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Could sustainable energy reduce climate crisis and boost inclusive growth?

* 8 November 2021 6:03 PM

Africa must be cautious in how it tackles the triple threat of climate change, inequality and post-pandemic economic recovery.

The world is ever-changing and, so is the sector your business operates in. You don’t just need data to keep track of trends that are shaping the economy – you need the expertise to turn that data into valuable insights and sustainable growth opportunities that will unlock your business’ potential.

In the Absa Insights podcast series, The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield engages in conversation with the bank's sector experts about investment possibilities in Agriculture, Consumer Goods and Services, Enterprise Supply Development and Telecommunications, Healthcare, and Natural Resources and Energy.

This episode features Heidi Barends and Shiran Moodley, the co-heads of sustainable finance at Absa Corporate and Investment Banking. The group discusses how sustainable finance can help Africa face various climate-related challenges.

Africa is up against a three-part challenge: inequality, climate change and economic recovery following the pandemic. But is there a chance that the continent can take on this triple threat with the implementation of more sustainable practices?

Killing three birds with one sustainable stone may seem like a long shot, and it is, but the process needs to start now.

The planet has shown its frustration with mankind as a result of greenhouse emissions, and Africa is no stranger to these natural disasters. In recent years, we have faced droughts, plagues and floods across the continent. Adding on to our woes is the large gap in infrastructure and social equality. To top it off, we were hit with the COVID-19 pandemic, completing the trifecta of troubles that we now face.

Sustainable finance is an early step that we can take. Many countries around the world have already stated their intent to contribute to decreasing carbon emissions to net zero by the year 2050, following the recent COP26 meeting. Major global businesses have also made plans to use more renewable energy resources.

Africa, however, faces a unique dilemma. How does a fossil fuel-dependent continent successfully move towards using cleaner, greener energy without negatively impacting the current society that relies on the environmentally unfriendly status-quo?

The answer: slowly.

A lot of the climate pledges that have been made and the action plans that are being put forth, they speak to much more radical commitments in the shorter term without fully taking into consideration the social ramifications that would come from it as well.

Shiran Moodley, Co-head: Sustainable Finance, Absa Corporate and Investment Banking

In the emerging market, I’d have to say we have to be a lot more cognisant of the social implications that are coming from it.

Shiran Moodley, Co-head: Sustainable Finance, Absa Corporate and Investment Banking

This fight against climate change using sustainable finance requires a great investment in order to drive environmental protection and inclusive growth. This can range from environmental projects that promote renewable energy and clean transportation, to social projects that deliver affordable housing or essential social infrastructure.

The process needs to be planned carefully and made practical in manageable steps. Banks, clients, businesses and other financial institutions need to contribute to this change in one way or another, as the climate impacts us all. Hopefully, these small steps can make the energy transition easier and move towards a cleaner, greener future.

For data-driven insights that match foresight with sustainable possibilities, re-visit our Absa Insights page regularly to listen to thought-provoking conversations with Absa Corporate and Investment Banking sector experts in the Absa Insights podcast series.

* 8 November 2021 6:03 PM

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