision-makers in the area of sustainability.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $16.2 billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous year. For more information, visit .