The Commercial International Bank (CIB), Egypt’s leading private sector bank, participated in the 2022 IIF Emerging Markets Sustainable Finance Summit hosted by the Institute of International Finance (IIF) on 15 September 2022, in preparation for the 27th Conference of the Parties on climate change (COP27) that will be held in Sharm El-Sheikh in November.
The summit aimed to capitalize on the tremendous success of the 2021 and 2022 IIF Sustainable Finance Summits and provide an opportunity to address the most critical issues facing emerging markets. It included sessions on the road to net zero, financing the transition, natural capital and biodiversity, the need for global coordination, and the IIF’s hallmark “Views from the C-Suite.”
Dalia Abdel Kader, CIB’s Chief Sustainability Officer and representative for Africa in the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, took part in the “Financing Transition in Africa” session as a speaker among distinguished participants: Seyi Kumapayi, Executive Director of the Banking Group, Access Bank, and Sim Tshabalala, CEO of the Standard Bank Group. The panel was moderated by Wolfgang Engel, General Manager and Chief Representative of the IIF’s Middle East and Africa Regional Office.
She started her talk by outlining the CIB’s experience in addressing sustainability challenges and supporting sustainable finance, being the first bank to adopt sustainability practices in 2015, as well as the efforts of Egypt’s regulatory authorities.
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“In 2020-2021, CIB decided to issue Egypt’s first corporate green bonds in cooperation with the IFC, along with implementing an integrated system that supports the principles of sustainability. The Bank incorporated sustainable finance across its operations and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices across its policies and strategies,” she said. “The Central Bank of Egypt and the Financial Regulatory Authority also issued guiding frameworks essential for sustainable finance. The Ministry of International Cooperation issued a strategy to limit climate change, which involves the launch of the “Nouwfi” programme for financing projects that revolve around energy, food and water. The CIB strives to support Nouwfi and help establish it as a prototype for all African countries.”
“Africa’s financial institutions play an integral role in attracting more private investors to finance projects that support climate change reduction,” added Abdel Kader. “The CIB’s experience in supporting sustainable finance and dealing with climate issues has proven that funding from governments and development institutions, if available, is insufficient alone to fill the financing gap and meet the funding needs in Africa, which are estimated at an average of $300bn per year. The volume and efficiency of funds from developed countries have not yet reached the required threshold to protect the African countries most affected by climate change, underscoring the banking sector’s important role in encouraging investors to support climate change mitigation.”
“To do so, the role of banking institutions should be redefined to include coordination between all parties, including customers from different sectors, government agencies, and multilateral financing institutions,” she said. Their role should not be limited to providing new financing mechanisms for climate projects. This is what we need to develop the system and build the infrastructure needed to attract more investment. Institutions should also finance projects that support climate change mitigation and are in line with risk management principles without affecting their profitability.”
“Despite the importance of reducing carbon emissions, which is the root cause of the climate change crisis, funding adaptation and mitigation projects cannot be postponed for African countries. Banking institutions in Africa have an important role to play by supporting green projects to encourage foreign investors to pump their money,” said Abdel Kader.
The CIB’s experience attests to the important role played by banking institutions in filling gaps and bringing the desired change. The Green Bond programme is a great example of how the Bank supports climate mitigation projects by financing desalination and purification projects, which resulted in remarkable economic, environmental and societal returns. The programme also funded renewable energy projects, climate adaptation and mitigation, industrial energy efficiency and green buildings. Additionally, it increased resource efficiency in all sectors, including the industrial sector.
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As the market’s leading private sector bank, the CIB is currently developing an ESG Data Digitization Integrated Solution. The solution will encompass the Bank’s Ecological Footprint Report data collection and analysis, incorporating Scope 3 emissions. It will also integrate the Environmental and Social Risk Management System across its functions and automatically incorporate the different standards included in its sustainability reports, including the GRI Standards, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) standards, UN Global Compact Principles, and others. Once ready, this solution will allow the CIB to better manage and analyze its data regularly, which will in turn guide and improve the Bank’s decision-making processes.