Nigeria has won awards in three categories for its securities issuance activities in the domestic and international capital markets.
A statement yesterday by the Director-General of Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha, said the awards were Best Sovereign Bond in Africa US$3b Dual-Tranche (10 and 30 years) Eurobonds issued in November 2017, Most Innovative Bond US$300m Diaspora Bond issued in June 2017, and Best Naira Bond N100b seven-year Inaugural Sukuk issued in September 2017.
The statement further explained that coming from EMEA Finance (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), which is a well-respected institution in the international financial markets, the awards position Nigeria properly to attract foreign capital inflows and also confirm the robustness of Nigeria’s Debt Management Office in packaging and offering products that appeal strongly to local and international investors.
Even more significant for Nigeria is that awards by EMEA Finance are made after evaluating several transactions, each of which is unique, using clearly defined criteria. That Nigeria won awards from a competitive process is a huge plus.
Nigeria issued its first Diaspora Bond for $300 million in June 2017. The bond was selected for the award for the uniqueness in the manner in which it was structured. The bond is also the first security issued by Nigeria that is registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
With the $3 billion dual-tranche ($1.5 billion for 10 years and $1.5 billion), Nigeria recorded several firsts, making it a landmark transaction. Firstly, it was the very first time that Nigeria raised an amount that large at once in the International Capital Market (ICM). Secondly, it was the first time a Sub-Saharan African country other than South Africa issued a 30-year Bond in the ICM. The significance of the tenor lies in the fact that Nigeria could now access stable long-term funds necessary to finance infrastructure. Indeed, Nigeria is proud to have opened the 30-year window, as some other African countries such as Kenya subsequently issued 30-year Bonds.
The N100 billion Sukuk, which won the award of Best Naira Bond, is perhaps in a class of its own, given that it was issued in the domestic market. For the Debt Management Office, the use of the proceeds is the most significant aspect of the product as it has been deployed to the designated 25 road projects across the six geo-political zones.
A recent inspection of the road projects confirmed that a silent transformation in infrastructure has begun through Sukuk financing. The other significance of Sukuk financing is that it opened a window for financial inclusion.