Sunday, December 4Inside Business Africa

ADB floats $3b bond to alleviate pains of COVID-19 in Africa

Bank urges Nigerians to make safety paramount against Virus
The African Development Bank (ADB) has raised a $3 billion bond instrument in a three-year tenure to help alleviate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic in Africa.

According to ADB Group, the bond is the largest social bond ever launched in international capital markets , and the largest dollar benchmark ever issued by the bank. It will pay an interest rate of 0.75 percent.

The Fight Covid-19 Social bond, with a three-year maturity, garnered interest from central banks and official institutions, bank treasuries, and asset managers including socially responsible investors, with bids exceeding $4.6 billion.

The ADB Group is moving to provide flexible responses aimed at alleviating the severe economic and social impact of this pandemic on its regional member countries and Africa’s private sector.

The President, ADB Group, Dr Akinwumi Adesina said:””These are critical times for Africa as it addresses the challenges resulting from the Coronavirus. The African Development Bank is taking bold measures to support African countries.

“This $3 billion Covid-19 bond issuance is the first part of our comprehensive response that will soon be announced. This is indeed the largest social bond transaction to date in capital markets. We are here for Africa, and we will provide significant rapid support for countries.”

According to the arrangers, the order book for the bond highlights the scale of investor support, which the ADB enjoys.

Furthermore, the Head of Sustainable Banking, Crédit Agricole CIB, Tanguy Claquin said: ” As the Covid-19 outbreak is dangerously threatening Africa, the ADB lives up to its huge responsibilities and deploys funds to assist and prepare the African population, through the financing of access to health and to all other essential goods, services and infrastructure,”

Meanwhile, over the weekend, Standard Bank Group, has assured its esteemed customers of a continued commitment to instituting proactive steps to safeguard against the COVID-19 pandemic.

To this end, the financial institution, in tandem with the World Health Organization’s advisory on social distancing, has advised limiting person-to-person interactions amidst other safety measures.

Yinka Sanni, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, commended the efforts of various relevant agencies and healthcare givers as they try to manage the pandemic. He further urged the financial institution’s customers to adhere to safety and hygienic measures to protect themselves.

He said: “Given our commitment to ensuring unhindered, seamless access to financial services round the clock, we advise our customers to minimize person-to-person interface and take advantage of the always-on seamless digital platforms. The full range of our financial services can be accessed on our various ATMs, Mobile App, Online Banking and USSD platforms.”

He added that the organisation has also strategically installed automatic hand sanitizer dispensers in all banking halls and offices across the country while also increasing the intensity/frequency of their cleaning processes. He urged all customers to take full advantage of these as well as other necessary precautions.

“Good hygiene practices such as cleaning of hands frequently with alcohol-based hand sanitizers or soap and water; covering of nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or flexed elbow, and avoidance of close contact (1 metre or 3 feet) with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms is essential to reducing the risk of infection” he reiterated.

He noted that Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC also has a robust travel advisory in place for staff. Travels have been restricted to minimal essential local journeys, with strict caution on international trips.
According to him, “COVID-19 is today a global challenge and we will continue to adhere to updated health advisory while working with relevant agencies to curtail the impact. We must, however, remain vigilant and prepared to control the spread. At Stanbic IBTC, we see this as our collective responsibility and we will keep monitoring the situation closely and duly disseminate relevant information as they unfold.”
The World Health Organisation has declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, underscoring its growing prevalence. The impact of COVID-19 is equally precipitating a global economic crisis even as control measures have distorted travels and tourism across the world.

The COVID-19 virus has also taken its toll on financial markets globally. According to Bloomberg, the average global growth forecast has dipped from 2.3% in 2019 to 1.4% in 2020. Crude oil price has also dropped from $54.45bpd as of February 03, 2020, to $30.62bpd on March 16, 2020.

Similarly, the benchmark 10-yr bond (Feb 2028) which closed at 10.76% p.a. on February 18, 2020, traded as high as 14.20% p.a. during the last month and eventually settled to 12.75% p.a. as at close of business on March 13, 2020. The Nigerian Stock Exchange All-Share Index also slipped -17.27% from 27,547.56 on February 18, 2020, to 22,789.64 on March 18, 2020.

Source: Guardian

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