Commercial banks in Kenya are working on floating the first ever Green Bond Market to fund
Banks, under the ambit of the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), are working to develop a and have partnered with Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) towards raising the country’s first bank-supported climate change-aligned corporate debt instruments in the next six to eight months, paving the way for Kenya to join its peers in the Continent in tapping the growing investor demand for green investments. According to Climate Bonds Initiative, the climate-aligned global bond market stands at USD 696 billion with green bonds making up 17 percent or USD 118 billion.
Speaking at a consultative forum between banks, NSE and the investment community, KBA CEO, Habil Olaka, said that there is goodwill from the respective stakeholders to float the first bank-supported green bond in the coming months.
“We have had advanced discussions with the NSE and Central Bank of Kenya, which resulted in various proposals to be explored. Now that we have industry support, we are able to develop the roadmap and capital raising strategy,” he said.
Already, the National Treasury and Capital Markets Authority have expressed willingness to align public and private sector efforts so as to position Kenya as the leading green bond market in East Africa.
The collaboration is in line with NSE’s commitment to develop sustainable capital markets through the United Nations-led Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative, which provides a framework for innovation within the capital markets, and is reinforced by the Sustainable Finance Initiative championed by KBA on behalf of the banking industry and broader financial services sector.
Speaking at the same event, the NSE Chief Executive, Mr. Geoffrey Odundo, said
“Following the recently concluded United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) executive dialogue on Green Finance held during the UNCTAD Conference, we have partnered with KBA to come up with a cooperative finance model which will see a credit-enhanced special purpose vehicle (SPV) formed by KBA. Also under consideration is the establishment of parallel programs at the bank level”.
He added that the Exchange will engage with the Capital Markets Authority on the proposed structure and requisite legislation to facilitate issuance of these instruments
The Kenya effort will be supported by, among other stakeholders, the Central Bank of Kenya, the Capital Markets Authority and the National Treasury and underpins Vision 2030, Kenya’s Green Economy Strategy and Implementation Plan, and the UN Sustainable Development Goal on Climate that calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts by the year 2030.
So far, banks operating in South Africa and Morocco are already tapping the green finance opportunities in partnership with local municipalities and development finance institutions. However, South Africa is leading in terms of green financing raised via the capital markets – primarily supported by the public sector.
The capital flows from the green bonds in Kenya will go towards funding bank clients that require finance for clean and sustainable development projects in the priority areas of energy, agriculture, transport, infrastructure, building and urban planning, and water and waste management. A special focus will also be put on banks’ small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) clients towards extending preferential rate capital to the segment.