For Immediate Release, 29th March 2022: The Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) is pleased to announce the re-election of BSE CEO Mr. Thapelo Tsheole as the Chairperson of the Committee of SADC Stock Exchanges (CoSSE) with immediate effect. Mr. John Kamanga, CEO of Malawi Stock Exchange, has also been re-elected as Deputy Chairperson of CoSSE. The re-election took place at the 60th virtual CoSSE meeting held today.
Mr. Tsheole’s re-election is the second one since his initial election as the Chairperson of CoSSE in 2018, where he took over from Ms. Zeona Jacobs of the Johannesburg Stock Exchanges (JSE). His term will run until March 2024.
CoSSE was formed in 1997 to improve the operational, regulatory and technical underpinnings and capabilities of SADC Exchanges to make their securities markets more attractive to regional and international investors. The Committee also aims to increase market liquidity, enhance trading in various securities and financial instruments, and encourage a harmonised securities market environment within the SADC region. Currently, the Committee comprises 14 stock exchanges from 13 countries.
Commenting on the re-election, the BSE CEO, Mr. Thapelo Tsheole, said, “I am honoured by the consistent support from my colleagues and the confidence they have bestowed upon me to continue to serve this exceptional Committee for another two years. CoSSE is making great strides in multiple strategic initiatives, which would not be possible without the concerted efforts and commitment of SADC Exchanges to foster the advancement of the regional markets to greater heights.”
Some of the notable achievements during Mr. Tsheole’s tenure include the launch of the SADC Green Bond Programme designed to accelerate the take-up of Green Bonds as a tool for SADC member countries to tap into domestic and international investors to finance green projects and assets. Additionally, CoSSE, under Mr. Tsheole’s leadership, has a significant role to play in the projects that aim to foster regional financial integration and macroeconomic convergence in SADC.
Africa is under pressure to develop its green finance market for two crucial reasons. The first is to significantly and sustainably respond to climate change, as the continent is vulnerable to the severe effects of climate change. Secondly, African private and public sectors lag behind other emerging markets in green (and sustainability) bond issuances. The SADC Green Bond Programme serves to address the aforementioned challenges in general, and in particular, the embryonic status of the green finance market in the SADC region.
Since its official launch in March 2021, the Programme has made commendable headway in implementing its core strategic objective of developing the green bond market in SADC – which is demonstrated by the publishing of this SADC Green Finance Demand Study. Considering that the development of the capital market ecosystem depends on timely empirical information, the importance of this study cannot be overstated. Not only does it bridge the existing knowledge gap regarding green investment opportunities and barriers in the SADC region, but it is also underpinned by one of CoSSE’s mandates, which is to encourage the transfer of securities markets’ intellectual capital and technical expertise among member Exchanges of CoSSE.
On 20th January 2022, the Committee of SADC Stock Exchanges (CoSSE) and FSD Africa facilitated a virtual demand study workshop together with consultants from Rebel Group and Clima Capital Partners – a significant initiative made possible through the SADC Green Bond Programme, kickstarted in February 2021.
Over 70 professionals from the SADC region capital market ecosystem were present, with representation from institutions such as Stock Exchanges, Central Banks, Regulators and Development Finance Networks. The purpose of this workshop was to present salient findings of the demand study, and advance discussions around Green Bond opportunities in the region, the barriers that hinder their uptake, and recommendations to overcome these.
Some of the findings presented on the SADC Green Bond Market Study indicated that the market has grown exponentially, by at least 15% in 2021, while the African market contributes only 0.4% to this global market base. The SADC Green Bond markets have been subdued. There have been 20 green bond issuances amounting to USD 3,559 million following the first issuance in 2012. The statistics from the study showed that over the period 2012-2021: 12 issuances were by banks (42%); 5 issuances were sovereign (30%); 3 issuances were corporate (28%); and of the 20 green bond issuances, 16 were issued in South Africa (USD 3,186 million, 90% of total), illustrating the dominant role of the country within the region. 7 have been issued in the last three years (USD 2,146 million, 60% of total) in line with the global trend of green bond market growth.
Other market insights indicated that the SADC investor base is limited except for South Africa, thus there is a need to access international capital markets as an alternative. An example of this is the Seychelles Blue Bond bought by international impact investors. International capital market access to frontier market borrowers has broadened significantly in the past decade; today, even single B-rated sovereigns enjoy market access, including relatively small low-income countries from sub-Saharan Africa.
Equally, there are investment opportunities for the regional pension funds, especially in Botswana, Namibia, eSwatini and Tanzania. However, the inadequate enabling environment (regulatory & capital market barriers) limit uptake.
From the issuers’ perspective, the positive outcomes of the study reveal that: banks are a prime candidate group for green bond issuance in the SADC. There may be an acceleration of a paradigm shift among corporates as the global regulatory standards on corporate disclosure requirements increasingly integrate ESG information. Sovereigns with outstanding international bonds could explore if a portion of their remaining international bonds may be re-financed with green bonds as a part of their broader debt management strategies. Workshop participants also discussed barriers to green bond uptake in SADC.
A common hindrance in this region appears to be the lack of expertise in identifying and developing bankable projects to be financed by green bonds. Secondly, most potential issuers in the SADC region (excl. SA) are unfamiliar with the specific internal and external processes required in raising a green bond. The low demonstration of financial benefits of issuing green bonds poses a barrier for issuances, which can be circumvented through long-term strategic thinking, as in the case of the Bank of Windhoek. The Bank did not see any financial advantage to their green bond issue in 2018 but used the issuance as a strategy to position the Bank in a future key market. Other barriers discussed are the perceptions of higher transaction costs, the small size of issuance, rigid taxonomies, and minimal technical expertise at regulatory agencies and stock exchanges.
