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Monday, 22 May 2023

AfDB approves partial credit guarantee of USD 345 mn to help Egypt issue debut panda bonds

Egypt gets a helping hand from AfDB to tap panda bond market: The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a partial credit guarantee of USD 345 mn equivalent in RMB to help Egypt access the panda bond market to finance green and social projects, according to a statement released on Saturday. The partial credit fund guarantee will allow Egypt to raise the equivalent of USD 500 mn in CNY-denominated bonds.

Where’s the money going? Bond proceeds will be used for clean transportation, renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable water and wastewater management, MSME funding, and essential health service initiatives, according to the AfDB statement. The selected sectors are all under Egypt’s Sovereign Sustainable Financing Framework (SSFF), which was launched last year to “further underline its support and commitment to use various instruments for the financing of green projects.” Other instruments include sustainable, social, blue, sukuk and others, it said.

No clear indication of when Egypt will pull the trigger: Plans to issue the panda bonds have been in the works since 2019, but were put on hold due to the pandemic. The plans were revived recently, with officials saying that Cairo would take the inaugural bond issuance to the market in early FY 2023-24. Egypt’s fiscal year begins on 1 July. Egypt’s Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said last week that Egypt was looking forward to issuing the CNY-denominated bonds in “the upcoming period” after it successfully wrapped up its inaugural green bond issuance, maiden samurai bond, and maiden sukuk issuances. He did not provide a specific timeframe for the panda bond issuance.

Paving the way for others: “A successful panda bond issuance by Egypt through the Bank’s PCG will pave the way for other regional member countries looking to diversify their funding sources and tap into the international debt capital market,” AfCB Acting Director for Financial Sector Development Ahmed Attout said in the statement.

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