UN-convened Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S) network member, the Egyptian Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) recently announced the establishment of a new think-tank and training centre, the “Regional Center for Sustainable Finance (RCSF)”.
As noted in FC4S’s 2021 Shifting Gears II report, a key challenge experienced by many members is the urgent requirement to close the finance gap to fulfill the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), not least in the Middle East and Africa (MEA). The development of the Cairo based centre is part of an ambitious initiative at the FRA aimed at bringing together all training and educational institutes providing services to Non-Banking Financial Institutions (NBFIs), within the FRA mandate to support the development of the non-banking financial markets.
The RCSF’s main objectives are to target the removal of existing market barriers that might hinder the gradual integration of sustainable finance practices, instruments, and management models. The centre will also promote sustainable finance literacy in different countries in the MEA region, especially in countries where Egyptian NBFIs have growth and expansion potential. This also includes FC4S members across the region.
In addition, the RCSF will also encourage the redirection of private capital flows needed to support the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 SDGs, including climate mitigation and adaptation. It also aims to cover investment gaps in the region and build the private sector capacity in issuing and utilizing green finance instruments such as green bonds, social bonds, and sustainability bonds, along with adopting responsible investment and management practices.
The centre will provide sustainable finance training and technical advisory support – especially in ESG, climate related risk, the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), and other international practices, alongside conducting awareness-raising events. Furthermore, it will forge partnerships with academia, experts, and relevant institutions in a bid to drive sustainable finance research and analytics in the MEA region. Investors, asset managers, insurers, investment groups, venture capitalists, lending institutions, and the private sector are expected to greatly benefit from the center’s services.
A member of the FC4S Steering Committee, Ms. Sina Hbous, the Sustainable Development Advisor to the FRA Chairman and the Head of the Sustainable Development Department, was appointed as the Executive Director of the RCSF. Ms. Hbous has more than 15 years of experience in sustainable development, research, training, and private sector engagement.
A high-level advisory board has been created to ensure that the centre’s strategic direction and services are in alignment with state-of-the-art sustainable finance developments through the provision of advisory opinion and knowledge. The term of the board is three years. Mark Halle, Senior Advisor FC4S was appointed to the advisory board along with ten others including Dr. Obaid Al Zaabi, Chief Executive Officer at the UAE Securities and Commodities Authority and Dr. A’isha Mahmood, Special Adviser to the Governor on Sustainable Banking at the Central Bank of Nigeria. Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, Executive Director at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and United Nations Special Envoy on Financing the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda was appointed as the Chairman of the RCSF Advisory Board.