Sustainable Finance Awards 2023: Africa

The Africa regional, country, and territory winners of Global Finance magazine's 2023 sustainable finance awards.

As African countries industrialize to meet the demands of growing populations, sustainability for banks operating in Africa is a big priority. They play an integral part in the sustainable debt instruments that finance the continent’s infrastructure projects. These projects include more efficient transportation systems, renewable energy capabilities, green buildings, healthcare facilities, and sustainable water and wastewater management to help countries reduce carbon footprints and meet broader social goals. 

Banks in this region also looked at new ways of accessing sustainable finance. This year, banks issued their first sustainable bonds, first green bonds, first sustainability-linked loans for certain industries, and first gender-linked bonds that drive diversity. These financing vehicles support the transformations within Africa that not only provide necessities to certain populations but also create a more sustainable society. Global Finance recognizes the financial industry leaders in providing Africa financing solutions for long-term sustainability. 

Outstanding Leadership in Sustainable Finance


Societe Generale (SocGen) has been on the forefront of sustainable finance in Africa. To support sustainability efforts, the bank’s “Grow with Africa 2025” initiative provides support for positive transformations in Africa, particularly for energy transition and territory development. It supports African small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) with its network of local and international players, training programs, and tailor-made financial offerings.

SocGen’s infrastructure financings involve projects focused on developing health care facilities, onshore wind projects, solar power plants, automated toll booths for existing road networks, sustainable water and wastewater management, modernization of train systems, and new bridge construction to relieve traffic.

The bank’s research and innovation efforts have strengthened the agriculture sector and energy inclusion. Now there are stronger value chains for farmers, relying on export clients; solutions to monetize carbon credits; and access to electricity in urban areas increased by encouraging renewable sources. SocGen has developed microfinance solutions to create financial inclusion for unbanked populations and helped young people to access the workforce by providing student loans and skills sponsorship to students.

Outstanding Financial Leadership in Sustaining Communities


Societe Generale Madagasikara enables its customers to positively impact the country’s economy and communities. The bank’s deals improved infrastructure. It participated in the financing of the largest power plant in Madagascar and the Indian Ocean, improving access to electricity while reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The bank’s financing has also improved transportation systems, aiming to reduce commute times from two hours to 30 minutes for 40,000 passengers while also reducing CO2 emissions.

Outstanding Leadership in Sustainability Transparency

Outstanding Leadership in Sustainable Infrastructure Finance


The Pan-African financial services provider, Absa Group, has supported multiple infrastructure projects as part of its effort to spearhead Africa’s sustainable development and energy transition. These include renewable energy projects across the continent, one of which helped Eskom, a South African public electricity utility, add renewable energy capabilities to the national grid to meet national energy transition objectives and sustainable development goals.

Absa also participated in an approximately 10.4 billion South African rand (about $558 million) syndicated sustainability-linked, green debt package for mining specialist Harmony, with key performance indicators (KPIs) for reducing its carbon footprint. Absa was also the first bank to finance a development REIT in a bilateral loan agreement in sub-Saharan Africa, with a 6.7 billion Kenyan shilling (about $47.7 million) green loan to Acorn Student Development Real Estate Investment Trust for purpose-built student accommodation projects in Kenya.

Outstanding Leadership in Sustainable Project Finance

Outstanding Leadership in Sustainable Finance by a Multilateral Institution


TDB Bank has a mandate to finance and foster trade, regional economic integration, and sustainable development. TDB Bank has been working on equity capital structure and reforms related to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concerns. It has pioneered the use of blockchain technology to facilitate trade finance, having executed over $1 billion in transactions to date.

The bank has had a particular focus on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2022, including project and infrastructure finance transactions and trade finance. Along with providing financial support for imports and exports of commodities and other products, the bank provided financing for infrastructure projects that include transportation and sports infrastructure development in Rwanda, a facility in Eswatini to support 12,000 sugar growers and millers, mining of key components for renewable energy infrastructure and technology, and the manufacture of clean energy products to support renewable solar energy development.

