Regulator approves Kenya’s first green bond

Kenyan investors will soon begin trading in green bonds.

This is after the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) yesterday gave the nod for the issuance of the country’s first unlisted green bond.

The bond will be listed by investment firm Acorn and is structured as a restricted public offer. “The green bond seeks to raise Sh5 billion to finance sustainable and climate-resilient student accommodation,” said CMA Chief Executive Paul Muthaura in a notice.

“Being a restricted public offer, the issuer will raise the funds from only targeted sophisticated investors.”

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Green bonds are security instruments aimed at facilitating investors to raise funds towards projects that are environmentally friendly, including renewable energy and eco-friendly transport grids.

The green bond market globally has grown tremendously with issuances totaling $155.5 billion (Sh16 trillion) in 2017 and an estimated $250-$300 billion (Sh25.7-31 trillion) last year.

Donor agencies

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Kenya launched its green energy programme in 2017, with the Government initially setting the 2018/2019 financial year for the first publicly traded green energy bond.

The Government together with the Kenya Bankers Association, Central Bank of Kenya, Nairobi Securities Exchange, Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Kenya and a host of other donor agencies last year released the Green Bonds Kenya Annual Report.

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“The issuance is a critical step in advancing the development of an effective ecosystem to support the establishment of green capital markets in Kenya in line with the Marrakech Pledge 2016, now that the necessary legal instruments are in place to facilitate such issuances,” said Mr Muthaura.

As per the issuer’s information memorandum, the fixed-rate bond is certified as a green bond by Climate Bonds Initiative. Investors participating in the bond will benefit from a 50 per cent guarantee from credit guarantees provider Guarantco on principle and interest payments.

CMA said the country’s gradual shift towards renewable energy provides a boon for investors.

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