June 26th, Casablanca. The International Seminar on Greening Africa’s Financial System, co-hosted by Tsinghua University (China) and Casablanca Finance City (Morocco), was held on June 25th-26th, in Casablanca, Morocco.
This seminar is part of the Global Green Finance Leadership Program (GFLP) launched by Tsinghua University and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Experts from Africa, France, the UK, China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and other countries shared their knowledge and experience in developing green finance during the seminar. Leaders of several global initiatives, including G20 Sustainable Finance Study Group, the Central Banks and Supervisors Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), the Sustainable Banking Network, the UNEP Finance Initiative and the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, introduced their programs.
Dr. Ma Jun, Director of the Research Center for Green Finance Development at Tsinghua University and Chairman of China Green Finance Committee, highlighted four reasons for Africa to develop green finance in his keynote speech, “First, it will mobilize new money for growth in Africa; Second, it will enable Africa to leapfrog to green infrastructure such as renewable energy; Third, it will create business opportunities for financial institutions; Fourth, it will protect the financial sector from climate and environmental risks.”
Dr. Ma Jun, Director of the Research Center for Green Finance Development at Tsinghua University and Chairman of China Green Finance Committee
Abderrahim Bouazza, Director General of Bank Al-Maghrib (BAM), said “by joining the NGFS as the first central bank from Africa, BAM has demonstrated its will to speed up its actions to integrate climate issues in the banking system and to promote orderly development of green finance. The greening of finance in Africa also requires greater collaboration with scientists and researchers as well as multilateral development institutions”.
Said Ibrahimi, CEO of Casablanca Finance City Authority, pointed out during his opening remarks that “although the opportunities on the continent are tremendous in several sectors such as infrastructure, agriculture and energy, today Africa attracts only 5% of international finance flows. Nonetheless, we have the conviction that the continent has a unique chance to leapfrog thanks to green and sustainable finance. And in this perspective, strengthening partnerships and building capacity via platforms such as the Global Green Finance Leadership Program will be instrumental in scaling up green investment in Africa.”
Sean Kidney, CEO of the Climate Bonds Initiative, stated that in the upcoming years 70% of global capex will be in emerging markets, and Africa will be a major recipient of green investment.
The major topics discussed at the seminar include best practices in green banking, green bonds market, and capacity building. Barriers to green finance development in Africa and options for addressing these barriers were discussed in roundtable discussions. Ideas included the need to develop local green taxonomies, introduce policy incentives, improve disclosure of environmental and climate information, and enhance capacity building.
At the seminar, the experience of ASEAN creating a common set of green bond standards triggered significant interests from the participants. Some African participants argued that such lessons should be learnt by Africa to enhance transparency and reduce transaction costs of local green finance transactions.
This 2-day seminar, with a regional focus on Africa, convened more than 150 participants from 24 countries, representing regulators, financial institutions, international organizations and other key stakeholders from the financial sector.
The GFLP is a platform for knowledge sharing and capacity building for green finance launched by the Tsinghua University and the IFC in May 2018. Since its launch in May 2018, the GFLP has successfully held three international seminars on green finance, covering more than 450 participants from 54 countries, mostly from developing countries. It was announced that the next GFLP event will be held in Astana, Kazakhstan in September this year.