By Adedapo Adesanya
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has been selected as the best bond issuer in 2020 of a COVID-19 bond for its $3 billion Fight COVID-19 social bond issued in March.
The bank made this known in a statement released on Friday through Mr Olufemi Terry of the Communication and External Relations Department of the bank.
According to the statement, the winners of the GobalCapital Bond Awards 2020 were announced on September 30 at a ceremony held virtually for the first time in 12 years.
Speaking on this, Ms Bajabulile Swazi Tshabalala, the bank’s Senior Vice President and Chief Finance Officer noted, “We are grateful for the market’s recognition of the Bank’s effort in responding quickly to the needs of the continent with its Fight COVID-19 Social Bond which is an important instrument in alleviating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on African economies and lives.”
“Thanks to the very strong support received by investors, we were able to provide an efficient response at a very challenging time while also catering to the needs of socially responsible investors looking for impactful investments,” she added.
The Fight COVID-19 bond, floated on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and significantly oversubscribed, was the world’s largest social bond at the time of issuance.
The bank has since listed the bond on both the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and Nasdaq. Bond proceeds, with a three-year maturity, will go to alleviate the impact of the pandemic on livelihoods and Africa’s economies.
Also commenting, Ms Hassatou N’Sele, Treasurer of the bank added, “The African Development Bank is proud of the success of its landmark “Fight COVID-19 Social Bond”, launched to help alleviate the impact of the pandemic on people’s lives and livelihood.
“This transaction, the largest social bond at the time of issuance, reflects investors’ confidence in the bank’s Social Bond framework, and its capacity to deliver. We were among the pioneers in the Social Bond market, and would like to thank all our partners, including the arrangers and investors, for their continued trust and support and share this award and success with them.”
This is not the first of such recognition, in March 2020, it received the Environmental Finance’s 2020 bond of the year award—SSA category— for a successful one billion Norwegian krone (NOK) social bond issued in 2019. It was the first social bond ever launched in the Norwegian market, and the Bank’s first transaction in Norwegian Krone.
In 2018, the bank was recognized as the second most impressive social or sustainability bond issuer at the Global Capital Socially Responsible Investments Awards. Since 2017, the Bank has launched nearly $5 billion worth of such instruments denominated in US dollars, euros and Norwegian krone.
AfDB is rated AAA by all the major rating agencies. In late 2019, the Board of Governors of the Bank Group approved a 125 per cent increase in the General Capital of the Bank, raising its capital from $93 billion to $208 billion, the largest increase in the institution’s history.
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