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IFC Partners EDF to Promote Rural Electrification in Africa

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IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and EDF, a global leader in the power sector, have signed an agreement to cooperate in developing off-grid electrification solutions in emerging markets, with the ultimate goal of  serving up to half a million people living in rural areas, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa. 

The agreement is focused primarily on sub-Saharan Africa, with a pilot project under development in Benin. The first phase of this pilot is intended to provide electricity to 25 000 people, using hybrid solar-diesel networks and two biomass-fired power plants. The project may be replicated in other parts of Benin, as well as other countries such as Mozambique, Tanzania and Myanmar. 

In signing this agreement, EDF and IFC expect to combine their expertise in order to develop cutting edge, affordable and sustainable solutions for rural electrification.

The scope of cooperation between EDF and IFC includes seeking  sources of financing to support potential projects, sharing sector expertise between the two institutions, and where necessary, exploring sustainable co-investment opportunities, for example thorough the creation of a joint investment vehicle to finance eligible projects in the target countries. 

Bertrand Heysch de la Borde, Senior Manager for Infrastructure in Africa at IFC said, “Almost 1.3 billion people live without access to electricity in the world. Bringing power to these people is a major challenge that we must address. IFC is proud to partner with Groupe EDF, a global leader in energy and a valued partner for IFC in achieving this goal.”

IFC is particularly active in rural electrification through its Lighting Africa initiative, (providing off-grid lighting to almost 7 million people); its investments in rural electrification in Senegal; and indirectly, through investments and financings in the power sector globally (about $2 billion in financing has been mobilized in the sub-Saharan Africa power sector over the past three fiscal years alone). 

Edouard Dahomé, EDF director for Africa and access to energy, said, “Electricity is a vital product without which no real development is possible.  Access to energy for rural populations, who are more often the most disadvantaged ones, allows poverty reduction by developing income-generating activities, while also promoting education, health, access to water, etc. The partnership between EDF and the IFC will reinforce and further develop EDF’s engagement in this area which has been underway for more than 20 years.” 

EDF, a global power sector leader, has solid experience in rural electrification, primarily in Africa.

Through the Access to Energy program, EDC has delivered electricity to over 500,000 people in Mali, Morocco, Senegal, Botswana and South Africa.

EDF has developed an innovative model based on partnering systematically with a local partner and setting up Decentralized Services Companies.

EDF is thus providing low-income households sustainable energy access solutions that are adapted to local constraints and needs, while integrating itself in the socio-economic fabric of the program’s target region.  


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SEC Insists on Full Disclosures despite Covid-19

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Securities and Exchange Commission, (SEC) has reiterated that all public companies must continue to make appropriate disclosures regardless of the movement restrictions in Abuja and Lagos.

SEC Insists on Full Disclosures despite Covid-19

According to the SEC, in light of the global pandemic of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and in furtherance to the Commission’s circular of March 24, the Commission provided additional guidance to the Capital Market.

It said, “All public companies are required to continue to make material disclosures to investors on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on their business operations.”

“They should also continue to disclose the trend and outlook for the company, and updates on implementation of business continuity plans. Public companies are to publish these disclosures on their websites and on other relevant media” it further stated.

SEC further stated that “Public companies who plan to conduct AGMs are required to ensure that the conduct of the meetings comply with the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, the Investments and Securities Act, the SEC Rules and Regulations, relevant government and health circulars and guidelines issued in this regard.”

SEC said debt issuers are also expected to continue to engage Trustees to ensure that relevant disclosures are provided. Trustees are required to provide updates to the Commission accordingly.

The Commission enjoined all CMOs to continue to monitor the real and potential risks COVID-19 may have on their business operations and the discharge of services to investors and clients, stating that for further guidance, the Commission may be contacted through the dedicated email addresses for filing CMOs returns.


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AfDB Celebrates Milestone with First Social Bond Listing on London Stock Exchange

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The African Development Bank’s “Fight Covid-19” social bond, the largest social bond to date to be issued in the capital markets, listed on London Stock Exchange on Friday 3 April 2020, and is now available through its Sustainable Bond Market.

The listing marks an important milestone as the Bank launches its first bond on London Stock Exchange.

The over-subscribed transaction, which attracted $4.6 billion of interest in the book and raised an exceptional $3 billion, was launched to alleviate the impact of Covid-19 on Africa’s economies and livelihoods.

The three-year maturity bond garnered interest from central banks and official institutions, bank treasuries and asset managers including Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) investors.

Several high-quality ESG investors actively supported this remarkable transaction, including Affirmative Investment Management (UK), Breckinridge, Columbia Threadneedle (USA), the Government Pension Investment Fund, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Pension Boards – United Church of Christ, PineBridge Investments, Praxis Impact Bond Fund, TIAA/Nuveen and the United Nations Development Program.

