Egypt issues first green bonds in MENA

Egypt issues first green bonds in MENA
Green bonds are debt instruments to obtain financing for projects related to the climate or environment. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 29 September 2020

Egypt issues first green bonds in MENA

Egypt issues first green bonds in MENA
  • Egypt has a portfolio of eligible green projects worth $1.9 billion

CAIRO: Egypt on Tuesday issued its first-ever green sovereign bonds, the first in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), as part of its efforts to implement renewable energy projects to combat pollution.
Green bonds are debt instruments to obtain financing for projects related to the climate or environment, according to a statement by Egypt’s Finance Ministry.
The state used Credit Agricole, CIB and HSBC Holding banks as structural advisors. Citigroup, Credit Agricole, Deutsche and HSBC banks were hired as joint managers for the offering.
Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said offering the green sovereign bonds in global markets will raise foreign investors’ confidence in Egypt’s economy, support its current and future growth, attract investors interested in environmental and financial returns, and improve the country’s environmental rating.
Egypt has a portfolio of eligible green projects worth $1.9 billion, 16 percent of which are in renewable energy, 19 percent for clean transportation, 26 percent for sustainable water and wastewater management, and 39 percent for pollution reduction and control.
Maait said Vigeo Eiris, an entity affiliated with American financial services company Moody’s, conducted the independent review and evaluation, in line with Egypt’s strategic sustainability priorities.
“We obtained a strong second party’s opinion on the quality of eligible environment-friendly projects,” he added. 
Maait said the proceeds from the green bonds will be used to finance projects that reflect Egypt’s commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Marina Weiss, regional director of the World Bank in Egypt, said the bank is ready to share knowledge and experience with the government, and to provide technical assistance for post-issuance allocation and preparation of the necessary annual reports.
Varnam Pedgoli, head of sustainable bonds at HSBC, and Antoine Rose, head of sustainable banking at Credit Agricole, said Egypt’s framework for green bonds is in line with the principles of green bonds of the International Capital Markets Association, as it includes the procedures followed to ensure transparency while maintaining international best practices.
Economist Abdul-Rahman Taha said the green economy is a global trend that will have a positive impact on Egypt’s budget and increase the volume of foreign investment.
He added that he expects green bonds to become widely popular in Egypt.