Developing nations “leading the world” on green finance

19 Jul 16

Developing countries are “leading the world” on green finance initiatives, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.


A report by the UNEP, published yesterday, found that countries like Kenya, Bangladesh and Jordan are at the forefront when it comes to finding innovative ways to match financial market development with national priorities, green projects and sustainable development.

Erik Solheim, executive director of the UNEP, said the finding was “extremely positive” in terms of delivering on climate commitments and the Sustainable Development Goals. Most estimates agree that the SDGs will require trillions to finance every year (ranging from $1tn-$7tn).

Solheim said there are “numerous examples” of developing countries showing strong leadership in this area, as detailed in the UNEP’s report.

The report, launched at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, the first event to monitor the progress of the SDGs, captured the progress being made by 13 countries across Africa, Asia and Central America.

In Kenya for example, the rapid growth of mobile banking has become a platform for renewable energy. Companies offer pay-as-you-go solar systems for homes, unlocked by mobile payments that also enable customers to build up a credit history and increase their access to loans.

In Bangladesh, the government has established mandatory environmental risk management in the country’s finance sector, and offered a low-cost refinance window for green lending.

In the Philippines, a public-private disaster insurance pool, and compulsory disaster insurance for homeowners and SMEs, is providing more rapid and reliable support for reconstruction and supporting fiscal and financial stability in the face of financial disasters.

The central banks of Morocco, Bangladesh and Vietnam are leading green initiatives, embedding environmental and social protections and sustainability into the country’s financial sectors.

In Jordan the central bank has launched a national strategy on financial inclusion, including SME finance, women’s access to finance and the protection of consumers of financial services.

 Nuru Mugambi, director of communications for the Kenya Bankers Association, applauded these achievements, but said more needs to be done.

“Green finance is burgeoning; it has reached the point of spontaneous combustion. But it needs to be aligned. It needs to go beyond the leadership of a few champions and be coordinated across regional trading blocks.”

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