KENYA: East Africa’s first green bond finally listed on stock exchange

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KENYA: East Africa's first green bond finally listed on stock exchange©Roschetzky Photography/Shutterstock

Acorn Holdings has traded its green bond for approximately $42 million on the Nairobi Securities Exchange. The real estate company is planning a second listing on the London Stock Exchange. The funds will be used to build environmentally friendly and affordable housing for 5,000 students.

Green finance is being modernised in East Africa. The very first green bond issued in East Africa, the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) in October 2019, was listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) in Kenya. At a listing ceremony on Monday, January 13, 2020, the issuing company, Acorn Holdings, announced that such an initiative would be undertaken on the London Stock Exchange in the UK within a week.

“The listing of this green bond on the stock exchange offers greater visibility, transparency and increased investor confidence in the fundraising process,” said Sam Kimani, Chairman of the NSE. With the dual Kenyan and UK guarantee, “the green bond should attract both retail and institutional investors who wish to have environmentally friendly assets in their portfolios,” said Geoffrey Odundo, CEO of NSE.

5,000 green housing units

The $42.5 million bond was issued by Acorn Holdings, a Nairobi-based property developer. It aims to build up to six certified eco-friendly properties to create clean, safe and affordable housing for 5,000 students in Nairobi. The construction of the green student housing will meet international green building standards for water, energy and building materials, reducing operating costs and the impact on long-term carbon emissions.

Acorn Holdings, Kenya’s leading provider of student housing, has built three properties with more than 1,600 beds since 2015 and wants to invest more to further address the urgent shortage of student housing in Kenyan cities.

University enrolments in Kenya have increased from 27,000 students in 1990 to about 550,000 in September 2019, while there are less than 40,000 beds available at universities, creating a huge deficit.

Boris Ngounou

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