Nigeria leads Africa in implementing sustainable finance reforms

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Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, Nigeria's Minister of Finance.

Nigeria is one of the 34 emerging global markets, having introduced banking reforms to expand sustainable lending, a Global Progress Report on Sustainable Banking Network has said.

According to reports released, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group, the 34 emerging markets account for 42.6 trillion dollars in bank assets.

The report explained that the figure represented more than 85 per cent of the total bank assets in emerging markets in the world.

It ranked Nigeria to have become a major force in its support towards development and fights against climate change, in line with objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Some of the 34 countries are wealthier than others, but all of them have made progress in advancing sustainable finance reforms.

“Eight countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Colombia, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nigeria and Vietnam have reached an advanced stage.

“This is because they have implemented large-scale reforms and put in place systems for results measurement,’’ it stated.

The report further mentioned that there were practical indicators for countries to apply such reforms to their own domestic markets, regardless of their size or stage of development.

The IFC commended the endorsement of the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles by the Central Bank of Nigeria, to ensure a strong level of involvement from 34 national and international banks.

The report suggested that to continue to advance in growth of sustainable finance, the country’s banking principles should integrate guidelines related to green financial flows and provide financial or non-financial incentives.

The IFC’s Vice -President for Legal, Compliance Risk and Sustainability, Mr Ethiopis Tafara, said that the corporation’s findings showed that the even poorest countries could adopt sustainable finance reforms.

“This progress is an important step towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

“The Sustainable Banking Network has demonstrated how much can be achieved in a short time when regulators, policymakers, trade associations and development institutions collaborate to advance sustainable finance,’’ Tafara said.

Meanwhile, the IFC Country Manager for Nigeria, Mr Eme Lore in the report, commended Nigeria for proactively establishing and implementing the sustainable banking principles.

According to him, Nigeria is the first African country to become a member of the Sustainable Banking Network.

“ Today, Nigeria stands out as one of the most advanced Sustainable Banking Network members in reporting, requiring financial institutions to disclose their environmental and social performance on a bi-annual basis,’’ he said.

The Sustainable Banking Network (SBN) is a knowledge and capacity-building platform of financial regulators, banking associations, and environmental regulators from emerging markets.

The Network is aimed at development of sustainable finance frameworks based on national contexts and priorities, as well as international good practices.

The IFC, which acts as Secretariat of the Network, plays the role of facilitator and technical adviser to SBN.

Suzan O.