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Local bank issues first Green Bond in southern Africa

Local bank issues first Green Bond in southern Africa

In a move to make green project financing easy to access, Bank Windhoek positioned itself as the first commercial bank to issue a Green Bond domestically and across the southern African region this week.

The Green Bond is listed on the Namibia Stock Exchange and complies with the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative, a UN Partnership Programme of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the UN Global Compact.

Green Bonds are generally a fixed income instrument where the proceeds are exclusively applied to finance or re-finance, in part or in full, new and/or existing eligible Green Projects and which are aligned with the four core components of the International Capital Market Association’s (ICMA) Green Bond Principles (GBP).

According to the Bank, proceeds of each successful Bank Windhoek Green Bond issuance will be used to finance, and refinance, in whole or in part, other eligible projects in Namibia included in the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Definitions and Metrics for Climate Related Activities.

Eligible projects under this bond include; Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency/Resource efficiency, Green Buildings, Sustainable Waste Management, Sustainable Land Use, Clean Transportation, Sustainable Water Management, Climate Change Adaptation, Green trade, Climate Smart Agriculture and Non-energy Green House Gas Emission Reduction.

“In its simplest form, the bank will raise a fixed amount of capital, repaying the capital (principal) and accrued interest (coupon) over a set period of time,” Claire Hobbs, Chief Treasurer of Bank Windhoek said.

The Bank developed a Green Bond Framework as the core document against which the management, eligibility and success of the bond issuance is benchmarked.

“The issuance of Namibia’s first Green Bond, is testament to Bank Windhoek’s vision to be the financial partner of choice, ultimately leading to positive change in the country and the Southern African region. We want to thank our first investors Old Mutual and the Government Institutions Pension Fund for their trust and commitment to the Green Bond,” Hobbs added.

Ruan Bestbier, Sustainability Analyst at Bank Windhoek, who developed the Green Bond Framework explained that it is a win-win situation for both the bond issuer and the investor, as they show their commitment as responsible corporate citizens who consistently contribute toward a sustainable future.

“Bank Windhoek has been an implementing partner of the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Energy Finance (SUNREF) program by Agence Française de Développement’s (AFD). The funding from SUNREF aims to finance renewable energy projects within Namibia. This initiative was a good learning curve for the Bank’s staff and clients involved in related renewable energy projects, and the high demand for funding from the SUNREF resource pool encouraged Bank Windhoek to investigate the viability of expanding its green lending activities by raising alternative funds,” Bestbier added.

Furthermore, Baronice Hans, Managing Director of Bank Windhoek said that as a member of Capricorn Group, Bank Windhoek aims to become the Green Financier of choice for sustainability projects in Namibia and in other countries in which the Group operates.

“As the only 100% locally owned commercial bank in Namibia, Bank Windhoek shares the responsibility to protect our country for future generations by actively contributing to and facilitating the transition to low-carbon and climate resilient economy,” Hans added.


Caption: Pictured from left to right front row, Old Mutual Investment Group Namibia’s Portfolio Manager, Yvonne Mwilima; Bank Windhoek’s Treasury Sales and Sustainability Analyst, Ruan Bestbier; Bank Windhoek’s Chief Treasurer, Claire Hobbs and GIPF’s Head of Treasury, Immanuel Kadhila. From left to right back row, PSG Namibia Wealth Manager, Casper Taljaard; Bank Windhoek’s Head of Funding and Liquidity Management, Diederik Kruger; NSX’s Chief Executive Officer, Tiaan Bazuin and Old Mutual Investment Group Namibia’s Head of Alternative Investments, Christoff Bauernschmitt.


 

About The Author

Donald Matthys

Donald Matthys has been part of the media fraternity since 2015. He has been working at the Namibia Economist for the past three years mainly covering business, tourism and agriculture. Donald occasionally refers to himself as a theatre maker and has staged two theatre plays so far. Follow him on twitter at @zuleitmatthys

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

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20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.