Welcome Speech: SSFF 2024

Publication Date: 27/05/2024

Ladies, and gentlemen,

On behalf of The Banking Association South Africa (BASA) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), I’m pleased to welcome you to the Scaling Sustainable Finance Forum 2024.

This forum signifies a critical step forward in our collaborative efforts.  It builds upon BASA and IFC’s partnership through the 30 by 30 Zero program, furthering the objectives outlined in the cooperation agreement. This agreement focuses on enhancing training, research, and capacity building to support the acceleration of climate finance in South Africa and to help transition bank portfolios to more sustainable activities.

In the words of Mariana Mazzucato, ” It is time to raise our ambition and move from being reactive to proactive, from filling financing gaps to shaping a just, green future.”. My hope is for this forum to embody this proactive spirit.

The climate crisis demands a collective effort. The financial sector, in particular, holds immense potential. By directing investments towards adaption, mitigation and broader sustainable activities, financial institutions can unlock opportunities linked to climate change and other sustainable challenges. This increases the resilience of the economy but also within the financial sector itself, driving innovation and the creation of new sustainable financial products.

South Africa is making significant strides in sustainable finance.  Our recognition by the Sustainable Banking and Finance Network as an advancing country and the expansion of sustainable financial products offered by the sector are testaments to this progress.  However, further progress is needed, and this requires innovation, collaboration, and a more enabling environment.  This forum aims to be a catalyst, fostering knowledge sharing and partnerships between the public sector, regulators, development finance institutions, multilateral development banks, and the private sector.

Through the sessions and workshops, this forum will look to spark fresh conversations around critical issues and facilitate the exchange of ideas among local and international experts.  This is not just the start of the conversation- it’s a springboard for continued collaboration and progress.

The sessions and workshops planned for this forum will delve into specific challenges and opportunities. We will explore concrete ways to advance sustainable finance in South Africa – lets leverage the knowledge and outcomes gained here to move the discussion forward on other platforms, like the Sustainable Finance Initiative and the G20, which South Africa will Chair in 2025.

Over the next two days, I encourage you to delve into these issues, engage in not only thought-provoking discussions but more importantly action-provoking discussions, and build partnerships that may scale the sustainable finance sector.

I Thank you.

Bongiwe Kunene

MD of the Banking Association South Africa