The financial sector building developing nations into sustainable economies

Jun 16, 2022

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals need to be implemented by organizations around the world if we are to tackle the pressing issue of climate change. Fortunately, there are real opportunities for legacy banks in developing countries to tackle some major issues that are overdue for change. 


Jean Michel Ng Tseung, CEO Designate at MCB Group says that the organisation needs to look at their effectiveness at all levels: 


“Success is measured by how well we accompany our local entrepreneurs to new heights. It is measured by how well we grow our people and develop their talents. And it is measured by how well we promote and deploy sustainability finance for the good of our planet.” 


The MCB Group is a financial services institution that has existed for more than 180 years, headquartered in Port Louis, Mauritius. The bank’s diversification strategy, which has led directly to the development of new products, services, and markets has seen the bank grow over the last 25 years with subsidiaries and investments in Mauritius, France, India, Madagascar, Maldives, Mayotte, Mozambique, Réunion, Seychelles and South Africa.


As it has grown, says Alain Law Min, CEO at MCB Ltd, the benefits have been felt at home: 


“As a leading financial services operator in Mauritius that has played a critical role in the development of the country, our success is closely dependent upon the success of all our stakeholders.”


The bank’s stated purpose today is to provide banking and financing solutions to its customers in a responsible manner, using the company’s expertise and resources to make a positive difference to the economy, the Mauritian people and community, as well as the wider environment.” 


Vanessa Doger De Spéville, Head of Communication and Corporate Sustainability at MCB Ltd says that to achieve these aims, it is essential to work together: 


“Partnerships are key. If you want to create a real impact for society, we strongly believe that we need to partner with associations, NGOs, and people in the field. Among our main partners today are The Association Mauricienne des Femmes Chefs d’Entrepreneurs (AMFC), the association of female entrepreneurs which promotes the local economy. Sustainable development is about working together in order to build a strong ecosystem and to move in the right direction and to create real impact for Mauritius.” 


These partnerships has led to tangible results, which Juliette François-Assonne, CSR Administrator at MCB Forward Foundation says are defying expectations of what is possible:


“When we are talking about social problems, health outcomes or housing, it’s very rare that you will associate these issues with words such as innovation or excellence. This has now become our driving force: how do we incorporate innovation and excellence in our activities and in our interactions? When we looked at our MCB Football Academy [an organization to help children develop through sport], our connection with the community and families enabled us to identify that children had psychiatric issues. And so we teamed up with an NGO and we developed and implemented the first and only child psychiatric service at national level.”


François-Assonne adds that the right educational opportunities can be powerfully transformative for struggling communities: 


“Through our social housing integrated project, we had beneficiaries who received, over seven years, training and capacity building, enabling them to also then get employment. What has been wonderful to see is that these beneficiaries are now clients. Because we believe in what we do and because we want to be able to ensure that we are meeting the needs of not only individuals, but also our stakeholders, we make sure that these values of innovation and excellence shine through every decision in every project that we are implementing.” 


As well as education, Alain Law Min says that entrepreneurs need support – and that the results can be dramatic: 


“To support local economies, we have introduced ‘local is beautiful’, a credit scheme which enables entrepreneurs to invest in their activities at a cheaper cost. We have offered green loans which have enabled companies to mitigate the effects of climate change, but also to transition towards cleaner, renewable energy. The new normal post-pandemic will accelerate the change towards an ESG agenda.”


Investment in renewable energy, supporting SMEs and improving the wellbeing of societies around the world shows how the bank is firmly aligned with the UN SDGs and the principle of responsible banking. For Jean Michel Ng Tseung, the vision is clear: 


“In a nutshell, this is really about infusing our sustainability agenda in the lifeblood of our organization, in our values and in our vision in order to make a positive impact every day in whatever we do.”

“As a leading financial services operator in Mauritius that has played a critical role in the development of the country, our success is closely dependent upon the success of all our stakeholders.”

These articles are produced by TBD Media group