Nigeria plans to float Africa’s first sovereign green bond in March to raise N20 billion for environment-friendly infrastructure.
To benefit are 44 universities and more than 1.1 million people in various communities.
The proceeds of green bond must be applied to environment and climate-friendly projects.
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, who spoke at the investors’ conference for the green bond at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), yesterday, said the issuance of the green bond would open up vast opportunities for the country, the capital market and the populace.
He said the net proceeds of the N20 billion green bond, the first to be launched by any African government, would be used to fund projects that would reduce carbon emissions and develop renewable energy.
He said the net proceeds of the bond would be used to fund Solar Unit Distribution Programme (SUDIP), Renewable Energy Micro-Utilities in 45 communities, Energising Education Programme (EEP), FCT Bus Rapid Transport and Afforestation Programme among others.
”Power has posed a major challenge and barrier to effective learning institutional operation and student residences in our universities. This programme would improve access to power to 37 federal universities and seven university teaching hospitals across the country. It would also impact the residents of surrounding communities in the total of about 1.110 million people. In total, 119 megawatts of power would be provided in this scheme out of which 60 megawatts would be solar power,” Osinbajo said.
According to him, green bond is a crucial achievement in Nigeria’s determined battle against the consequences of climate change, a phenomenon which in many ways is important to livelihoods and development of today.
He noted that the green bond will add to the portfolio of instruments available for fund raising at the Nigerian capital market, adding that it is both an opportunity to deepen Nigerian capital market and to combat poverty.
”We are witnessing an alliance between finance and environment. It is an opportunity to deepen our capital market and make a dent in combating poverty and inequality,” the acting president said.
Osinbajo pointed out that the green bond was meant to support the country’s shift to non-oil base assets and attract private capital to finance the much-needed assets at this challenging time of the Nigerian economy.
“Doing this as a sovereign gives us the opportunity to lay strong foundations that serve broader market of bond issuers and pipeline of projects to states,” Osinbajo said.
Minister of Environment Amina Mohammed described the issuance as a demonstration of the commitment of the government to diversify the economy, create jobs and improving security and quality of life.
“Our domestic market needs to rally around our own domestic issuances. The recently issued Euro Bonds are a testament to us that the Nigerian market is still viable. So, let’s translate that to domestic issuances”, Mrs Mohammed said.
She added that greening the Nigerian economy and financial systems will in the long run support the country’s sustainability efforts and improve the economy as it will open new avenues for new jobs, innovation and skill.
According to her, the green bond will improve partnerships and collaboration with the private sector, a key element of cooperation that all stakeholders must continue to encourage.
She pointed out that the government’s new proposed economic recovery and growth plan identifies the green bonds as one of the alternative sources of financing.
“The improving partnership with government and the private sector will keep the momentum of the green bonds process. It provides opportunities for the private sector to being the process of connecting the three strands of sustainable development – economic, social and environment for long term sustainable development,” Mohammed said.