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Bringing unbanked people onto the financial grid via digital services – COP27
Naspers’ businesses are low carbon intense as they are underpinned by digital transition, which is the future of the green economy. For example, there are a billion unbanked people in the world. If we had to bring these unbanked people onto the financial grid via traditional brick-and-mortar, old-style financial services, it would be devastating for the environment. By bringing them onto the grid via digital services, we are able to reduce the impact on the environment of the delivery part of the service and reduce the environmental impact of every end consumer able to access their financial needs online. Prajna Khanna, Global Head of Sustainability, Vice President at Prosus Group and Naspers Limited, at COP27.
Excerpts from the interview with Prajna Khanna
How Africa could leapfrog to green finance mechanisms
We are very lucky, from the Naspers’ perspective, that the businesses we are running are low carbon intense. They are the digital transition, which is the future of our green economies. To give you an example, there are a billion unbanked people in the world, and if we had to bring these unbanked people onto the financial grid in all brick-and-mortar banking, old economy-style financial services, it would be devastating for the environment by bringing them onto the grid. So, digital services would be inclusive, but also reduce the impact of not only the delivery part of the service, but also every consumer who is accessing their financial needs online. That is across all the digital platforms that we run. From our perspective, we are able to leapfrog from that to even more greening of our operations and our businesses.
Every actor to contribute towards the decarbonisation of society together
Every actor in society has to do their role. We all have to contribute towards the decarbonisation of society together. For us, the journey will be to carry each of our businesses with us because our portfolio is very large, primarily in the Global South, and enable them to define their pathways individually. A food delivery business will have a completely different lifestyle than a fintech or an education business. So, really helping each of the businesses on their decarbonisation strategies and helping each of them to set their science-based targets.
The decarbonisation themed focus strategy at COP27
Absolutely, because it really focuses on all the enabling elements in the ecosystem that we need, whether it’s finance or decarbonisation. Zoom in on what the barriers are, what the enablers are, how we can bring all our resources towards making a quantum leap towards the solutions we are searching for together. Decarbonisation underpins that it is the solution. It is going to be what will limit that 1.5-degree global warming.
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