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Kenyan fund targets $15 mln green bond for water projects

by Reuters
Wednesday, 4 April 2018 11:47 GMT

FILE PHOTO: A man walks in the early morning to start his day picking tea leaves at a plantation in Nandi Hills, in Kenya's highlands region west of capital Nairobi, November 5, 2014. REUTERS/Noor Khamis

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Proceeds from green bonds help finance projects in renewable energy, green transport and energy-efficiency

By George Obulutsa

NAIROBI, April 4 (Reuters) - A non-profit organisation plans to issue a 1.5 billion shilling ($15 million) bond this year to fund Kenyan water utilities.

Robert Bunyi, chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Pooled Water Fund, said on Wednesday it aimed to launch a 15-year instrument and to have it certified as a green bond.

Like other African nations, Kenya requires billions of dollars in the coming years to invest in infrastructure projects like roads, water and irrigation, railways and power generation

Proceeds from green bonds help finance projects in renewable energy, green transport, energy-efficiency and wastewater treatment.

"We want to issue the bond in the second half of the year," Bunyi told Reuters, adding the bond could come in October after it had secured regulatory approval.

It will be targeted at Kenyan institutional investors such as pension funds and insurance companies and five to 10 billion shillings could be raised from such bonds each year, Bunyi said.

Kenya's government has stepped up borrowing in recent years to invest in such projects, prompting criticism from anti-debt campaigners and markets.

Officials have pledged to cut borrowing and rely on private investors for future infrastructure projects.

In its 2018/19 (July-June) budget, Kenya allocated 28.23 billion shillings to water and sewerage infrastructure development, and the figure is expected to be 28.40 billion shillings in the 2019/2020 financial year.

Kenya Pooled Water Fund is a collaboration between the Kenyan and Dutch governments. It also gets support from the Swedish aid agency SIDA, the World Bank, United Kingdom's DfID and the United States Aid Agency USAid.

The fund was formally registered in November, but it had been working on the bond plan for three years, Bunyi said, adding that once it takes off in Kenya, it will be replicated elsewhere. ($1 = 100.9500 Kenyan shillings) (Reporting by George Obulutsa Editing by Duncan Miriri and Alexander Smith)

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