NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 15 – Cooperative Bank has once again been announced as this year’s overall winner of the Sustainable Finance Initiative Catalyst Awards for financial service providers. An independent judging panel placed Equity Bank Group second overall position and KWFT in the third position.
Themed ‘Recognizing Catalytic Finance that Impacts Industry, Economy and Society’, the award was unveiled in 2016 by the Kenya Bankers Association to celebrate institutions that have embedded the SFI Guiding Principles. It attracted 47 entries from 14 financial institutions. The awards ceremony was presided over by Central Bank of Kenya Governor Dr. Patrick Njoroge and Treasury Principal Secretary Dr. Julius Muia.
The finalists included ABC Bank, Barclays/Absa, Co-operative Bank, Credit Bank, DTB, Equity Bank Group, Faulu Microfinance Bank, KCB Group, KWFT, National Bank, NCBA, Rafiki Microfinance Bank, Stanbic Bank, and Standard Chartered Bank.
In his remarks, Central Bank of Kenya Governor Dr. Patrick Njoroge noted that commendable strides had been achieved by the initiative in building capacity of bank employees on sustainable finance.
“To date, over 28 thousand bank employees have been trained to have an appreciation of ensuring that their financing decision is guided by the wider societal concerns of the environment and the economy,” noted the Governor, urging the banking industry to embrace a forward-looking approach while financing commercial activities.
Dr. Njoroge observed that the industry has continued to develop strategies that ensure sustainable growth through technology such as the ‘Stawi’ digital credit innovation recently launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“I am proud that Central Bank of Kenya played a leading role in bringing the five banks together to roll-out this innovative and affordable product. Through “Stawi”, MSMEs can access unsecured loans at 9% from as little as Sh30,000 to as much as Sh250,000. It goes without question that ensuring financial inclusion is an integral component towards Kenya’s attainment of its Vision 2030,” he said.
He commended the Association for introducing the Most Innovative Award which seeks to encourage banks to leverage on technology to enable financial inclusion.
Treasury Principal Secretary Dr. Julius Muia encouraged the banking industry to remain alive to the sustainable economic development aspirations of the country through its role as an intermediary. He said that while the government continues to support growth through facilitative policies, the private sector has an important role to play in supporting efforts towards mitigating climate change.
Kenya Bankers Association Chief Executive Officer Dr. Habil Olaka highlighted the importance of the SFI Catalyst Awards, saying they signify that the industry is putting measures and identifying clear performance indicators which will safeguard our global competitiveness and secure a better future for this nation.
The judging panel for the 2019 Sustainable Finance Catalyst Awards consisted of Joyce Njogu (Consulting Head – Kenya Manufacturers Association). Prof. Kenneth Amaeshi ( Business and Sustainable Development – University of Edinburg), Dr. Peter Muriu (Financial Economics Consultant), Mr. Sandy Okoth (SFI Expert-WWF), Eng. Dan Likuyi Ndenga (Chemical Engineer), with support from Nuru Mugambi(KBA).
Established in 2016 by KBA, the awards recognise catalytic finance initiatives that impact the industry, the economy and society. This year, 47 institutions submitted entries, showcasing ways by which they have integrated sustainability in lending and business operations.