AfDB wins global award for ‘Fight COVID-19 Social Bond’

In a poll of bond market players, the African Development Bank has emerged as the best issuer in 2020 of a COVID-19 bond for its $3bn-denominated Fight COVID-19 Social Bond issued on March 27, 2020.

Held for the first time in 12 years, the winners of the GobalCapital Bond Awards 2020 were announced on Wednesday.

GlobalCapital is a leading source of information on global capital markets with coverage of all market segments.

In a statement by AfDB on Friday, Bajabulile Swazi Tshabalala, the bank’s Senior Vice President and Chief Finance Officer, said, “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.”

The Fight COVID-19 bond, floated on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and 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 and Nasdaq.

Bond proceeds, with a three-year maturity, will go to alleviate the impact of the pandemic on livelihoods and Africa’s economies.

“The primary debt capital markets’ response to the coronavirus crisis has been resilient and robust. Institutions all over the world from governments and multilateral development banks, to domestic lenders, to companies have raised vital financing to see them through this extraordinary period,” GlobalCapital noted in its winners’ announcement release.

The bond issue is part of a suite of interventions the bank has rolled out to strengthen African countries’ responses to health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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,” said Hassatou N’Sele, Treasurer of the bank.

It would be recalled that in late 2019, AfDB’s Board of Governors approved a 125 per cent increase in the general capital of the bank, raising its capital from $93bn to $208bn, the largest increase in the institution’s history.

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