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IFC and Central Bank of Kenya Host Inaugural Africa Climate Business Forum 

Nov 2, 2023 – IFC and the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) with support from the Sustainable Banking and Finance Network (SBFN) convened the inaugural Africa Climate Business Forum, bringing together approximately 300 senior executives. The IFC/CBK Climate Forum created a platform for dialogue and collaboration among private sector stakeholders, government officials, and thought leaders on crucial economic and business issues related to accelerating climate finance.

The event follows the Africa Climate Summit co-hosted by the Government of Kenya and the African Union Commission in Nairobi in September 2023. The IFC/CBK Climate Forum is therefore seen as a significant step arising from the Summit, with the overarching goal to identify investment and policy opportunities as well as practical solutions for integrating sustainable practices into private sector businesses while supporting Africa’s transition towards a green economy.

The Forum was structured on five key themes, namely: Building Carbon Markets, Greening Urbanization, Decarbonizing Growth, Climate-Smart Agriculture, and Advancing Sustainable Finance Through Regulatory Innovations. The event was opened by CBK Governor Dr. Kamau Thugge, and Mary Porter Peschka, the Regional Director for Eastern Africa at IFC. In his remarks, Governor Thugge presented the Bank’s policy measures aimed at facilitating the sector’s transition. These measures include the introduction of climate-risk management guidelines for regulated banks. Additionally, the Governor highlighted the Bank’s intention to create a green finance taxonomy and provide enhanced disclosure guidance with a focus on climate and in alignment with global best practices.

The plenary panel sessions featured SBFN member Kenya Bankers Association, represented by their CEO Dr. Habil Olaka, who shared the industry’s perspective on solutions for financing climate smart agriculture with a focus on SMEs, as well as Mr. Ignatius Wilson, Head of Sustainability at Bank of Ghana, another SBFN member, who shared Ghana’s journey to develop a Sustainable Finance Roadmap with IFC and SBFN support, connecting all parts of Ghana’s financial sector.

The program also featured a series of focused dialogues to enable collaborative problem solving and solution design. SBFN’s Africa Coordinator Louise Gardiner facilitated the dialogue on “Scaling Finance and Capital Markets” in which participants emphasized the need for Africa to articulate its own voice and approach to climate finance, foster an enabling environment within the financial sector to collaborate across the value chain, mobilize African investors (including government, banks, and institutional investors), and design project and financing solutions that address the perception and realities of increased risk associated with doing business in Africa.

Overall, the Forum was based on design thinking principles and involved active collaboration and participation by SBFN Members and other stakeholders to identify challenges and design practical solutions to scale climate finance across the Continent.