Green energy: Fund to issue Kenyans with Sh1.5b bond

A non-profit organisation plans to issue a $15 million (Sh1.5 billion) bond this year to fund Kenyan water utilities.

Robert Bunyi, chief executive officer of the Kenya Pooled Water Fund, said yesterday it will be launching a 15-year instrument and have it certified as a green bond.

Like other African nations, Kenya requires billions of dollars in the coming years to invest in infrastructure projects like roads, water and irrigation, railways and power generation

Proceeds from green bonds would help finance projects in renewable energy, green transport, energy-efficiency and wastewater treatment.

“We want to issue the bond in the second-half of the year,” Bunyi told Reuters, adding the bond could come in October after it had secured regulatory approval.

It will be targeted at Kenyan institutional investors such as pension funds and insurance companies. An estimated five to 10 billion shillings could be raised from such bonds each year, Bunyi said.

Cut borrowing

Kenya’s government has stepped up borrowing in recent years to invest in such projects, prompting criticism from anti-debt campaigners and markets.

Officials have pledged to cut borrowing and rely on private investors for future infrastructure projects.

In its 2018/19 (July-June) budget, Kenya allocated Sh28.23 billion to water and sewerage infrastructure development, and the figure is expected to be Sh28.40 billion in the 2019/2020 financial year.

Kenya Pooled Water Fund is a collaboration between the Kenyan and Dutch governments. It also gets support from the Swedish aid agency, SIDA, the World Bank, United Kingdom’s DfID and the United States Aid Agency (USAid).

The fund was formally registered in November, but it had been working on the bond plan for three years, Bunyi said, adding that once it takes off in Kenya, it will be replicated elsewhere.