The National Business Initiative’s latest research report presents a private sector view on eleven barriers to climate finance in South Africa with a view to enhancing Green Climate Funding in the country, writes Marjorie Dean.
The National Business Initiative (NBI) presented the findings of its study *A private sector view of enhancing private sector access to Climate Finance in South Africa to an Accelerate Cape Town and KPMG Sustainability Forum held in Cape Town recently. The forum heard that the Western Cape Government, through its ‘Green Economy Strategy Framework’, aims to see the province becoming the lowest carbon province in South Africa and the leading green economic hub of the African continent.
Joanne Yawitch, CEO of the NBI and Jenny Cargill, Special Advisor to the Premier of the Western Cape, presented the findings of the study.
Yawitch explained the background to this project, which was to determine how to enhance private sector access to funding for the implementation of low carbon projects in South Africa.
There were three main objectives to this project – namely to identify the available funds, their criteria and value; to determine barriers to accessing funds and assuming a barrier was the availability of information; conduct an informative road show with project developers. This proved difficult for a number of reasons, amongst them being few private sector institutions having dedicated funds – perhaps because there are differing views on what constitutes a low-carbon fund. Therefore the project evolved to a more general financial sector view on barriers to both the availability and uptake of low-carbon finance.
Yawitch briefly explained the analytics and statistics gleaned from the research and the barriers were grouped into four mega-opportunities which were further analysed using two primary frameworks and the following was found:
- Unlock product innovation in the financial sector in relation to the green/low-carbon economy
- Make it easier for new market entrants and improve communication between project developers and finance institutions
- Align perceptions of the green economy and work together to resolve structural issues
- Drive low-carbon projects into larger companies.
Yawitch ended her presentation by saying that “yes, there’s money and projects but there is insufficient interaction between the two. The NBI is planning a road show for the first week in July aimed at project developers and companies, because while there are short term solutions, the project revealed that collaborative action is required to address systemic changes.”
Cargill explained that the Western Cape Government’s ‘Green Economy Strategy Framework’, with a focus on a green economy, is centered on investment in new and expanded market opportunities that support a low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive economic pathway.
The Western Cape Provincial Government’s main goal is “to see the province becoming the lowest carbon province in the country and the leading green economic hub of the African continent.” To do this requires ‘SMART’ living and working, mobility, eco-systems, agri-production and enterprise, said Cargill.
Cargill reported that the next steps in this process are to consolidate the existing green economy capability and information, prioritise an investment case within each of the five action areas identified and source funding for these investment cases. The provincial government’s flagship initiative called 110% Green, is also a great opportunity to build green networks between government and business.
In the subsequent discussion session it became clear from the questions asked that many at the breakfast forum felt that the biggest barrier to action was knowing who to approach in government about ‘green’ issues. Cargill responded by saying that businesses can approach the provincial government through Green Cape (a Sector Development Agency established to unlock the manufacturing and employment potential in the Green Economy in the Western Cape) and all the relevant information is on the Western Cape Government’s website. Chris Whelan, CEO of Accelerate Cape Town, re-iterated business’s commitment to working in partnership with the government in the sustainability sphere.
What also became evident was that many delegates felt there is a lack of synchronicity or a systems approach between the City of Cape Town, the provincial government and business. There needs to be more knowledge sharing while moving onto a low carbon growth path. If a systems approach could be put in place then when change is made in one area it will have a desired effect on all the other areas.
You can download the full report at www.nbi.org.za
*The NBI research has been funded by the Prosperity Fund of the British High Commission Foreign Commonwealth Office, with technical assistance from KPMG’s Climate Change & Sustainability Unit.