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14 Aug 2020

The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) grants a €10 million (Rs470 million) green line of credit to AfrAsia Bank within the context of the SUNREF Mauritius programme

AfrAsia Bank has benefited from a green line of funding under the SUNREF programme launched by France through the AFD in Mauritius.


SUNREF III Mauritius, the Mauritian branch of the SUNREF funding programme implemented by the AFD, now consists of an €85 million line of credit, allocated to three local banks. Exclusively reserved for the funding of climate change mitigation and adaptation projects carried out by individuals or companies on the Mauritian territory, the programme also has an inclusion focus since it includes criteria that favour projects promoting gender equality in the workplace.


The SUNREF programme is in line with the AFD’s ambitious strategy regarding the fight against climate change and inequalities. Indeed, in its 2018-2022 strategic plan, the AFD defined a challenging framework for its operations that includes the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the resolutions of the Paris Agreement. Energy and ecological transition is at the very top the agency's list of priorities.


Sustainable development is also at the heart of AfrAsia Bank’s strategy. "AfrAsia Bank has come a long way from when it first produced a report on sustainable development for its 2015 annual report" says Luvna Arnassalon-Seerungen, the Bank’s Head of Corporate Sustainability and CSR. "We have since made every effort to instil a sustainability culture within our establishment, and implement an action plan that will, gradually, make of sustainable development one of our strategic pillars. We are proud to partner with the AFD for the development of this new green line of funding as it is consistent with the Marketplace Responsibility principles that we hold most dear."


Climate action has long formed part of the AFD's core mission. SUNREF III Mauritius represents the third edition of the programme on Mauritian soil and was launched after the first two lines, granted between 2009 and 2017, proved to be a success. The AFD promotes individuals' and companies' green projects by allowing partner banks to offer loans and providing on the one side, technical assistance, and, on the other, investment grants. An initiative made possible by contributions from France, through the AFD, and the European Union.


In addition to combating climate change, promoting gender equality is an integral part of the objectives jointly defined by the partner banks and the AFD.


Sanjiv Bhasin, CEO of AfrAsia Bank, confirms this shared vision with AFD: "this agreement with the AFD, within the context of the SUNREF Mauritius programme, is an important milestone for AfrAsia and shows our ongoing commitment to a green agenda. It highlights our achievements as regards SDGs as well as the continuous effort made to promote sustainable development along our "bank different" journey. It is the responsibility of each and every organisation to ensure the integration of sustainable development into their culture and corporate strategy. Only in that way will we be able to truly impact the environment in which we evolve, and leave a positive legacy for future generations."


The AFD believes that the ecological transition can only be achieved if various types of players are involved: governments, communities, non-governmental organisations, citizens, as well as companies, banks, etc. This is one of the objectives met by the SUNREF programme since it helps participants act through local banks, such as AfrAsia Bank, by granting them lines of funding. The AFD also established a partnership with Business Mauritius, a private sector operator in Mauritius, for the implementation of technical assistance. Business Mauritius has strengthened its in-house capacity by setting up a Sustainability team dedicated to providing technical support to banks and green/inclusive project leaders of the SUNREF programme.


The partnership between AFD and AfrAsia Bank will facilitate the funding of sustainable projects, and help build the Mauritian economy's climate resilience by providing support to companies and individuals embarking on this path.