Outstanding Sustainable Financing in Emerging Markets 

Outstanding Leadership in Green Bonds 

Outstanding Leadership in Social Bonds 

Outstanding Leadership in Transition/Sustainability-Linked Bonds


Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) understands that effective management of natural resources is the cornerstone for sustainable social, and economic development. As such, the bank has committed to facilitate 200 billion South African rands of transition and sustainable finance by 2026.

RMB’s sustainable finance team has achieved a leadership position in the African market with some of the larger issuances for 2022 and a few firsts. These include the first issuance of a gender-linked bond in Africa, for Barloworld, an industrial processing, distribution, and services company, with KPIs that drive gender diversity within the company’s ranks and higher participation of Black women-owned businesses in its supply chain. The bank also issued the first sustainability bond in South Africa, for its parent, FirstRand Bank, for 2 billion rands, which will help companies raise debt for green, social, and sustainable investment projects.

Another notable issuance is Redefine Properties’ inaugural 1.5 billion rand green bond, which promotes sustainability and certified green buildings in South Africa. RMB also participated in structuring gold-producer Pan African Resources’ 800 million rand sustainability-linked bond (SLB) in local currency with performance targets across environmental and social pillars for renewable energy, tailings rehabilitation, and employee safety. FirstRand’s first sustainable bond issuance allocated half of its proceeds to social assets that include affordable housing loans that are focused on low income, subsidized housing.

RMB also developed debt capital markets in Namibia with FNB Namibia’s first green bond issuance, raising 353 million Namibian dollars (about $18.9 million). The proceeds will be used to develop green buildings and renewable energy projects.

Outstanding Leadership in Sustainability Bonds


Nedbank aims to be at the forefront of managing climate change risks by financing innovative, impactful solutions with the goal of achieving net zero by 2050. In 2022, the bank disbursed 1.65 billion South African rands (ZAR) in green bonds and ZAR14.5 billion in SLBs that embed impact indicators and performance targets. One such example is Nedbank’s ZAR1.65 billion green bond for Redefine Properties, which finances green buildings and is listed on the Sustainability Segment of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

Outstanding Leadership in Transition/Sustainability-Linked Loans


Standard Bank’s target is to mobilize between 250 billion and 300 billion South African rands (ZAR) in sustainable finance across all products by the end of 2026. In 2022, the bank had a 57% increase in sustainable finance loans and bonds and executed 28 sustainable finance loans, totaling ZAR51.7 billion, that include a few firsts for the region.

One example is the $306 million sustainability-linked facility to Grit Real Estate Income Group, which restructures the existing debt exposure in Mozambique, Mauritius, Senegal, Ghana, and Zambia to create a balanced solution over a diversified security pool. 

Standard Bank financed the first sustainability-linked loan (SLL) in the auto industry, in the amount of ZAR6.8 billion to Motus Holdings. The loan’s KPIs and sustainability performance targets are linked to gender and the consumption of road fuel, electricity, and water.


Africa Regional Winners
Outstanding Leadership in Sustainable Finance Societe Generale
Outstanding Financial Leadership in Sustaining Communities Societe Generale Madagasikara
Outstanding Leadership in Sustainability Transparency Absa
Outstanding Leadership in Sustainable Infrastructure Finance Absa
Outstanding Leadership in Sustainable Project Finance TDB Bank
Outstanding Sustainable Financing in Emerging Markets Rand Merchant Bank
Outstanding Leadership in Sustainable Finance by a Multilateral Institution TDB Bank
Outstanding Leadership in Green Bonds Rand Merchant Bank
Outstanding Leadership in Social Bonds Rand Merchant Bank
Outstanding Leadership in Sustainable Bonds Nedbank
Outstanding Leadership in Transition/Sustainability-Linked Bonds Rand Merchant Bank
Outstanding Leadership in ESG-Related Loans Standard Bank
Outstanding Leadership in Transition/Sustainability-Linked Loans Standard Bank
Africa Country Winners
Egypt EFG Hermes
Ghana Ecobank
Kenya Absa
Morocco Societe Generale
Nigeria Acess Bank
South Africa Rand Merchant