May 16, 2023 — The Sustainable Banking and Finance Network (SBFN), Bank of Central African States (BEAC), and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, hosted an international forum on sustainable finance in Douala, Cameroon, on May 8-9, 2023. The event was attended by nearly 200 senior officials representing financial sector regulators and industry associations from more than 20 African countries.
During the forum, SBFN members BEAC and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Central Africa (COSUMAF) engaged in a dialogue with other regulators and financial institutions from the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) towards charting the path for the elaboration of a strategy to address the risks posed by climate change and safeguard livelihoods through sustainable finance . In addition to jointly carrying out awareness-raising activities, CEMAC delegates agreed to develop a regional sustainable finance roadmap that considers the needs and priorities of the different stakeholders.
“The forum was an opportunity for rich exchanges between the various stakeholders and the topics covered are fully in line with the co-construction of a path towards sustainable finance in the CEMAC zone,” said Michel Dzombala, BEAC Vice-Governor. “The various interventions underlined the extent to which sustainable finance will play an increasingly important role in mitigating environmental, social, governance and climate risks, in strengthening the financial sector of emerging and developing countries, as well as countries’ economies and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
Increasingly, financial sector regulators are formulating their policy response through sustainable finance roadmaps, which have become a powerful approach to bringing together different market players and aligning efforts toward shaping sustainable financial systems. The “Developing Sustainable Finance Roadmaps” toolkit developed by the SBFN Secretariat was launched at the Douala forum. Attendees were trained on the toolkit which features numerous SBFN country examples, including Georgia, Indonesia, Morocco, Mongolia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Ukraine.
“The country examples we heard from SBFN members reaffirm the critical role that regulators and industry associations play to construct the architecture for sustainable finance. The private sector will innovate and will move forward on its own. But it will not do so at scale and in the direction needed without structured guidance, supervision, and capacity building,” reflected Mary Porter Peschka, IFC Director of Sustainability and Gender Solutions.
“We know from working with low-income countries, fragile and conflict-affected states, as well as small island states, that the potential for sustainable finance is not constrained by market size and income level. The forum’s discussions confirmed that sustainable finance is a necessity and an opportunity for all countries,” she said.
Attendees were also trained by IFC on capital markets innovation and development through sustainable finance instruments. The session covered trends on green, social, sustainable and sustainability-linked bonds and loans in emerging markets, an overview of the components of sustainability-linked and transition finance frameworks, and considerations for sustainability performance target setting.
“We extend our congratulations to BEAC and COSUMAF for facilitating the region’s first dialogue on sustainable finance and look forward to supporting their efforts,” said Rong Zhang, SBFN Global Coordinator. “We thank our members for participating in the sessions and training as well as reiterating their commitment towards fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement through financial sector solutions enabled by effective policy and partnerships,” she said. The Douala Forum was held in line with SBFN’s role of providing a platform for capacity building, peer learning, and knowledge sharing within the SBFN community and beyond. A summary of the forum’s discussions is available on the SBFN website.