Tuesday, September 14, 2021, witnessed a landmark event in the Nigerian capital markets, in a signing ceremony to commemorate the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) between the Lagos State Government (“Lagos State”) and the Implementing Partners of the Nigerian Green Bond Market Development Programme (“NGBMDP” or the “Programme”) – FMDQ Holdings PLC (“FMDQ Group”) and Financial Sector Deepening (“FSD”) Africa – to facilitate the issuance of the maiden ₦25.00 billion Lagos State Green Bond and other sustainability-linked debt securities towards achieving the global Sustainable Development Goals (“SDGs”).
Among those present at the remarkable signing ceremony held at the Lagos State House, Marina, Lagos, were the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Commissioner of Finance, Lagos State, Dr Rabiu Onaolapo Olowo, Special Adviser, Office of Sustainable Development Goals & Investment, Lagos State, Mrs. Solape Hammond, and other members of the Lagos State Executive Council; as well as representatives of the NGBMDP Implementing Partners including Mr. Bola Onadele. Koko, Chief Executive Officer, FMDQ Group and Mr. Mark Napier, Chief Executive Officer, FSD Africa.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, stated, “I strongly believe that the Green Bond Programme will open the doors of deep sustainable funds for infrastructure and social development for Lagos State, being the biggest player in the sub-national capital markets, and therefore open new doors overall for lots of others.
“As a State, we embrace the transparency and commitment that comes with a Green Finance Framework. We believe it sends an important signal to investors in the market about who we are – a state that is fiscally responsible, prudent and disciplined. It is our intention to continue to validate this reality, as well as our commitment to building a Greater, Circular, Climate-resilient and Prosperous Lagos State which is unwavering”.
Mr. Bola Onadele. Koko, in his remarks at the signing ceremony stated, “FMDQ Group is proud and honored to be part of this momentous signing ceremony. The dynamism of Lagos State as a hub for commerce/financial market activities and the State’s incredible potential for catalysing broad-based sustainable development call for the need to unlock and attract capital to fund key projects in the State.”
Mr. Onadele further highlighted, “this will stimulate economic growth, enhance job creation, and align the State’s THEMES (Traffic Management and Transportation, Health and Environment, Education and Technology, Entertainment and Tourism, as well as Security and Governance) Agenda towards transitioning Lagos State to a greener and more sustainable economy in line with the United Nations SDGs.
This iconic MoU signing is timely and FMDQ Group, as the local partner to the NGBMDP and an agent of change, empowering markets for economic progress towards delivering prosperity, is excited about this opportunity to support the developmental aspirations of Lagos State”.
Furthermore, another of the Implementing Partners to the Programme, FSD Africa, represented by the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Mark Napier, commented, “FSD Africa is pleased to offer its support to Lagos State as it moves towards issuing its first green bond.
This demonstrates excellent leadership by Lagos State, and we hope that other sub-national entities will consider following Lagos State on this journey. Cities magnify aspects of climate change, including heat, flooding and sea level rise in coastal cities. Low carbon, climate resilient urban development, offer significant benefits and an opportunity for accelerated growth for Lagos State”.
The United Kingdom’s Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos, Mr. Ben Llewellyn-Jones, in his remarks stated that the need to mitigate the impact of climate-related risk on the millions of Lagosians is now urgent and pressing, and that the UK Government, through its FSD Africa Development Programme, is committed to help mobilise green financing via the capital markets to support the Lagos State Government’s initiative to build a sustainable and resilient megacity.
“We are currently working with the State Government to build a pipeline of green infrastructure projects through our portfolio of programmes, including our Future Cities Nigeria Development Programme. We will continue to work with the Lagos State to strengthen its resilience, ahead of COP26 and thereafter”, he remarked.
Globally, the green bond market has shown rapid growth as government and corporate entities are raising funds from the debt capital markets (“DCM”) to finance positive environmental and climate projects, to support the development of their countries.
In the Nigerian financial markets in particular, to support the entrenchment of sustainable finance, the Nigerian Green Bond Market Development Programme was launched in 2018 to create awareness and drive education required to integrate the principles of green financing into the Nigerian DCM, thereby facilitating the establishment and development of the nation’s green bond market.
The Programme supported the successful issuances of Africa’s 1st Climate Bonds Certified Corporate Green Bond by Access Bank PLC and the NSP-SPV PowerCorp PLC Series 2 Green Bond, amidst key stakeholder engagement and sensitisation sessions, technical assistance and other funding-related supports.