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DBN advocate sustainability banking for Mfbs

As Nigeria and global communities continue to grapple with effects of climate depletion and economic uncertainties enforced by the COVID- 19 pandemic, Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) has urged Microfinance Banks (Mfbs) and other Participating Financial Institutions (PFIS) to improve sustainability efforts and become more responsive to social and ecological environment.

“Currently, the overall awareness of sustainability and its transitions for the microfinance ecosystem has not been clearly articulated in Nigeria due to the fact that most Mfbs regard lending as the most essential service to be rendered to end-lenders,” Bonaventure Okhaimo, the chief operating officer of the DBN, stating that there is increased global attention on social impact and contribution of businesses to their environment and society.

This was the thrust of deliberations at a recent webinar session themed, “Creating a Sustainability Community of Practice for Nigerian Microfinance Banks” which was organized by DBN for MFBS and PFIS.

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According to Okhaimo, the initiative is focused on deepening DBN’S efforts to increase awareness on sustainability issues, and also positively influence its PFIS Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) focused operations.

He opined that the webinar session was to initiate conversation around sustainability initiatives and implementation strategies for financial institutions in Nigeria. “… to have a more robust proposition about sustainability and open them up to myriad advantages, including external funding, generation of deeper trust with stakeholders and legitimization of operations,” Okhaimo said.

Aisha Mahmoud, Special Adviser to CBN Governor on Sustainability, said deliberations on emerging issues of sustainability are important for the financial ecosystem.

According to her, MFBS by virtue of their mandate is already practising the social pillar of sustainability by lending to the underserved sectors of the economy, but have to focus more on the environmental impact of their lending by looking into the activities and operations of their investees through a sustainability lens.

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