Going Green — The Growing Popularity of Green Bonds in Africa
Much has been made of ways in which Africa may contribute or even lead the clean energy revolution, and green bonds just may be the answer.
As a sustainable and clean energy advocate, I’m very interested in the methods different countries adopt towards universal access to affordable and clean energy, especially the seemingly unconventional means.
UNDPs SDG Financing Solutions defines green bonds as “innovative financial instruments where the proceeds are invested exclusively in green projects that generate climate or other environmental benefits, for example in renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable waste management, sustainable land use (forestry and agriculture), biodiversity, clean transportation and clean water.” Their structure, risk and returns are otherwise identical to those of traditional bonds, with the eligibility criteria being determined by the International Capital Market Association’s Green Bond Principles and the Climate Bonds Initiative’s (CBI) Climate Bond Standards.
The journey to the first green bond began in 2007 when the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change published a report linking human action to global warming. This galvanized the World Bank, the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO), Swedish pension funds and their bank, SEB, to establish a process for bond markets to solve this crisis. Following the determination of a set of eligibility criteria, between 2007 and 2008, the European Investment Bank and the World Bank successfully issued the first green bonds.
Africa has been on a collision course to be hit hardest by climate change, with a significant number of the population still entirely dependent on fossil fuels. An African Development Bank report, “The Cost of Adaptation to Climate Change in Africa”, states that “the cost of climate change adaptation in Africa has been estimated in the range of US$20–30 billion per annum over the next 10 to 20 years”. The issuance of green bonds is therefore being looked upon as a means by which this fallout may be mitigated.
A growing number of countries and institutions have therefore already issued or are planning to issue green bonds. This presents a significant change to the sustainable finance…