Everest Amaefule, Abuja
Nigeria has introduced banking reforms to expand sustainable lending, becoming one of the 34 emerging markets that are becoming a major force in driving development and fighting climate change, the International Finance Corporation has said.
The IFC said this in its first comprehensive ‘Global Progress Report of the Sustainable Banking Network’, according to a statement issued by the organisation in Washington DC, United States on Tuesday.
According to the statement, the 34 countries account for $42.6tn in bank assets, more than 85 per cent of total bank assets in emerging markets.
It stated that while some of the countries were wealthier than others, all of them had made progress in advancing sustainable finance.
Specifically, the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, said eight countries – Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Colombia, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nigeria and Vietnam – had reached an advanced stage, having implemented large-scale reforms and put in place systems for results measurement.
The Vice-President, Legal, Compliance Risk and Sustainability, IFC, Ethiopis Tafara, stated, “This progress is an important step toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. It shows that even the poorest countries can adopt sustainable finance reforms.
“The Sustainable Banking Network has demonstrated in a short time how much can be achieved when regulators, policymakers, trade associations and development institutions collaborate to advance sustainable finance.”
The report commended the endorsement of the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles by the Central Bank of Nigeria, which ensured a strong level of involvement from 34 national and international banks, the statement said.
The principles and their accompanying sector-specific guidelines provide financial institutions with adequate and detailed elements for building their policies. Nigeria stands out as one of the most advanced SBN members in the area of reporting, the statement added.
The IFC Country Manager for Nigeria, Eme Lore, was quoted as saying, “The IFC congratulates Nigeria for proactively establishing and implementing sustainable banking principles by becoming 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.”
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