KAMPALA — The Uganda Institute of Banking and Financial Services say commercial banks are rolling out tailored loans—targeting SMEs and farmers to increase their resilience to climate change and climate variability; climate mitigation actions to reduce or limit Green House Gas emissions; and a stronger local environment, including ecosystems and biodiversity.
Goretti Masadde, the chief executive officer of the banking institute says banks seek to support green agribusiness investments for Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation and Biodiversity Conservation.
This, she says, would contribute to economic growth, job creation and improved incomes.
Masadde was speaking at the 3rd Edition of the Annual Banking and Financial Services Awareness month, a grand public awareness session that brought together providers and users of banking and financial services. The edition was held under the theme: “Start Small Grow Big, Be GreenSmart”.
Ms. Masadde said, making a case that the awareness month was a crucial opportunity for addressing these issues.
“Financial services can do a lot to either mitigate, to adapt or to even promote biodiversity conservation. We are telling them to increasingly make more green finance available and accessible to fund green projects such as wind and solar farms, and to invest in businesses themselves to help them become greener,” Ms. Masadde told reporters.
Adding: “Banks therefore play an essential role in helping people and businesses to access the money to support environmentally-friendly activity.”
Green financing is a loan or investment that supports environmentally-friendly activity, such as purchasing environmentally-friendly goods and services or building environmentally-friendly infrastructure.
Masadde said the institute would launch a business development services support to ensure that borrowers are trained on green priority areas.
The awareness session helped improve financial literacy within the public through knowledge transfer, organisers said.
Ms. Mona Muguma Ssebuliba, the CEO aBi Finance called on financial institutions to appreciate the magnitude and risks associated with climate change.
“Managing climate change requires that those tasked with Governance of our institutions, that is board and management MUST appreciate the climate change threats to business and start to act immediately. Once governance is aligned, then commit resources to develop and institutionalise clear Environmental and Socially inclusive policies, frameworks, products, build capacity (for staff, systems and infrastructure) and pursue partnerships to enable climate adaptation, mitigation and biodiversity conservation investments.”
Mugume said the institution has launched a dedicated green investment fund to help mitigate climate change and support biodiversity conservation.
“The idea is to support financial institutions in providing appropriate loan products and services to allow agri- businesses and smallholder farmers access financing that will address climate change particularly to help the businesses adapt to climate change, mitigate against some of the vagaries coming to do with climate change,” she said adding that green financing is critical in supporting the transition to a low carbon economy.
She observed that globally, Uganda is the 12th most vulnerable and the 49th least prepared out of 195 countries, to deal with vagaries of climate change.
“Production and productivity of small holder farmers and agribusinesses continues to suffer from climate change vagaries evidenced by change in patterns of rainfall, drought and temperature,” she said.
The aBi chief executive said there’s a need for capacity building of smallholder smallholder farmers and agri-businesses to know how to mitigate against climate change.
This, she said, would help them to understand what’s in the banks in terms of products such as irrigation products, solar services, biogas digesters, and that type of thing.
The Green Finance Exhibition featured enterprises created out of a need to respond to a sustainable theme – Sustainable finance, forests, renewable energy, recycled items, green building, and gender inclusiveness showcasing their latest products and services, technologies and best practices developed through environmental sustainability.