Absa Bank said on Monday its Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) division had been recently appointed by credit extension company Bayport Management to be the joint book runner in the first ever US dollar social bond to be issued by a corporate in Africa. PHOTO: Supplied by Absa Group.

JOHANNESBURG  - Absa Bank said on Monday its Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) division had been recently appointed by credit extension company Bayport Management to be the joint book runner in the first ever US dollar social bond to be issued by a corporate in Africa.

The $260 million senior unsecured social bond which is due in 2022 was heavily oversubscribed, reflecting investors’ recognition of the positive social impact of Bayport’s services on the markets in which it operates, Absa said in a statement.

Social bonds are instruments whose proceeds exclusively finance or re-finance projects that deliver a wider social impact. In Bayport’s case this includes job creation through small and medium-sized enterprises financing, as well as financial inclusion.

Absa's participation in the social bond was aligned to the bank’s strategy of providing finance and helping clients achieve sustainable economic growth, head of investment banking at CIB David Renwick said.

He said there was a definite trend from global investors to invest in more socially responsible projects and companies because they wanted to see their funds invested in responsible activities.

"Green bonds were the first type of socially responsible investing instruments and have been around for at least a decade. In Africa, green bonds have been issued in countries such as South Africa and Nigeria,” Renwick said.

“But social bonds are newer, and while there have been a few such bonds issued in the past, the International Capital Market Association published its social bond guidelines in 2018 to provide a disclosure framework meant to promote integrity in the development of the market by clarifying the approach for issuing a social bond.”

 Absa Bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary of one of Africa’s largest financial services companies Absa Group, offers a range of retail, business, corporate and investment banking and wealth management and insurance products and services primarily in South Africa and Namibia.

- African News Agency (ANA)