A panel of independent Social and Sustainability Bond Investors has awarded the African Development Bank (AfDB) the 2020 Environmental Finance award.
The 30-man panel, comprising of the world’s largest green social and sustainability bond investors, gave the AfDB the award for its successful one billion Norwegian krone (NOK) social bond issued in 2019. The AfDB is rated AAA by all four major credit rating agencies, with a stable outlook.
Christopher Flensborg, Head of Climate & Sustainable Finance in Large Corporates & Financial Institutions at Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken, a Swedish financial group, said:
“It is inspiring to observe how the African Development Bank sources global capital to finance, lead and develop a strong platform for inclusive and environmental growth across Africa.
“We know from many of our investors that the ability to participate in Africa through AfDB’s triple-A rating is highly appreciated and we look forward to many more transactions like this.”
The AfDB bond issue was the first social bond ever launched in the Norwegian market, and the bank’s first transaction in NOK.
It was launched in April 2019, as part of a dual-tranche social bond and green bond, placed on the Norwegian and Swedish markets. The dual transaction drew strong interest from dedicated socially responsible investor portfolios as well as those who strongly weight environmental, social and governance considerations in their investment strategies.
The proceeds from this social bond issuance are being directed toward poverty reduction, job creation, and inclusive growth. Since 2017, the bank has launched nearly $5 billion worth of such instruments denominated in US dollars, euros and Norwegian krone.
In 2018, the bank was recognized as “Second most impressive social or sustainability bond issuer” at the Global Capital Socially Responsible Investments Awards.
Meanwhile, the Environmental Finance 2020 bond award followed the 27 March announcement that the bank had raised a record $3 billion from its Fight COVID-19 social bond, the proceeds of which will fund public and private efforts to tackle the viral pandemic in Africa. Fight COVID-19 is the largest social bond ever issued in capital markets.
Bajabulile Tshabalala, acting Senior Vice President of the African Development Bank said, “We are honoured to receive this recognition for this first-ever issued social bond in the Norwegian market.
“This NOK issue reinforces the Bank’s High 5 operational focus which is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals. Our Social bond framework allows us to attract investors whose interests are aligned with those of our development mandate.”
Hassatou Diop N’Sele, treasurer of the African Development Bank Group also said, “We are delighted to be honoured by market leaders as we devote our efforts towards the economic and social development of the African continent.
The mission of the African Development Bank is to combat poverty and improve lives and social bonds allow us to showcase the impact of our social projects in Africa.”