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Kenya’s green bond listed on the London Stock Exchange

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NJIRAINI MUCHIRA

By NJIRAINI MUCHIRA
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Kenya has floated a $40 million green bond on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). 

The bond, by Nairobi-based property developer Acorn Holdings, started trading at the LSE on January 20, 2020 following its launch by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta.

It becomes the first Kenya shilling denominated corporate green bond to be listed in the United Kingdom.

The bond, which was first listed at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) last week, will help Acorn Holdings raise funds to build environmentally friendly accommodation for 50,000 university students in Nairobi.

President Kenyatta urged UK investors to use Kenya as a gateway to investing in Africa and a bridge to the emerging market of more than 1.2 billion people created by the continental free trade area coming into force in June.

“Kenya is one of the top 10 fastest growing economies on the continent and also one of the most pro-business nations in Africa,” he said.

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President Kenyatta, who is in London to attend the UK–Africa Investment Summit, added that Kenya will continue to develop an investment environment for sustainable finance after finalising a policy framework to enable the country issue a sovereign green bond and strengthen its position as a regional financial hub.

LSE is the first global exchange to set up a dedicated green bond segment due to a global need for climate-smart infrastructure.

The bourse has so far admitted over 200 bonds from across the world raising over $42.9 billion worth of capital for sustainable development.

Last year LSE signed a memorandum of understanding with the NSE to work with Kenyan companies to help them expand their footprint by jointly listing on the bourse in Nairobi and in London.

More than 60 Kenyan companies are featured in the LSE’s “Companies to Inspire Africa” report in sectors ranging from agriculture to FinTech.

Mr Edward Kirathe, Acorn Holdings chief executive, said the listing has opened the way for Acorn and other Kenyan businesses to access the huge pools of capital available in the international market.

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