East Africa: Renaissance Capital to Enhance ESG Investment Approach

23 September 2019

Renaissance Capital recently hosted its 5th Annual East Africa Investor Conference in Nairobi, Kenya in a three-day event held at the Kempinski Hotel.

Hosting and meeting over 150 one-on-one meetings between international and domestic investors and leading corporates from different sectors in the East Africa region, Renaissance Capital, discussed with both consumer and retail in pharmaceuticals, insurance, media, utilities, oil & gas, telecoms, finance, cement production and brewing.

The conference commenced with an opening speech by Stanley Kariuki, Renaissance Capital's Kenya CEO, followed by a keynote address by the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, Dr Patrick Njoroge. Charles Robertson, Renaissance Capital's Global Chief Economist, gave a presentation on currency, GDP and inflation.

During his keynote address Dr Njoroge noted that Africa is the continent of the future in terms of numbers in population, workforce and the future of work.

"Numbers are stacked in Africa and people are here looking to make investments. Exchange rate policy is that we should have a flexible exchange rate. The only thing to do is to minimise volatility," he said.

This year's conference is themed around the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)-based approach to investments and discussions between corporates showcase how improvements in ESG can have a positive impact on performance and valuations. Now in its fifth year, Renaissance Capital's East Africa Investor Conference is the Firm's major regional investor event, in addition to the North Africa Investor Conference, the Pan-Africa Investor Conference and the Russia Investor Conference.

Stanley Kariuki said, "This year we are focusing on the ESG approach to investment because we feel that it is about time we looked at the broader impact and contribution that companies can make as they go about their operations. Countries that invest with a focus on ESG can overcome many other challenges, and the inclusion of the ESG approach to investment can lead to improved business and economic performance, generating greater benefit for Kenya and the African continent as a whole."

The ESG panel session gathered speakers representing companies from different sectors of the East African economy.

Geoffrey Odundo, CEO, Nairobi Stock Exchange who was present pointed out that the Nairobi Stock Exchange wants to see the impact of ESG standards on communities and that one of the important elements of setting these standards is running a diversity programme, ensuring that more women are brought on board.

Steven Chege, Director, Corporate Affairs, Safaricom talking at the forum avered, "We incorporate ESG through getting innovative products to cater for all our clients' needs. We apply nine of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are championed by different divisions. Through technology, we have been able to measure our carbon footprint, including having cooling systems for data centres."

The Director for Finance & ICT at KenGen, John Mudany said; "We work within the community in order to restore livelihood, empower the community and raise employment. Any project or investment is preceded by an environmental check, where potential investors are taken to the sites to do their own research and surveys."

A top-three equities broker on the Nairobi Stock Exchange (16.64% market share, 1H19), Renaissance Capital provides a full scope of investment banking and trading services as well as research products in Kenya.

sance Capital launched an FICC desk to capitalise on its strong expertise in eurobond coverage and liquidity provision.

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