Kenya to issue first green bond following rules approval

It is estimated that Kenya requires about Sh2.4 trillion to support green economic activities

Two unnamed financial institutions have lined up to issue Kenya’s first green bond, the country’s banking sector lobby disclosed, even as regulators approved the legal framework to issue the listed and unlisted financial instruments at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE).

The procedure for financial instruments listing for climate-friendly  projects on the NSE have been approved by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) and is expected to pave the way for their issuance.

“The approval of the amendments to our listing rules to facilitate  issuance of green bonds will enable the NSE offer local and  international issuers additional source of green financing, improve investor diversification as well as enhance issuer reputation thus leading to growth in our market,” says, NSE Chief Executive, Geoffrey Odundo.

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According to Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) director of public affairs, Nuru Mugambi, the two unnamed Kenyan banks are firming up plans to issue the special bonds to raise money in the war on climate  change.

Kenya is estimated to require about Sh2.4 trillion to support green economic activities in areas such as afforestation, renewable energy and public transport.

Nigeria in December 2017 became the first country on the continent to tap into the globally popular instrument, raising $30 million (Sh3.03  billion) to fund renewable energy and afforestation projects.Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) governor, Patrick Njoroge says the green bonds would help diversify Kenya’s capital markets and also provide lenders with opportunities to fund green initiatives.

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Like other African countries, Kenya seeks to raise billions of dollars  to invest in infrastructure projects including roads, water and irrigation, railways and power generation.Institutions supporting the green bond initiative include the CBK, the CMA and the National Treasury.

“Green instruments will play an important but niche role in driving the growth of Kenya’s capital markets,” said CMA Chief Executive, Paul Muthaura. Climate Bond Initiatives data show the size of global green bond  market nearly doubled in 2017 to $155 billion (Sh15.66 trillion) from about $87.2 billion (Sh8.81 trillion) in 2016, as countries race to  mitigate global warming in line with the Paris Agreement of December 2015.

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