(Kigali, Rwanda, February 26, 2019 )IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has partnered with the UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative, the Capital Market Authority in Rwanda (CMA) and the Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE) to raise environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards of listed companies in Rwanda. At a roundtable in Kigali, the partners provided an overview on the strategic value and demand for better annual reporting and disclosure practices.
“By strengthening the reporting ecosystem to include environmental, social and corporate governance oversight, businesses can use that knowledge to gain competitive advantage in the market, but also to access new financing opportunities and to meet investor and regulatory demands,” said Tiffany Grabski, Deputy Coordinator of the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative. “Doing so will allow a company to attract new clients for sustainability themed financial products and meet the growing demand for sustainable products and services, but also to operate at the forefront of an ongoing market transition, and reinforce the company’s position as an essential facet of the economy and society. ”
The Workshop seeks to improve integrated reporting and disclosure practices and strengthen ESG disclosure and reporting requirements for listed companies in Rwanda. The goal is to help build investor trust, attract capital, and grow strong capital markets in Rwanda. Further support to the partners will be provided as part of an ongoing advisory program.
Investors say a lack of consistent and easily accessible information on companies’ ESG performance is an impediment to increasing the allocation of capital to emerging markets. Adhering to high standards of disclosure and transparency can mitigate some of the perceived risks of investing in emerging and frontier markets revolving around weaker corporate governance and heightened social and environmental risks.
Market regulators and stock exchanges are uniquely positioned to advance greater transparency and disclosure of material information that enables investors to make better decisions. They can do so by setting best-practice for ESG disclosure by listed companies. This can help build a strong foundation for well-functioning markets, drive improvements in business practices, and channel more capital towards sustainable companies.
“Well-functioning markets require investor trust,” said Hamidou Sorgo, IFC’s Acting Country Representative in Rwanda. “Through our partnership with the UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative, CMA Rwanda and RSE, we seek to build this trust in Rwanda through greater transparency and reporting. Ultimately, this will help responsible companies attract investors and reduce the cost of capital.”
Eric Bundugu, Acting Executive Director of the Capital Market Authority in Rwanda, said: “the Rwanda Stock Exchange and Capital Market Authority in Rwanda are increasingly active in promoting sustainable finance. But we can benefit from technical assistance to implement sustainable finance mechanisms. We are pleased today to announce the strengthening of our ties with IFC and UN SSE, with the aim of improving our assistance to listed companies, so that we can reap the rewards of sustainable finance.”
IFC and the UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative, which exchanged letters for collaboration in October 2018, focus on disclosure and transparency program to help local stock exchanges to produce ESG disclosure rules that meet specific local needs and enhance low-risk emerging markets investments. This work will draw on IFC’s recently released Disclosure and Transparency Toolkit for companies, investors, capital market officials and regulators and UN Model ESG Reporting Guidelines. Since the toolkit’s release in January 2018, it has been used to develop market and regulatory guidance in Kazakhstan, Kenya, Nigeria, Peru, Georgia and the Philippines.
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org
About the UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative
UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative, launched in 2009 by the UN Secretary General, is a UN Partnership Programme of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UN Global Compact, the UN Environment Program Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). The SSE convenes stock exchanges who join by signing a voluntary public commitment and it currently has 78 Partner Exchanges worldwide. It provides Model Guidance on ESG disclosure for stock exchanges to help with the preparation of ESG reporting guidelines. The SSE has three inter-related pillars of activity: research, consensus building and technical assistance.