Seychelles launches world’s first sovereign Blue Bond

Oct 31, 2018 09:47 IST
Seychelles launches world’s first sovereign Blue Bond

The Republic of Seychelles on October 29, 2018 launched the world’s first Sovereign Blue Bond, a financial instrument designed to support sustainable marine and fisheries projects.

The bond raised USD 15 million from international investors. The bond demonstrates the potential for countries to harness capital markets for financing the sustainable use of marine resources.

With this, Seychelles became the first nation to pioneer such a novel financing instrument.

Assistance and investors

The World Bank assisted in developing the Blue Bond and helped the country in reaching out to the three investors:

  • Calvert Impact Capital
  • Nuveen
  • U.S. Headquartered Prudential Financial Inc.

Key highlights of the Blue Bond

The Blue Bond is a part of an initiative that combines public and private investment to mobilise resources for empowering local communities and businesses.

Proceeds from the bond will be utilised for the expansion of marine protected areas, improved governance of priority fisheries and the development of the Seychelles’ blue economy.

Proceeds from the bond will also contribute to the World Bank’s South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Governance and Shared Growth Program, which supports countries in the region to sustainably manage their fisheries and increase economic benefits from their fisheries sectors.

Grants will be provided through the Blue Grants Fund and will be managed by the Seychelles’ Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT)

Loans will be provided through the Blue Investment Fund and will be managed by the Development Bank of Seychelles (DBS).

It will greatly assist Seychelles in achieving a transition to sustainable fisheries and safeguarding oceans.

Important names behind the creation of Blue Bond

  • The Seychelles blue bond is partially guaranteed by a USD 5 million guarantee from the World Bank (IBRD) and is further supported by a USD 5 million concessional loan from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) which will partially cover interest payments for the bond.
  • A World Bank team comprising experts from its Treasury, Legal, Environmental and Finance groups worked with investors in structuring the blue bond.
  • The business case for a sovereign blue bond was initially identified through support to Seychelles from HRH Prince of Wales’ Charities International Sustainability Unit.
  • Standard Chartered acted as placement agent for the bond and Latham & Watkins LLP advised the World Bank as external counsel.
  • Clifford Chance LLP acted as transaction counsel for the bond.

Seychelles and its rich marine resources

The Seychelles is an archipelagic nation consisting of 115 granite and coral islands in the Indian Ocean, off East Africa. It is home to numerous beaches, coral reefs and nature reserves as well as rare animals such as giant Aldabra tortoises.

As one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, Seychelles is balancing the need to develop economically and protect its natural resources. After tourism, the fisheries sector is the most important industry in the country, contributing significantly to annual GDP and employing 17 percent of the population.

Fish products make up around 95 percent of the total value of domestic exports.

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