Oryx Desert Salt / International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

A new Kalahari bushman story: Sustainability is the heart of contribution

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The impact of the G7’s multi-billion dollar plan on Africa’s infrastructure gap

Heightened focus on sustainability and social impact

By Michael Foundethakis, Baker McKenzie’s Global Head of Projects and Trade & Export Finance, and Africa Steering Committee Chair

In late June 2022, it was announced at the G7 Summit in Germany that a USD600-billion lending initiative, the Partnership for Global Infrastructure Initiative (PGII), would be launched to fund infrastructure projects in the developing world, with a particular focus on Africa. The G7 countries – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States – explained the PGII would help address the infrastructure gap in developing countries.

The US

The US has recently renewed its focus on impact-building and financing strategic, long-term infrastructure projects in Africa, with the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) supporting infrastructure development on the continent. According to a 2020 report by McKinsey and Company – Solving Africa’s infrastructure paradox – the US accounts for 38% of global investors who have an appetite for African investment, by far the most of any country. In 2021, the US launched a refreshed “Prosper Africa initiative”, focusing on improving reciprocal trade and investments that create jobs and build infrastructure between the two regions. In 2022, the US announced it would mobilise USD200-billion over the next five years as part of the PGII, in the form of grants, financing and private sector investments. Some deals have already been announced, including, for example, a USD2-billion solar energy project in Angola, and the building of multiple hospitals in Côte d’Ivoire.   

The EU

In February 2022, the European Commission announced investment funding for Africa worth EUR150-billion. The funding package is part of the EU Global Gateway Investment Scheme and is said to be in the form of EU combined member funds, member state investments and capital from investment banks.

In early 2020, the European Commission published its Comprehensive Strategy with Africa, outlining the region’s plans for its new, stronger relationship with the continent. The strategy document laid out five top priorities for the EU in Africa: the green transition and improving access to energy; digital transformation; sustainable growth and jobs; peace and governance; and migration and mobility.

The UK

The UK is also making a strong play for influence, investment and trade with Africa, post-Brexit. Further to key summits in 2020 and 2021, finance is being redirected into Africa from the UK. In 2022, UK development finance institution (DFI), British International Investment (formerly CDC Group), announced it had exceeded its pledge to invest GBP2-billion in Africa over the last two years. The UK’s Global Infrastructure Programme helps partner countries (including in the African continent) to build capacity to develop major infrastructure projects, setting up infrastructure projects for success and paving the way for UK companies to support these projects.

Further, in November 2021, it was announced that the governments of South Africa, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, along with the European Union, were in negotiations to form a long-term Just Energy Transition Partnership. The partnership focuses on boosting the decarbonisation of the South African economy, with a commitment of USD8.5-billion for first round financing. It is expected that 1-1.5 gigatonnes of emissions will be prevented over the next 20 years, assisting South Africa to accelerate its just transition. Discussions are also currently taking place to establish a similar partnership in Senegal.

African solutions

The African Development Bank noted in early 2022 that Africa’s infrastructure investment gap is estimated at more than USD100-billion per year. DFIs are increasingly anchoring the infrastructure ecosystem in Africa – serving a critical function for project finance as investment facilitator and a check on capital. DFIs can shoulder political risk and access government protections in a way that others cannot, enter markets others cannot and are uniquely capable of facilitating long-term lending. The large amount of capital needed to fill the infrastructure gap, however, means that DFIs cannot bridge it alone. Private equity, local and regional banks, debt finance and specialist infrastructure funds are primed to enter the market, and multi-finance and blended solutions are expected to grow in popularity as a way to de-risk deals.

The African Unions 55 member states have stated that their primary funding needs include support in terms of safety and security on the continent, as well help in implementing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and the massive infrastructure investment it needs to be successful. The development of supporting infrastructure is key to boosting AfCFTAs free trade potential, especially in terms of transportation, energy provision, internet access and data services, education and healthcare infrastructure projects.

