Advancing Sustainable Development Goals among African Sovereigns

March 21, 2024

The Bonds, Loans & ESG Capital Markets Africa 2024 conference, held from 5th to 6th March 2024 in Cape Town and hosted by GFC Media Group, gathered Africa’s financial elite to discuss on the opportunities and challenges faced by the region. As proud sponsors, we were delighted with the opportunity to engage with over 1,100 decision-makers from Africa’s capital markets.

During the conference, Thavin Audit, our Deputy Head of CIB, joined other seasoned financial professionals namely from the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (Uganda), The Autonomous Sinking Fund (Cameroon), the African Development Bank and Nedbank for a panel discussion. The session focused on the crucial theme of “Promoting sustainable development in African sovereigns: How are governments addressing the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals?” Discover the key takeaways of the session from Thavin’s perspective:


  1. Could you please elaborate on what the SDGs are and why it has become a cornerstone of strategies and policymaking for both public and private sector?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), established in 2015 by 193 nations under the United Nations, provide a comprehensive blueprint for global advancement by 2030. This collective agreement signifies a shared commitment to enact positive change and enhance the well-being of people worldwide through the implementation of the 17 identified SDGs. Against the backdrop of climate change, escalating conflicts, violence, and inequality, global leaders have underscored the imperative for unified global cooperation to address these pressing challenges.

The growing importance of synergy between the public and private sectors has become evident, with potential impact on international development and progress towards achieving the SDGs. In Mauritius, governmental commitment to environmental protection, sectoral reforms, and inclusive, green initiatives are evident in the National Budget 2023-24, focusing on gender equality, the introduction of e-health, poverty alleviation, and energy transition.

The Mauritius SDGs Investor Map, established in 2022, directs private capital to emerging sectors prioritizing SDGs, fostering inclusivity and sustainability. Recent global crises, including the Covid-19 pandemic, the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, and extreme climate events, highlight the necessity for resilient economies and the role of the private sector in financing sustainable development alongside governments. It is imperative for African governments to translate words into actions, leveraging diversified financing opportunities in partnership with the private sector to drive economic, social, and environmental reforms collectively.


  1. It is clear that the financing of the SDGs is a blended approach. There is most certainly a role for commercial lenders like Bank One, to play. How is Bank One supporting the financing of the SDGs in Africa?

Financing serves as the fuel propelling SDG progress towards global advancement. The financial services industry and the banking sector, in particular, play pivotal roles. Commercial banks increasingly recognize the importance of integrating SDGs into their business operations, aligning strategies with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria. Initiatives include the offering of sustainable finance products like Green Bonds, Social Impact Loans, and Sustainable Investment Funds that bolster projects aligned with the SDGs.


In Mauritius, the Central Bank has demonstrated a commitment to recognizing climate-related and environmental risks, obliging commercial banks to incorporate the management of these risks into their operations. Furthermore, the Central Bank has actively contributed to the development of a Green Finance framework, facilitating the issuance of Sustainable Bonds to support sustainable development endeavors. Investment funds are also directing their focus towards Africa with an ESG agenda.

Bank One recognizes sub-Saharan Africa as a region ripe with potential for growth and land of opportunity for sustainable development. Our financing endeavors prioritize alignment with the SDGs, emphasizing impact financing to alleviate poverty and enhance access to education. With an in-house sustainable finance team, we ensure adherence to ESG guidelines, conducting business visits to ensure that the financing serves its intended purpose.

Partnerships, such as our collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), allow us to better assess and mitigate climate-related financial risks across our business portfolio. Our commitment to increasing our exposure in Africa, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, remains unwavering, despite the challenges inherent in SDG financing on the continent.

Acknowledging the bumpy road ahead, we remain steadfast on our commitment to serve as a catalyst for positive change in SDG financing across Africa. Our vision extends beyond financial gains, with a focus on making a meaningful impact on the lives of millions. Through these efforts, we are dedicated to driving transformative change and contributing to the collective advancement of the SDGs in Africa.


  1. If we look back on the SDGs many years from now, what does a “perfect implementation” of the SDGs look like for Mauritius?

Looking ahead, sub-Saharan Africa is confronted with an urgent need to mobilize $50 billion annually to address climate adaptation, underscoring the pressing demand for sustainable financing solutions. The global green bond market has experienced substantial growth over the past decade, now reaching $2 trillion with participation from 40 countries. However, in sub-Saharan Africa, progress has been limited, with only 16 bond issuances to date, representing just 1.5% of total global green bonds. Despite the potential for proceeds to be directed into critical infrastructure projects including energy, water, and transportation, investor appetite remains muted due to perceived high risks compared to other emerging economies.

Mauritius has made significant strides in SDG implementation, with notable achievements in poverty alleviation and sustainable infrastructure. However, the journey to attain perfect implementation remains ongoing. Mauritius’ success lies in its collaborative approach, fostering partnerships between public and private sectors to advance initiatives such as educational hubs and sustainable finance. At regional level, joint submissions on maritime space exemplify Mauritius’ commitment to collective progress.

While challenges persist in SDG financing in sub-Saharan Africa, initiatives like the green bond market offer promising avenues for mobilizing funds. With continued collaboration and innovative strategies, the region can overcome barriers and accelerate progress towards sustainable development. Bank One is determined to continue leveraging its expertise and partnerships to drive sustainable financing initiatives in Africa, contributing to the realization of the SDGs and fostering a more prosperous, stable, and equitable future on the continent.