Nairobi, February 12, 2009—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, and the Financial Times today brought
together key financial sector executives from across Africa to discuss
how to more fully integrate social, environmental, and corporate governance
objectives into their business strategies, and help create new opportunities
for growth amid the current global financial turmoil.
IFC and the Financial Times jointly
hosted a dinner in Nairobi to promote the 2009 FT Sustainable Banking Awards.
Now in their fourth year, the awards recognize financial institutions and
their clients that have shown leadership and innovation in adopting high
environmental and social standards.
This year’s awards feature a new category
recognizing institutions that use the power of finance to address the uneven
distribution of essential goods across society.
“The ongoing global financial crisis
is exposing weaknesses in banks and has underscored the value of a long
view and the importance of more sustainable business practices in the financial
sector,” said IFC Executive Vice President and CEO Lars Thunell. “The
crisis highlights the continuing plight of the very poor and the urgency
for the financial institutions to contribute solutions to the under-supply
of basic needs such as energy, water and food alongside efforts to deal
with the challenges of climate change.”
The Nairobi dinner was attended by about
40 senior bankers from countries across Africa, including Botswana, Burundi,
Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. The
Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank and the African
Development Bank also attended. Prof. Njuguna S. Ndung'u, Governor of the
Central Bank of Kenya, was a guest of honor.
The FT Sustainable Banking Awards have
grown in popularity and last year’s winners were selected from a record
182 entries from 129 institutions across 54 countries.
For 2009, applications are being accepted until March 6 in the following
five categories: Sustainable Bank of the Year, Emerging Markets Sustainable
Bank of the Year, Achievement in Basic Needs Financing, Banking at the
Bottom of the Pyramid, and Sustainable Investor of the Year.
The winners will be announced and the awards presented on June 4, 2009
at a gala dinner at the Renaissance Chancery Court Hotel in London, attended
by senior bankers and decision-makers in the area of sustainability.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives.
We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting
private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory
and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments
totaled $16.2 billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous
year. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.