11 Oct 2023

Standard Bank Concludes First Nature Conservation Financing Loan in Africa


Standard Bank and Wilderness have successfully concluded their first principle-aligned nature conservation financing. An African market first, Standard Bank acted as Sustainability Structuring Agent and Sole Lender, providing tailored financing to assist and support Wilderness (previously Wilderness Safaris) accelerate entrance into new markets and ultimately assist in the conservation of larger areas of land.

Wilderness is an Africa-based conservation and hospitality company with a mission to protect, explore and expand the world’s wilderness though its innovative approach to conservation tourism. Their impact framework is built around three pillars, namely education, empowerment and protection

Keith Vincent, Wilderness CEO, says the nature conservation financing provided by Standard Bank contributes to the ethos of the organisation, whose strategy is to ensure the world, through sustainable conservation tourism, will always have a version of its iconic wild places that are unfenced, untamed and unpredictable.

“Our shared African vision and commitment to contributing to a sustainable continent (and ultimately planet) made Standard Bank the right partner for us. At Wilderness, our mission is to double the amount of land we help conserve in the next decade. We believe that, with the support of our guests, partners and greater collective, it is achievable. A vision we’ll never stop striving to achieve”, said Vincent.

Brydone Graham, Head of Corporate Financing Solutions at Standard Bank’s Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) division, noted, “Wilderness presents a particularly unique opportunity for Standard Bank to support a key partner in the conservation of our continent and drive its growth in a sustainable, inclusive manner”.

“Africa houses significant examples of the globe’s most valuable biodiversity. Protecting this biodiversity in a sustainable and inclusive manner for local communities is a cornerstone for a prosperous future for Africa as a whole”, he added.

In conclusion, Standard Bank’s Graham said, “Our unique and vast African footprint allows us to efficiently provide long-term, flexible funding across the continent, and when Wilderness approached us, we were ready to provide a solution to support its conservation ambitions. It’s part of our vision to not only encourage sustainable use of the environment, but to create intra-African business and economic integration too”.