Key recommendations discussed in light of the findings included the following: Strengthen regulators’ and stock exchanges’ expertise on climate finance; Establish national champions for designing and implementing market development measures for the enhanced deployment of green bonds; Incentivize the potential issuers, especially banks, to develop portfolios of eligible and bankable projects for green bonds; Use demonstration effects to promote green bonds; Promote the supporting instruments for climate market development in SADC countries – e.g., regulatory requirements, subsidization, intrinsic motivation, and project identification.
The SADC Green Finance Demand Study will be available publicly on the CoSSE website during the first quarter of 2022. We trust that it will provide compelling insights on the trajectory of the SADC Green Bond Market for market practitioners across the SADC region – and serve as an instrumental tool in the development thereof.
FSD Africa welcomes the Africa Green Finance Coalition, launched at the COP26 World Leaders Summit with the aim of closing the continent’s green finance gap through financial sector reforms, technical assistance, and peer learning.
FSD Africa welcomes the announcement at the COP26 World Leaders Summit that African nations will come together to create the Africa Green Finance Coalition (AGFC).
The AGFC brings together all the countries of Africa to pool resources, share learning and create a pathway for increased flows of green investment capital to the continent. It will facilitate learning and technical assistance across countries, while a peer review mechanism will hold members to account for their commitments to the necessary reforms.
To address the climate crisis, multilateral organisations have emerged to expedite the attainment of a green and sustainable future through concerted initiatives. Prominent coalitions include the Paris Agreement Treaty, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), and the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative. Of the 14 Exchanges in CoSSE, seven are partners of the SSE Initiative, namely Stock Exchanges of Botswana (BSE), Dar es Salaam (DSE), Johannesburg (JSE), Mauritius (SEM), Namibia (NSX), Seychelles (MERJ) and Zimbabwe (ZSE). That being so, these Exchanges committed to the following statement:
Furthermore, the BSE, DSE, NSX and SEM are signatories of the Marrakesh Pledge, which is a continental coalition dedicated to fostering green finance in Africa and enabling an effective shift towards a low carbon economy.
According to research, out of all the regions, Africa is the most vulnerable and will be the most severely affected by the deleterious impacts of climate change. This is due to the climatic challenges connected to the geographical position of the continent, as well as weak infrastructures and their lack of capacity to effectively combat climate change while equipping populations with resilient mitigation strategies.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) indicates that by 2020, between 75 and 250 million people on the continent are to encounter water shortages due to increasing temperatures. The UNEP further projects that Africa’s annual GDP will decline by 2 percent to 4 percent due to climate change by 2040. The increased occurrence of reduced yields in rain-fed agriculture, droughts, heatwaves and flash floods in the SADC region are empirical evidence of global warming and a call-to-action.
To be a part of the solution, SADC Stock Exchanges are investing in the mainstreaming of green financial markets through the SADC Green Finance Programme. The main benefits of a functioning green bond market include;
attracting new listings;
satisfying environmental, social and governance (ESG) requirements;
meeting a growing investor and issuer demand;
improving investor diversification;
enabling direct investment in social impact activities and;
bringing a competitive edge to the market.
Although the concept of green financing is relatively nascent in the region, SADC has the second-mover advantage of learning from the pioneers and adopting tried & tested models and policies with added improvements.
Green-finance markets in the continent are more active in what are said to be Africa’s economic hubs, namely South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. Several green bond issuances have occurred in these respective economies over the years, with the largest sale in the continent of USD200 million coming from the JSE in South Africa, in 2020. The burgeoning of green financing across the continent depends on the implementation of several components, of which the SADC Green Bond Programme aims to facilitate.
Chief among these is the regulatory component which will facilitate the establishment of a robust legal and regulatory framework to enforce transparency and compliance from issuers. Component 2 focuses on developing a pipeline of issuances for both sovereigns and corporates and demonstration transactions. Since listing a green bond will be a novelty for most issuers, the component makes a provision for specific guiding steps to support the issuers in developing green bond frameworks and facilitating verification and reporting processes.
The third component of the programme will support capacity building and market education to ensure wider uptake of green finance and, most importantly, to ensure that best practice for labelling green financial products is understood. The component will facilitate training and help organise workshops/ roundtables targeting potential issuers, investors and other relevant stakeholders.
The fourth and final component will facilitate the undertaking of a demand study to comprehensively gauge the demand for green bonds in the SADC region and understand the existing and estimated future investment potential.
As this programme gains traction, we are eager to reap quantifiable progress in the otherwise embryonic nature of the green bond market in SADC and Africa at large. The importance of the green bond market is to harness the significant role that financial markets can play in addressing the global climate change crisis. This is an opportune and critical time for SADC Stock Exchanges, particularly as governments start to pursue infrastructure development at a larger scale. Although green bonds are a relatively small slice of the global bond market, they are proving to be effective in improving companies’ environmental footprint, thereby potentially catalysing climate change.
CoSSE which was formed in 1997 is a collective and cooperative body of the 14 stock exchanges in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. CoSSE is charged with the responsibility to accelerate the development of the SADC capital markets through cooperation and collaboration between SADC stock exchanges and other key SADC institutions and stakeholders. CoSSE Secretariat has close working relations with the SADC Secretariat, and SADC Structures such as the Committee of Central Bank of Governors (CCBG), Committee of Insurance, Securities and Non-Banking Financial Authorities (CISNA), the Committee of Ministers of Finance and Investment (CoMFI) and the Committee of Senior Treasury Officials (CoSTO).
For more information about CoSSE, visit the website at www.cosse.africa or contact the Secretariat via telephone at (+267) 3674421 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
CoSSE is an acronym for the Committee of SADC Stock Exchanges. This committee is a collective and cooperative body of the 14 stock exchanges in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.