Zimbabwe’s biggest bank plans to put 2% of its income into green energy projects

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CBZ Holdings, the biggest bank in Zimbabwe, plans to invest 2% of its annual income toward green projects.

The bank’s plan to increase the use of green energy will include funding solar projects by households across the country, according to Blessing Mudavanhu, the lender’s chief executive officer.

Zimbabwe relies on electricity mainly from its hydro-powered Kariba Power Station and the coal-fired plants in Hwange. Although with an installed capacity to produce a combined 2,100 megawatts, owing to frequent breakdowns at Hwange, the country has an acute shortage of electricity which results in prolonged power cuts. When possible, the country meets its power shortfall through imports mainly from South Africa.

CBZ will also invest in carbon credits as it seeks to establish its footprint in the ESG space, Mudavanhu said.

The bank, which released its annual results on Friday, said it expects its shift toward environmental accountability to “gather pace” this year. The lender’s net full-year interest income tripled to Z$16,16 billion from Z$6.15 billion.

“The shift towards environmental accountability is expected to gather pace in 2022. As a priority, the Group is actively aligning operations, activities and strategies to support Environmental, Social and Governance ESG practices and goals,” the bank says in its results.

CBZ is not the only major company scaling up investment in green energy projects. Renewable energy projects form a large part of the non-listed investment portfolio of Old Mutual, the country’s biggest insurer and one of Zimbabwe’s biggest investors. These are the Solgas, Richaw, Kupinga and Harava energy projects.

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Bloomberg (with additional reporting by newZWire)