By Garmonyou Wilson
Several bankers from EcoBank Liberia and International Bank were trained recently on the importance of environmental risks assessment by USAID Liberia, Investing for Business Expansion Program (IBEX).
Speaking during the training, the IBEX’s Chief of Party, Watchen Bruce, said the purpose of the training was to mitigate the risks that the banks could have when giving out loans.
Mrs. Bruce said the training would build the capacity of the banks when they realize the financial, environmental and social risks that projects could develop. She said by improving social and economic risks investments would receive a better return.
International environmental specialist, Ethan Myer, who presented at the training, said environmental risks are also tied in with financial risks.
He said that when doing assessments, environmental and health and safety risks need to be identified. He added that he is here to utilize plans for banks in the IBEX program.
Mr. Myer is expected to meet with the two Liberian banks to understand their current assessment procedures which would guide the development of an Environmental Compliance System for IBEX and the partner bank.
The system is expected to be used for environmental screening and management that apply to their USAID’s Development Credit Authority (DCA) backed portfolios.
IBEX works with banks to lower their risks for lending to small and medium enterprises in seven program sectors. These include agribusiness, clean renewable energy, infrastructure, construction, transportation/logistics, general merchandise/trade and hospitality.
For their part, participant Mohammed Dukuly from EcoBank Liberia said he hopes the training would help the bank to build sustainable management to make projects better while Edna Jennings from International Bank Liberia said that she would take what she would learn at the training to help make the bank better.