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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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Customs Says No NIN, No Food as FG Begins Distribution of Seized Food Items

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Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has commenced the distribution of seized food items across the country, following a mandate from the federal government, in a bid to alleviate the economic hardships faced by Nigerians.

Customs Says No NIN, No Food as FG Begins Distribution of Seized Food Items

Beneficiaries would be required to provide a verifiable National Identification Number (NIN) to access the assistance.

Wale Adeniyi, customs comptroller-general, announced the initiative during a flag-off event in Lagos, highlighting the collaboration with other agencies to ensure direct distribution to those in need.

The distribution targets various segments of the population, including artisans, teachers, and religious organizations, with an emphasis on reducing food prices.

Adeniyi assured the public of the safety of the distributed rice, certified by NAFDAC, and outlined measures to prevent misuse or diversion.

The operation addresses food hoarding and smuggling, contributing to the government’s broader strategy to stabilize food prices and enhance national food security.

 

 

 


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Access Bank, FG Partner to Provide N50bn Funding for MSMEs

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Access Bank has said that it will be working with the Office of the Vice President to provide N50 billion as soft loans and grants to four million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), in the country.

Chioma Ogwo, Head, Emerging Businesses at Access Bank Plc, disclosed this at the Inaugural Job Creation and MSME Quarterly Communications Forum in Abuja on Thursday.

Ogwo said the initiative was aimed at empowering businesses in Nigeria, by building their capacities and providing them with financial support.

According to her, 4 million MSMEs are expected to be empowered every year for four years, with 70,000 having access to finance while 300,000 will receive training.

She also mentioned that as part of the initiative, selected SMEs will have the chance to travel overseas and observe how businesses operate in other nations through its Business Exchange Programme.

Ogwo said: “So, this initiative, called the Youth Thrive by Access, is focused on MSMEs and we are looking at empowering them. There are different ways in which we are going to empower them. We are going to empower them by building their capacity and giving them access to affordable finance.

“We are going to build their capacities in different ways. There is going to be digital, technical, and also, skill acquisition training. With regards to finance, we are going to be giving them loans, and we are also going to be giving them grants.

“The grants are free. They are not paying us back. But, we are only giving grants to deserving SMEs who have done very well and there are price ranges for different categories.

“So, we have earmarked 50 billion for this intervention. For the first year, we will look at it and then will would review it”

While praising Access Bank for the initiative, Mr. Temitola Adekunle-Johnson, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation and MSMEs, Office of the Vice-President, stated that the objective was to remove obstacles to MSMEs’ loan access and to secure lower interest rates for them.

Johnson added that after evaluating the initiative’s effectiveness, the federal government would then consider whether to expand the funding.

According to him, “What we are trying to achieve is to be able to guarantee seamless and easy access to funding for the SMEs. We want businesses to be able to apply for funding and be sure that in the worst case, in 14 days, you have the funds that you need for your business.

“We do not want businesses to apply for loans and be waiting for disbursement in six weeks. Some of these businesses can fold up within those months. So, what we want, and what they have promised us, which we know they have the capacity to deliver on, is that this disbursements will be quick after the loan assessments are processed, so that we will help reduce the bottlenecks of MSMEs running from pillar to looking for funding.”


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MoneyMaster PSB Records Increase in Customer Base

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MoneyMaster Payment Service Bank, promoted and backed by digital services company Globacom has continued to witness tremendous increase in its customer base since it commenced operations.

The PSB which launched commercial operations in May 2022 in order to deepen financial inclusion in Nigeria is focused on the unbanked and under-banked in the country.

The number of customers has been on increase with majority of them attracted by the bank’s digital channels such as USSD, mobile app and internet banking which allow them to open accounts, buy airtime and data, pay utility bills and perform other services hitch free.

The PSB has also embarked several innovations, with new services introduced in recent times for the benefit of its customers across the country.

These developments, industry sources said propelled Nigerians to join the bank in order to enjoy series of top – notch financial services and also conduct their banking transactions assurance promptly.

The sources disclosed further that “There are currently over 4,000 billers on the MMPSB platform and that the number is growing on a daily basis.

“Through the platform, customers are able to pay for many essential services such as airtime, data, electricity, cable subscription, etc”.

The PSB is also retooling and reengineering its operation with several new initiatives to be unveiled soon for better customer experience, thus assuring them of exciting times ahead.


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