Egypt issues Africa’s first Sustainable Panda Bond worth 3.5 billion RMB backed by African Development Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
With African Development Bank backing, Egypt is tapping Chinese capital markets to drive inclusive growth, including supporting micro and small enterprises.
Egypt has successfully issued a 3-year Sustainability Panda Bond worth RMB 3.5 billion ($478.7 million). The North African nation is the first on the continent to do so, a move that underscores its commitment to access previously untapped sources of capital to drive economic growth.
The African Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Development Bank provided partial credit guarantees to support the issuance, paving the way for other African countries to access fast-growing Chinese debt capital markets. Panda bonds are issued in China's domestic capital market by foreign issuers, typically governments or corporations, and are denominated in Chinese yuan.
The combined guarantees from the two multilateral development banks with triple-A ratings helped crowd in investors and secured competitive terms for the transaction. The Bank of China Limited, with support from HSBC Bank (China) Company Limited, was the lead underwriter and bookrunner.
Egypt will use the bond proceeds for inclusive growth and green objectives under its Sovereign Sustainable Financing Framework. The Framework, which was launched ahead of the COP27 climate conference held in Egypt last year, targets sustainable development through investments in clean transportation, renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable water and wastewater management, financing for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, and essential health services initiatives, among others.
Egypt’s Minister of Finance, Dr. Mohamed Maait, said: "Egypt is the first African sovereign to issue Panda Sustainable Bonds in the Chinese Financial Markets. This is a historical move not just for the country but for the entire continent. We have paved the way for alternate, sustainable financing for our African neighbours and have deepened the partnership with our Chinese counterparts. It’s more than just a financing source; it’s a testimony of how important our economic and financial ties are with the Government of China."
Mohamed El Azizi, African Development Bank Director General for North Africa, described the issuance as ground-breaking. “This first Panda bond issuance by an African sovereign is the perfect example of how African Development Bank Regional Member countries could leverage the Bank’s AAA credit rating to penetrate new markets and mobilize sustainable financing at competitive terms from international investors,” El Azizi said.
Egypt has previous experience tapping sustainable bond markets. In 2020, it became the first country in the Middle East/North Africa region to issue a green bond . In 2022, it was the first African and Middle East country to access Japanese capital markets, issuing a Samurai bond of 60 billion Japanese yen (about $500 million).
“Egypt’s Panda Bond transaction shows our unwavering commitment to deepen the continent’s access to sustainable financing at scale, which to date is very small,” said Ahmed Attout, African Development Bank Acting Director for Financial Sector Development. “While Egypt may be the first African nation to issue on the Panda Bond Market, it won't be the last, as we stand ready to support RMCs to mobilize new development financing at scale on both local and international capital markets,” he added.
Egypt’s Sovereign Sustainable Financing Framework aligns with the African Development Bank Group’s country strategy for Egypt as well as its High-5 operational priorities.
- African Development Bank Group.