- More than US$18 billion extended
- US$2.4 billion directly into infrastructure
As further evidence of its commitment towards environmental, social, and governance (ESG), financial services provider, Standard Chartered Bank has renewed its pledge of providing funding at competitive rates for sustainable projects to public and private entities in the country,
This, according to Sarmad Lone, the bank’s Regional Head of Client Coverage for Corporate Commercial Institutional Banking for Africa and the Middle East, is indicative of the bank’s wider approach to “move funds where it matters” particularly in a region that is “resource-stretched” and is characterised by high demand for infrastructure development.
These comments come on the back of recent developments including a ‘code-red’ report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which contained the grim prediction that global temperatures are expected to exceed 2 degrees Celsius of warming this century “unless deep reductions in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions occur in the coming decades,” as well as another report by the World Bank which suggests that climate change could displace as much as 216 million persons by 2050.
Detailing some measures Standard Chartered has undertaken in this regard, Mr. Lone revealed that the Bank has raised north of US$18.6 billion to support the financing of sustainable development projects globally, with US$2.4 billion in funding invested directly into infrastructure projects.
“As a bank, we are entirely committed to sustainable financing. Prior to 2020 we had been part of initiatives in various capacities whether advisory, financing, or support capacity where we have raised some US$2.4 billion into infrastructure projects and close to US$18.6 billion in the broader category of sustainable financing. It is a core business for us,” he explained.
With infrastructure investment in Africa alone requiring between US$130 and $US170 billion annually, with a financing gap in the region of US$68 to US$108 billion, Mr. Lone says Standard Chartered has executed projects geared towards providing potable water, railroads, bridges and roads across the continent. “This will continue even further as we continue to work with stakeholders; the regulators, governments, DFIs and the broad community at large,” he added.
Deepening local collaboration
Taking the argument further, Xorse Godzi, Head of Client Coverage for Corporate Commercial Institutional Banking for Ghana, stated that the bank has in recent times, collaborated closely with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Unit at the Office of the Presidency in financing sustainable projects initiated by the state.
Citing the bank’s support to government by extending some €280 million for the financing of work on a portion of the Eastern Corridor road in June this, he said: “In the case of Ghana specifically, we work very closely with the SDG unit of the Presidency and last year, we hosted a Country Financing Raodmap for SDGs in the country and specifically on infrastructure development, there are a number of loans we have extended to help the country achieve sustainable development financing and goals as well.”
“It’s a key part of our efforts in providing financing for key sustainable projects in the country,” he added. “There are a number of areas such as healthcare where we are heavily involved, last year in particular, we built new hospitals and refurbished a few.”
Touching on private-owned businesses, particularly Small and Medium -sized Enterprises (SMEs), Olukorede Adenowo, Executive Director of Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria responsible for the Corporate, Commercial and Institutional Banking business in Nigeria and West Africa, stated that access to accurate data and improved digitalisation would aid in the extension of facilities to them, with a focus on sustainable projects.
“Where there are specific financing opportunities around sustainable development, we are willing to support them, and we witnessed that last year, for instance, with the pharmaceutical industry and hospitals,” he stated, adding that thought leadership and advisory services built on the bank’s 125-year knowledge of the market would be instrumental in its support to SMEs.