African Development Bank issues world's biggest social bond in virus fight

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The African Development Bank said it issued the world’s biggest social bond yet by selling $3 billion of notes to fight the impact of the coronavirus on the continent.

Africa’s biggest multilateral lender received $4.6 billion in bids for its Fight Covid-19 social bond, it said in a statement Friday. More than half of bids for the three-year bond, which will pay interest at a rate of 0.75%, was allocated to central banks and official institutions, the lender said.

The bond issuance, AfDB’s biggest yet in dollar terms, is the first of the bank’s measures in response to the virus that has has so far seen the confirmation of more than 3,000 infections across the continent. “We are here for Africa, and we will provide significant rapid support for countries,” AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina said in the statement.

The continent needs an immediate emergency economic stimulus of $100 billion to combat the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

Banks involved with AfDB’s bond sale included Credit Agricole SA and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. At least 37% of the bonds were allocated to European institutions, 36% to U.S. and 17% to Asian investors, AfDB said.

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