“The international community must work together to successfully tackle the coronavirus pandemic. The UK, along with partners like the African Development Bank and London Stock Exchange Group, is supporting the most vulnerable countries to invest in their own health systems and avoid economic hardship,” International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said about the listing.

“While we invest in areas like vaccine research to help end the pandemic sooner, this private investment through the AfDB, and our support for emergency lending through the IMF, will also help limit its impact on the global economy,” Trevelyan further noted.

The London Stock Exchange, at the heart of London’s vibrant financial hub, is championing forward-looking initiatives aimed at deepening and diversifying the market. Its dedicated Sustainable Bond Market (SBM) draws innovative issuers and improves access, flexibility and transparency for investors.

Eligible social or sustainability bonds with use of proceeds aligned to mitigating the impact of Covid-19 will be admitted on the exchange with admission fees waived for an initial period of three-months, London Stock Exchange has announced.

Such social and sustainability bonds fund essential services such as healthcare, water and sanitation, supporting employment, or with a link to the relevant UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Nikhil Rathi, CEO, London Stock Exchange plc and Group Director of International Development, said: “We welcome the first bond from African Development Bank to list on our market and support them in their vital efforts to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 across Africa. This bond highlights the important role that social and sustainability bonds can play in directing funding to those countries, sectors and people across the world heavily impacted by this pandemic.”

The Bank established its Social Bond framework in 2017 and raised the equivalent of $5 billion through issuances denominated in US dollars, Euro and Norwegian krone.

The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, said: “We are proud to announce that our first listing on London Stock Exchange is a social bond. This is only the beginning of a stronger partnership between the African Development Bank and London Stock Exchange. We will mobilize all we can on the capital market to fight the coronavirus in Africa.”

The Bank’s previous activity in the social bond market has seen financing to build hospital capacity, boost access to health and healthcare services, strengthen health systems, provide improved access to water and sanitation, and create jobs across the continent.

Commenting on the listing, Martin Scheck, CEO of The International Capital Market Association or ICMA, said: “We believe Social and Sustainability Bonds can provide an immediately actionable channel for the market to finance projects that directly contribute to alleviating the social and economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis.”

Swazi Tshabalala, Acting Senior Vice President, African Development Bank Group, said: “The African Development Bank is at the forefront of helping African countries fight this pandemic with innovative financing solutions. We welcome this partnership with London Stock Exchange which will help us expand the horizon of investors that are interested and committed to Africa’s sustainable development.”

Hassatou N’Sele, Treasurer, African Development Bank Group, said: “We appreciate the partnership with London Stock Exchange as we strive together to move the African continent forward. Today more than ever, Africa and the world need to stand as one to ride out the Covid-19 crisis.”


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NAICOM Urges Insurance Firms to Maintain Sanctity of Policy Contracts During Restrictions

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The National Insurance Commission, NAICOM, has directed insurance firms in the country to maintain sanctity of insurance contracts entered into with clients.

In a circular titled RE:  EFFECT OF COVID-19 ON INSURANCE OPERATIONS:  referenced NAICOM/DPR/CIR/27/2020 and  NAICOM/DPR/CIR/28/2020  dated  24  and  27 March 2020 respectively, the regulator granted firms some measure of leeway as part of business continuity measures and to, as much as possible, ensure availability of insurance services and protections of insurance policy holders during the COVID-19 movement restriction.

The NAICOM in the circular granted that Where Approval-In-Principle for the preceding insurance period had been granted, all renewals or extensions of the foreign reinsurance proportions that become due during COVID-19 movement restriction are permitted for renewal on existing basis.

It also said that where  Approval-In-Principle  for  the  foreign  proportion  of  a  new  insurance placement is required during the COVID-19 movement restriction, it shall be treated on the basis of “Use and File” subject to prior exhaustion of in-country capacity, adding that for the avoidance of doubt, after utilizing available local capacity, the lead insurer is permitted  to  reinsure  the  excess  of  the  risk  offshore  and  submit  relevant documentations to the Commission thereafter.

Also granted is that all Post Placement Reports, Reinsurance Treaties and other related special risk foreign reinsurance documentations due for submission during the pendency of theCOVID-19 restrictions are to be submitted when movement restrictions are lifted.

The regulator in the document signed by Pius T. Agboola, Director, Policy and Regulation, also noted that all insurance/reinsurance placements shall be done in accordance with other relevant extant insurance laws, regulations and guidelines while all submissions to the Commission including hard-copies sequel to the above forbearance shall be donenot later seven (7) days from the end of COVID-19 Movement Restrictions.

It advised firms to be diligent, circumspect and supportive of Government in its efforts to tame the COVID-19 Pandemic.


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