23rd October 2023, Port Louis, Mauritius – Envolt, the renewable energy production arm of ENL Group, supported by transaction advisor MCB Capital Markets as well as FSD Africa, has announced its intention to undertake a green bond issuance of MUR 2 billion (approximately USD 45 million), with a tenor of between three and seventeen years.
The landmark transaction, under the SADC Green Bond Programme, has been initiated by a first issue of MUR 510 million (equivalent to approximately, USD 11 million) and will be completed by the 31st of December 2028 (as stipulated in the Programme Memorandum), will finance the construction and operationalisation of thirteen new solar farms in Mauritius, boasting an aggregate capacity of 14.4 MW and to be completed over a period of 10-17 months.
The issuance represents a major milestone for the Mauritian renewables sector, as well as the country’s capital markets, being the first green project bond issuance for the financing of a renewable energy in the country. Moreover, these green project bonds will constitute the first of their kind issued in Mauritius under the Green Bond Principles 2021 (as devised by the International Capital Market Association (ICMA)), which are in alignment with global standards and militate against greenwashing by mandating rigorous evaluation of projects and their respective environmental or emissions claims.
Crucially, this bond programme will accelerate the maturity and expansion of Mauritius’ capital markets and advance the country’s efforts to attract private capital investment to the country. As importantly, the bond issuance will contribute to the strengthening of green sustainable finance in Africa, as a demonstration of its capacity to finance vital infrastructure projects indispensable for wider economic development.
The UK Government established FSD Africa in 2012 and has been its sole funder since. Over time, FSD Africa has become the leading financial sector development organisation on the continent. FSD Africa was delighted to support Envolt, as well as its transaction advisor MCB Capital Markets, on the bond programme, the Green Bond Framework and its independent review.
FSD Africa launched its green bonds programme in Kenya in 2017 as part of its mission to make finance work for Africa’s future and has since expanded it to cover 20 African countries including Nigeria, Mauritius, Morocco and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, consisting of 16 countries. It works with governments on policy reforms and development to promote private investments and domestic capital mobilisation through green/sustainable bonds and other instruments (including gender bonds) supports banks and corporates to structure and bring these products to market and further supports industry initiatives such as developing a pool of local accredited green bond verifiers. The programme has so far resulted in more than US$ 1 billion worth of transactions for sustainable/climate-linked projects and assets, the creation of more than 50,000 direct and indirect jobs and increased access to clean energy, clean water and clean transport for more than 3 million people.
Gilbert Espitalier-Noel, CEO ENL Group, said: “Our group positions itself as a major player in the renewable energy sector. Our initiatives align with the national strategy to produce up to 60% of Mauritius’ energy needs from renewable sources by 2030. Our green bond program will finance the expansion of our production capacity and enable us to contribute significantly to improve the country’s energy mix and energy security.”
Rony Lam, CEO MCB Capital Markets, said: “We are proud to have advised EnVolt on this transaction, which sets international standards for the issuance of green project bonds in Mauritius. This success reflects the rapid development of the local currency bond market over the past eight years. Mobilising national resources to finance the local economy and infrastructure projects is essential for the development of the African continent.”
Mark Napier, CEO FSD Africa, said: “FSD Africa is pleased to have supported everyone involved in this historic green bond issuance by EnVolt, which we hope sets a precedent for further such transactions not only in Mauritius but also across the wider SADC region, building the strength of domestic African capital markets and, crucially, delivering financing routes for vital energy transition projects which can accelerate Africa’s energy and climate security.”
Charlotte Pierre, British High Commissioner to Mauritius, said: “International bond markets remain among the most effective and good-value options for financing countries’ energy transition and major infrastructure investment programmes, and we hope many more states follow Mauritius’ example.”