Corporate NewsKenya’s first green bond Cross Lists on the London Stock Exchange

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta rings the opening bell at the London Stock Exchange on January 20th,2020.

Acorn Holdings this morning cross-listed their green bond on the London Stock Exchange, barely a week after the bond went public at the Nairobi Securities Exchange. President Kenyatta today rang the bell to kick off the trading of Kenya’s first green bond at the London Stock Exchange (LSE). Speaking during the launch, he urged UK investors to use Kenya as a gateway to investing in Africa and as a bridge to the emerging market of more than 1.2 billion people created by the African Continental Free Trade Area.

“Kenya is one of the top ten fastest growing economies on the continent and also one of the most pro-business nations in Africa,” President Kenyatta said. The President is in London to attend the UK–Africa Investment Summit.

The $40 million (Kes 4.3 billion shillings), Kenya’s first green bond, started trading today at the LSE and becomes the first Kenya shilling corporate green bond to be listed in the United Kingdom. The bond, which was first listed at the Nairobi Stock Exchange last week, will help Acorn Holdings raise funds to build environmentally friendly accommodation for 50,000 university students in Nairobi.

The Cross-Listing was made easier through an MoU that was signed by the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) and the London Stock Exchange to work with Kenyan companies to help them expand their footprint by jointly listing on the bourse in Nairobi and in London.

“I note that to date the LSE has admitted over 200 bonds from across the world, raising over 33 billion Pound Sterling worth of capital for sustainable development,” he pointed out.

Secretary of State for International Development, Rt. Honourable Alok Sharma, said one of the reasons the green bond was happening was because of the support the UK government has provided in terms of the regulation environment and the partial guarantees for investors.

“This is a landmark moment here as well as in the whole of London for we are here today because of the UK-Africa Investment Summit. We have over eight of the 50 fast growing economies in the world in Africa,” Mr Sharma said.

President Kenyatta, along with other African leaders, is in London to attend the UK–Africa Investment Summit.

Low global rates have bolstered demand for Kenyan and other frontier market local currency government bonds, but corporate risk has proved a stretch too far for most international investors, meaning that access to funding for African corporates is limited to local sources

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