African Development Bank Visionary Approach to Multilateral Development


  •  African Development Bank pioneers a $750 million hybrid capital note, setting an example in multilateral banking.
  •  African Development Bank strategically plans $4-5 billion in hybrid capital bonds, ensuring responsible, progressive financial growth.
  • Hybrid note introduces safeguards, allowing for a permanent reduction in financial stress and ensuring flexibility.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has successfully issued a $750 million perpetual hybrid capital note, marking a historic moment for multilateral development banks. This financial approach, a first for institutions facing mounting pressures to enhance lending capabilities, comes as the G20 group urges such entities to explore innovative financing structures. The aim is to fortify balance sheets and amplify funding directed toward addressing crises in developing economies, particularly climate change-related ones. 

Navigating Uncharted Waters: The Hybrid Capital Note

The hybrid capital note boasts a 5.75% coupon, surpassing expectations of 6.375%. This subordinated, debt-like equity instrument, while carrying a lower credit rating than the African Development Bank’s AAA-rated bonds, offers flexibility to investors. The note can be redeemed after 10.5 years or five-year intervals.

“This is not a one-off transaction; it is one of many more transactions to come,” stated Hassatou N’Sele, VP of Finance and Chief Financial Officer for the African Development Bank Group, hinting at a strategic shift in the bank’s financing approach. Details on future issuance plans remain guarded; N’Sele emphasized the establishment of hybrid capital by AAA-rated multilateral development banks as a novel asset class. Other similar institutions have also expressed interest in exploring this visionary financing approach.

Bridging Financial Frontiers: Investor Response and Learning Curve

Following an investor roadshow in September, the African Development Bank faced a brief delay in the note’s launch due to increasing borrowing costs and market volatility. The issuance, structured and coordinated by BNP Paribas and Goldman Sachs, with Barclays and BofA Securities joining as book-runners, eventually attracted diverse investors. Private banks, asset managers, and specialist credit funds participated, showcasing the broad appeal of the pioneering financial instrument.

Damian Saunders, FIG Syndicate at BNP Paribas, highlighted the significance of the transaction as a learning curve for all parties involved, including investors who needed to assess and price the associated risks. The accomplished issuance has paved the way for prospective future transactions, illustrating the changing dynamics of financial instruments in the sphere of multilateral development banks.

Strategic Capacity and Progressive Approach

The African Development Bank acting treasurer, in a November interview with Reuters, outlined the institution’s capacity to issue $4 billion-$5 billion of hybrid capital bonds. A cautious and progressive approach is planned, with an estimated one or two transactions per year. This measured strategy aligns with the bank’s commitment to responsible financial management and strategic growth.

Safeguards in Uncertain Times: Terms of the Hybrid Note

The terms of the hybrid note introduce safeguards, allowing for a permanent principal reduction in times of financial stress, requiring shareholders to augment the bank’s capital. Additionally, coupon payments can be skipped under certain circumstances, providing flexibility for the African Development Bank.

The African Development Bank’s pioneering step into hybrid capital notes marks a significant milestone for the institution and the landscape of multilateral development banks. Such innovative approaches become integral in addressing challenges developing economies face, with the African Development Bank at the forefront of this transformative journey.

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Timothy Munene

Timothy is a competent journalist with a background in Blockchain, Web3, and crypto news writing. He is focused, produces engaging content and has a wide range of research and analysing skills.

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