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Picture: YVES HERMAN/REUTERS
Picture: YVES HERMAN/REUTERS

Standard Bank has secured a seven-year $250m (R4.5bn) sustainability loan from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) — the investment arm of the World Bank — as Africa’s biggest lender ramps up its green financing efforts.

The loan “reaffirms our focus on renewable energy and affordable housing, which will deliver positive environmental and social impacts in Africa,” said Kenny Fihla, CEO for corporate and investment banking at Africa’s biggest lender by assets.

“Big Blue”, as Standard Bank is known in investment circles for the size of its balance sheet, said the money will be allocated to a portfolio of “green and social assets — with a specific focus on renewable energy and affordable housing”.

Kenny Fihla, CEO of corporate and investment banking at Standard Bank. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL/Freddy Mavunda
Kenny Fihla, CEO of corporate and investment banking at Standard Bank. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL/Freddy Mavunda

The loan aligns with its sustainability strategy and commitments to finance renewable energy power plants and social projects in SA and the rest of the continent, said the bank whose Africa portfolio spans 19 countries.

“Increasing access to climate and affordable housing finance will help SA achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth,” said Adamou Labara, IFC country manager for SA.

“The IFC’s partnership with Standard Bank supports the country’s transition to a low-emissions and climate-resilient economy and will expand access to affordable housing and improve the quality of life for South Africans.”

Standard Bank has already said it will not finance new coal-fired power plants beyond 2050.

In March it said it was looking to use the “largest balance sheet in Africa” to drive SA’s and the continent’s just transition, and it committed billions of rand to be the leading financier of green energy deals.

The lender said $1.4-trillion in capital investment is required by 2030 to support Africa’s energy transition goals. It said it mobilised R54.5bn in sustainable finance solutions in financial year 2022, including R18.5bn to finance renewable energy power plants.

The lender has committed to invest a further R50bn in renewable energy power plant financing by 2024.

khumalok@businesslive.co.za

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