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IFC Issues $1.5B Social Bond to Support Low Income Communities in Emerging Markets

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IFC issued a three-year social bond, raising $1.5 billion to support low-income communities in emerging markets. The transaction represents IFC’s largest ever social bond, with its largest ever order book. It is also the largest US dollar social bond issued by a supranational this year.

This is IFC’s first US dollar denominated social bond benchmark in 2023, complementing the organization’s Canadian dollar and Australian dollar social bond benchmarks issued earlier this year.

“We are seeing tremendous demand from investors for our social bonds. With order books of over $6 billion, and robust interest from quality investors, this issuance was no exception,” said Tom Ceusters, Director, Treasury Market Operations at IFC. “The bond will unlock additional funding support for marginalized and vulnerable communities in developing countries across the globe.”

BNP Paribas, TD Securities and Wells Fargo acted as joint lead managers for the transaction.

“BNP Paribas is pleased to bring IFC back to the US dollar benchmark market with its largest ever social bond which gathered an unprecedented volume of demand for the issuer.

“The transaction illustrates the prominent role that IFC plays not only in financing social projects but also in shaping and further developing this market for others to follow on solid footsteps,” said Nathaniel Timbrell-Whittle, Global Head of SSA Syndicate, BNP Paribas.

“Congratulations to the entire IFC team on an exceptional outcome on today’s US dollar benchmark transaction! Gathering one of the largest ever US dollar orderbooks for IFC, at this point in the calendar year, this is clear evidence of IFC’s strong and established standing in the SSA community. TD is delighted to be a joint lead manager on this transaction,” said Laura O’Connor, Managing Director, Head of UK DCM, TD Securities.

“Congratulations to the IFC team! No better way to close the calendar year, than with a truly phenomenal US dollar ‘social bond’ benchmark. Transaction garnered an impressive $6.7 billion orderbook with high quality orders across all regions allowing IFC to tighten guidance by 2bps to MS+33bps, equivalent to +8.2bps over the three-year US Treasury, the tightest UST spread in record this year for any SSA transaction in this tenor.

“Also, solid participation from official money and social-specific investors. IFC has definitively showed the market what they are made of,” said Carlos Perezgrovas, Head of SSA Origination, Wells Fargo Securities.

The proceeds of the bond will be allocated to a designated sub-portfolio linked to lending operations for social bond eligible projects.

IFC’s Social Bond Program, launched in 2017, offers bond investors an opportunity to allocate investments to the achievement of certain SDGs and achieve positive social outcomes without any additional credit risk than that of IFC as a triple-A rated issuer.

Proceeds from the bonds fund a diverse range of social projects which include: affordable basic infrastructure (e.g. clean drinking water, sewers, sanitation, transport, energy); access to essential services (e.g. education and vocational training, healthcare, financing and financial services); affordable housing; women-owned medium small and medium sized businesses who lack access to finance; and companies that incorporate people at the “base of the economic pyramid” into their value chain; as well as food security.

IFC is a frequent issuer of social bonds in public and private markets, in various currencies and tenors. The Social Bond Program aligns with the Social Bond Principles published by the International Capital Market Association (ICMA).

Since launching its Social Bond Program in 2017, IFC has issued over $8 billion through 92 social bonds and taps in 14 currencies.

 


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Court Dismisses Base Stations Lawsuit Against ATC, MTN

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ATC Nigeria, a subsidiary of American Tower Corporation, and MTN Nigeria scored a major victory in court last week over constructing or operating base transceiver stations “within close proximity” to stations owned by IHS Towers Nigeria.

The lawsuit against the two had been filed by non-profit organisation, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) Resource Centre, in November 2023.

Additionally, HEDA also filed a contempt of court case against ATC Nigeria’s CEO, Errol Ambler-Smith, seeking his arrest, which HEDA later withdrew.

ATC Nigeria announced that on Friday, June 21, 2024, the court struck out HEDA’s suit against ATC Nigeria and MTN Nigeria on the grounds that it was speculative and failed to disclose any reasonable cause of action.

American Tower said it has “always been and remains committed to upholding” the highest standards of legal compliance and operational integrity in all its activities.

“We are pleased that the court recognised the speculative nature of HEDA’s lawsuit, and we are hopeful that this outcome will send a message to other similar potential speculative lawsuits. We appreciate the support and understanding of all our stakeholders as we continue to invest in, and provide critical infrastructure for, Nigeria’s telecommunications industry,” ATC Nigeria said in a statement.


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Airtel Boosts Sickle Cell Awareness with CrimsonBow Initiative Collaboration

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In commemoration of this year’s World Sickle Cell Day, Airtel Nigeria partnered with the CrimsonBow Sickle Cell Initiative to host a well-attended sickle cell awareness and clinic over the weekend, at Dansol Primary School, Ikeja, Lagos.

The event which aimed at improving sickle cell education and supporting individuals living with sickle cell disease, featured free counselling for sickle cell patients, free medical testing, drug dispensing, and sensitization sessions to educate the public about the sickle cell disease.

Through the partnership, much-needed support and resources were provided to affected individuals while promoting early detection and proper management of the condition.

Commenting on the involvement of Airtel in the program, Chief Commercial Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Femi Oshinlaja, emphasized Airtel’s dedication to good health as part of the telecommunication company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goals.

“We are proud to partner with CrimsonBow Sickle Cell Initiative in this important endeavour, as it reflects our commitment to corporate social responsibility and improving community health outcomes. The goal of this partnership is to provide crucial support to individuals living with sickle cell disease and to help raise awareness about the condition.

“Through this partnership, we strongly hope to make a positive impact on the lives of those affected,” he said.

Speaking at the event, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, CrimsonBow Sickle Cell Initiative, Timi Edwin, expressed gratitude to Airtel. In her remarks, “This partnership with Airtel Nigeria allows us to extend our reach and provide essential services to more individuals living with sickle cell disease. We appreciate Airtel Nigeria for their support in making this event possible.”

Airtel Nigeria has continued to reinforce its position as an organization committed to the well-being of the society through various corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Asides initiative partnerships like this to combat the challenges faced by individuals living with sickle cell disease, they continue to make strides under several CSR initiatives, contributing to the overall effort to enhance the general wellness of Nigerians.

 


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Tinubu appoints Tunji Bello as CEO of FCCPC

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President Bola Tinubu has appointed Olatunji Bello as the new Chief Executive Officer/Executive Vice-Chairman of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, who disclosed this in a statement on Monday, noted that the appointment is pending confirmation by the Senate.

He said that the President expects that the new Chief Executive Officer of this important agency will ensure the holistic realization of the Commission’s mandate of protecting and promoting the interest and welfare of Nigerian consumers and ensuring the adoption of measures to guarantee the safety and quality of goods and services.

Bello, who is a lawyer, administrator, and renowned journalist, is the former secretary to the Lagos State Government and holds a Master’s degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the University of Lagos.

“He studied Law at the same university and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2002,” the statement read.

“Bello began his career in journalism at the Concord Newspapers in 1985 and held the positions of Group Political Editor; Sunday Concord Editor, and Editor, National Concord.

“He is a winner of the US Alfred Friendly Press Fellowship and was appointed the Chairman, Editorial Board of THISDAY Newspapers in 2001.

“He also served as Commissioner for Environment under various administrations in Lagos State.


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