African experts urge incentives to boost uptake of green finance by SMEs

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/6/21 22:12:42

African governments should enact a raft of policy and regulatory incentives to encourage the continent's small and medium sized enterprises to borrow money to implement green projects, experts said at a forum in Nairobi on Wednesday.

The finance experts, policymakers and fund managers who attended the green finance conference said that Africa's nascent small and medium sized business segment has potential to revolutionize the continent's green agenda subject to availability of capital, technology and skilled man-power.

Kenya's Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Henry Rotich in his opening remarks noted that green financing has gained traction in Africa in line with the continent's quest to accelerate low carbon and inclusive development.

"Financing investments that generate environmental benefits will enable African countries achieve resilient, inclusive and sustainable development," said Rotich, adding that a new vision for green finance across strategic economic sectors is taking shape in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Development of new policy and regulatory frameworks is key to encourage financial institutions to invest in green projects initiated by small-scale enterprises across Africa.

Rotich noted that African start-ups lack the financial and technical muscle to implement green projects that would impact positively on local population.

"We need to find innovative ways to encourage the financial services sector to assist small and medium sized enterprises scale up their green investments," Rotich said.

He added the Kenyan government has joined hands with financial institutions to advance the green agenda through mobilizing funds from the domestic market.

"Our specific green financing interventions have enabled large and small companies implement projects in renewable energy, water conservation, efficient transport and solid waste management," said Rotich.

Green investments by Africa's small and medium sized enterprises will unlock the continent's economic potential while strengthening its response to climate change.

The CEO, African Guarantee Fund, Felix Adahi Bikpo urged fund managers and multilateral lenders to invest in start-ups that have pioneered transformative green projects in the world's second largest continent.

"The African small and medium enterprises are the real engine of growth. They require access to green finance, technology and innovations to create new jobs and mitigate against impacts of climate change," Bikpo said.

Africa's green finance market has potential for growth subject to political goodwill accompanied by friendly policies and regulations.

Jeremy McDaniels, the Program Manager for UNEP's Inquiry into the Design of Sustainable Financial System noted that investing in green projects owned by African small businesses will insulate them from shocks while enlarging their revenue base.

Posted in: AFRICA

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