Infrastructure projects in Africa now also have a heightened focus on improving Africa’s capacity for green, low-carbon and sustainable development, via, for example, clean energy, community healthcare and support, green transport, sustainable water, wildlife protection and low-carbon development projects. Funding such projects comes with responsibility –  projects must not only be bankable and yield attractive returns, but must also be sustainable and provide tangible benefits to local economies and communities. All of Africas major partners have noted they will prioritise projects that commit to Environmental, Social and Governance principles, and access to capital for large infrastructure projects is likely to contain sustainability requirements.

That the focus of the PGII is on the sustainability and the social impact of these projects in Africa is further evidenced in the White House briefing room statement issued at the launch in June 2022, where it was stated that the PGII will ’’mobilise hundreds of billions of dollars and deliver quality, sustainable infrastructure that makes a difference in people’s lives around the world.’

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World Population Day: Dealing with rising urban population pressure

Technology and sustainability are key methods of successfully handling the rapidly rising populations in our cities.

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Ingenza awarded government funding to develop novel carbon capture technology

Biotechnology company Ingenza is delighted to announce that its recent partnership with Johnson Matthey has been selected to receive vital funding of £441,632.88 from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as part of the £1 billion fund from the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio to slash emissions and energy costs.

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Pallet pooling: The optimum supply-chain solution

In a time of rapidly changing supply chains, global pallet-pooling systems offer adaptability, efficiency, and sustainability.

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Sustainability is the best way to help steer business towards a better planet

By Mark Boshoff, Nedbank Head of Transformation and Sustainability

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An organic solution could replace chemicals in solving South Africa’s mining waste problem

This year’s Mining Indaba cast a renewed focus on sustainability in the mining sector, which is known to generate enormous volumes of solid and liquid waste.  

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JSE unveils Sustainability and Climate Disclosure Guidance

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) has released its Sustainability and Climate Disclosure Guidance that aims to promote transparency and good governance, and guide listed companies on best practice in environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure.

In December 2021, the bourse published the Draft Sustainability and Climate Disclosure Guidance for public comment, which paved the way for a comprehensive consultation process with a broad group of stakeholders including market participants, sustainability specialists and corporate governance bodies.

“The JSE recognises the need to create an enabling environment for better disclosure practices, especially in light of regulation and guidance that are changing rapidly globally. The Sustainability Disclosure Guidance is intended to help companies to align with recent and imminent changes in global standards and international best practice regardless of their experience in sustainability reporting,” says Leila Fourie, Group CEO at the JSE.

The JSE disclosure guidance combines global best practice with local relevance, and simplifies ESG disclosure for both listed and private companies in a context of a myriad of frameworks, guidelines, standards and ratings in the market.

Unpacking the JSE Disclosure Guidance

The Sustainability Disclosure Guidance is an impact-focused, overarching reference document that has a basic set of metrics which are rooted in existing, well-established global standards. It is the blueprint which will assist companies to understand what matters, both on a local and global landscape, and start disclosing.

Parallel to that, is the Climate Disclosure Guidance which specifically aims to clarify current global best practices in climate-related disclosure and provides a step-by-step guide to get issuers started on this journey. The guidance can be a starting point for those tasked with preparing reports with the goal of integrating climate-related information for the first time, while also providing additional resources that can help deepen the journey into climate-related disclosure for those that are more advanced.

“It is our hope that the JSE Disclosure Guidance will help to improve business leadership, performance, accountability and transparency across the entire sustainability ecosystem,” concludes Fourie.

While organisations will have the prerogative to draw fully or in part from the guidance framework to augment their existing disclosure practices, the JSE supports the understanding that the structure of any high-quality disclosure is similar for organisations of all forms and sizes.

The JSE has long championed sustainability as it was the first emerging market – and the first stock exchange globally – to introduce a sustainability index in 2004. It is also a signatory to the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment and a founding partner of the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative. The JSE is also home to the existing FTSE/JSE Responsible Investment Index and launched the Green Bond Segment in 2017, which was expanded to a fully-fledged Sustainability Segment in 2020.

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INTEGRA commits to sustainability 

INTEGRA Biosciences continues to foster its sustainable approach to supplying high quality laboratory tools to research facilities across the globe.

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Reliability, flexibility and sustainability of Wärtsilä technology lands repeat order from Nigerian cement producer

The technology group Wärtsilä will supply a 70 MW captive power plant for the BUA’s new Sokoto cement production plant in Nigeria.

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