"The world is looking at us to see who we are funding. With this initiative, we want to see that we immerse ourselves in the idea," says Goretti Masadde, CEO of the Uganda Institute of Banking and Financial Services.
The financial industry has launched new efforts to encourage small and micro enterprises to embrace "climate-smart" operations, amidst growing restrictions on financing. The global and local are increasingly under pressure to target their finances towards projects that contribute to the mitigation of the effects of climate change or help protect the environment.
However, the industry in Uganda and other developing countries has to deal with a public that has yet to fully appreciate the relationship between financing and their own production practices. Now, the Uganda Institute of Banking and Financial Services (UIBFS) is leading the sensitisation drive that also involves identifying and rewarding projects that are compliant with basic climate-smart or green production practices.
This drive has seen the staff of the institute, as well as the Bank of Uganda, the Uganda Microfinance Regulatory Authority, the Deposit Protection Fund, the Uganda Bankers Association, the Uganda Retirement Benefits Authority, the Insurance Regulatory Authority, and the Uganda Insurers Association, save money to award best projects.
Goretti Masadde, the Institute's Chief Executive Officer said throughout 2023, players in the financial services sector have run a saving challenge where the staff of different organizations have collected money which will go towards boosting the most befitting women or youth-led green smart initiatives.
"Climate Change has become a harsh reality of our time. It is causing loss of lives, infrastructure, sources of livelihood, and more. These are initiatives or businesses that have a good environmental outcome like reducing carbon emissions, reducing or preventing the impact of climate change on life, livelihoods, and infrastructure as well as conserving biodiversity," Masadde says.
The nominations of the potential initiatives will be done by the public via email to email@example.com
, the website www.uibfs.or.ug
, or at any participating financial institution by Monday 23rd October 2023.
Final nominees will be announced on World Savings Day on October 31 and winners selected thereafter.
The activity targets individuals or groups of women or youth business proprietors, investors, founders, or any stakeholders involved in innovative green projects.
However, the projects are required to demonstrate a focus on climate mitigation, climate adaptation, and biodiversity conservation and demonstrate good savings and financial discipline. The potential nominee will give a description of the project's impact on the environment and why it deserves the award, in the form of descriptive pictures or video clips. Winning projects will be awarded 5 million shillings each.
Ms Masadde says the financial industry in Uganda and worldwide has been tasked to play a major role in mitigating climate change, using targeted financing. “The financial services sector has been put to task to fund green smart activities in the country. The world is looking at us to see who we are funding. With this initiative, we want to see that we immerse ourselves in the idea," she says.
She notes the importance of the players in the industry to cooperate in this challenge.
"If the bankers merge ourselves in the whole idea of environmental change and being climate-smart, then it will be easy to fund climate-smart projects. We would like to make sure these businesses are sustainable in one way or another."
Patricia Amito, the Uganda Bankers Association (UBA) head of communications, says this campaign is aimed at creating awareness among both the bankers and the public about the importance of saving while being green-smart in their operations. “We want to contribute towards environmental conservation and reducing negative impacts of climate change which we are all alive to. As the banking sector, we thought one the key issues to raise awareness about is climate change."
Other initiatives targeted for finding include briquettes, energy conservation, conservation of water, or solar financing. “What we are saying is that we can come together as an industry, collect money, and then put it towards one industry cause which gives us a big impact and positions us to be alive to some of the causes of what we are seeing in the country.”
On the sustainability of this campaign, Amito says it is not a one-off but will be supported for as long as ideas keep coming. “We want to see more ideas come up and more businesses supported in the angle of being green smart and conserving the environment to promote livelihoods of the people we serve as the financial services industry.”