Monday 27th September 2021
Monday, 27th of September 2021
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Nigerian firm issues Africa’s first green bond for renewable energy project

The firm of OneWattSolar (OWS) has announced the issuance of the first series of its ₦10 billion ($24.4 million) Green Bond Issuance Programme, comprising the first tranche of a ₦2 billion ($4.9 million) seven-year Green Bond Issue and second tranche of a ₦1 billion ($2.4 million) seven-year Green Sukuk Issue.

Dr. Jubril Adeojo
Dr. Jubril Adeojo, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of OneWattSolar

The issuance, made on Thursday, July 1, 2021, is said to be the first of its kind in several categories. In Africa, it is the first: Corporate Green Bond for Off-Grid Renewable Energy Project, Corporate Green Sukuk, and Corporate Joint Green Bond and Green Sukuk; and it is the 13th Green Sukuk in the world.

Green Sukuk are Shari’ah compliant investments in renewable energy and other environmental assets. They address Shari’ah concern for protecting the environment.

The Bond is rated BBB, in line with standards established by DataPro Limited, a registered Ratings Agency in Nigeria. TUV Nord Certification also provided Second Party Opinion on the Green Bond Framework of the Company.

Comercio Partners Capital Limited (CP Capital), the investment banking subsidiary of Comercio Partners Limited, led the bond issuance as Issuing House/Financial Advisers. The issue was also supported by Marble Capital Limited as Shariah Advisor, and Bloomfield LP as Legal Advisers. In addition, Financial Sector Deepening Africa (FSD Africa) provided technical assistance in support of the Issue.

The issuance is said to be consistent with the OneWattSolar’s mission and mandate to accelerate and build on the achievements of Africa’s decarbonisation pathway goals in the energy sector.

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OneWattSolar’s goal, it was gathered, is to provide over 14GW off-grid solar energy by 2030 across sub-Saharan Africa. According to officials, the issuance reinforces the company’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Agreement on Climate Change leveraging its innovative and scalable business model that is built on strategic partnership, advanced technologies, and Big Data.

The company says it intends to allocate the net proceeds from the issue to purchase renewable energy assets required to implement its pipeline of off-grid energy access projects in Nigeria, in line with the eligibility criteria (as defined in its Green Bond Framework) and support the adoption of best market practices and reporting standards to deepen the green bond market.

Commenting on the development, Dr. Jubril Adeojo, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of OneWattSolar, said: “This issuance has enabled us to commercially roll out our two flagship products – CHI-OMA being the Internet of Things-enabled Digital Assets & Hardware Technology, and AMINA being the Advanced Artificial Intelligence Software Technology. The two products are strategically designed to deliver excellent service to our customers, as well as to ensure that customers’ experience journey is seamless and memorable.

“It is also noteworthy that all our partners are indigenous players working together to democratise, decarbonise, decentralise, and digitise sustainable energy access to our reputable locally owned businesses, and households while creating numerous jobs for African youths and women. As a tech company, we look forward to developing and rolling out new customer-centric products, alongside the issuance of more green bonds and sukuks, as we use this issuance to commence the first step of our journey of a million miles.”

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Steve Osho, Co-Managing Partner and Managing Director of CP Capital, said: “This is the first hybrid Green Bond and Green Sukuk issued by a corporate in sub-Saharan Africa and we at Comercio Partners Capital Limited are excited to be the lead issuing house of this historic issue. Our strategic relationship with OWS is in line with our philosophy of value creation.

“Following the launching of the Nigerian Green Bond Market Development Programme ably supported by FSD Africa in 2018, we at Comercio Partners have been driving the essence of impact investing and the strategic alliance with OneWattSolar marks a key milestone in the financing strategy of the Company. Therefore, the issuance of this hybrid Green Sukuk Bond was a good call towards reemphasizing our commitment in green financing.”

Akeem Oyewale, CEO of Marble Capital, submitted: “Marble Capital is happy to have lent our shariah advisory competencies to the debut Green Sukuk issuance in Africa, and also grateful for the opportunity to expand Islamic finance asset offerings in the Nigerian market. The utilisation of a sukuk in funding structures allows firms like OneWattSolar to tap into a growing asset class that is tried and tested globally. The focus of OWS as an environmentally conscious firm aligns with the principles of Maqosid Shariah and was instrumental in getting investors to the trans-action. We expect more corporate organisations to tap into this funding opportunity in the near term.”

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Adedoyin Afun, Partner, Bloomfield LP, stated: “Advising on this landmark issuance is testament to our multi-disciplinary and integrated approach in providing excellent legal and regulatory support services. The depth of our capital markets, sustainable finance, Islamic finance and energy and natural re-sources practices formed the cornerstone of this transaction. We see this issuance as the beginning of many more sustainable financings in Nigeria.”

Evans Osano, Director, Capital Markets of Financial Sector Deepening Africa (FSD Africa): “We congratulate OneWattSolar on its green bond and green sukuk issuance and are delighted to be part of this journey. The issuance of this bond demonstrates the powerful role green finance can play in establishing a resilient low-carbon economy in Africa and forging a path out of the continent’s energy crisis.

“Greening finance is essential for unlocking sustainable growth. OneWattSolar has laid down a marker in this regard, demonstrating the tranformative potential of green Islamic finance – a part of the financial community that has always put social good at its heart.”

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