Green finance is among the most important enablers that would boost innovation and increase the adoption of green solutions and practices across different industrial sectors. Green finance, which has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, provides public well-being and social equity while reducing environmental risks and improving ecological integrity.
Middle East is making good progress towards green growth and low-carbon economy. “The latest regional trends highlight the need for green financing mechanisms to support transition to green economy”, said Ruba Al-Zu’bi, a well-known sustainability expert. “While green may be the obvious feasible and sustainable approach, access to finance makes it more appealing for small and medium enterprises and to individuals to promptly take the right decision”, she added.
Jordan is one of the earliest proponents of green finance in the Middle East. “Green finance in Jordan is being offered through public channels, such as the Jordan Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Fund (JREEEF), commercial banks, micro-finance institutions as well as International Financial Institutions”, said Ruba. “Most of green finance mechanisms are supported by technical assistance, awareness-raising and targeted marketing activities, all of which are crucial to success of green projects”, she said.
In the GCC, the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) is gearing up to launch a $500 million green bond, the first in the region. This green bond will provide a boost to renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors, and is expected to catalyze sustainable development projects in the GCC.
To sum up, green finance will act as a major enabler for local, regional and international financing needs of green projects. The regional interest in green technologies and project is expected to provide impetus to climate change mitigation and adaptation projects across the Middle East region. The key to success, according to Ruba Al-Zu’bi, will be market readiness, effective governance frameworks, capacity-building and technology transfer.