Ecobank signs its first Sustainability-Linked Loan (Sll) for $200m with a syndicate of European DFIs led by Proparco

A syndicate of European Development Finance Institutions (EDFIs) led by Proparco, and including Norfund, DEG, FMO and EFP, has announced a US$200 million Sustainability-Linked Loan to support Ecobank Group’s Sustainability and Climate strategy. This is a significant milestone as it is the first ever sustainability-linked loan to a sub-Saharan African financial institution. The facility is linked to two major climate commitments including Climate Disclosures and the definition of a Climate Strategy.

The facility also includes a Climate Action Plan. Proparco, in partnership with the German consulting firm IPC, will provide long-term advisory support to Ecobank Transnational Incorporated’s teams to achieve these ambitious targets.

Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) is the Lomé based parent company of the Ecobank Group, which oversees 33 banking subsidiaries across the African continent. ETI is a key actor in the sub-Saharan Africa banking sector, with significant product offerings for SMEs and delivery of market leading financial services even in fragile economies.

Over the years, Proparco and Ecobank Group have continuously reinforced their partnership through Proparco’s provision of numerous loans, bond subscriptions and risk-sharing facilities including for trade finance to ETI and its subsidiaries, aimed at providing access to finance for underserved segments.

As part of its ambition to increasingly integrate sustainability into its operations and financing strategy, ETI is making ambitious commitments to address sustainability challenges experienced by the organisation and common in the financial industry. ETI has therefore committed to developing:

1. A Climate disclosure report to communicate on its green lending, exposure to carbon intensive sectors, and exposure to physical climate risks; and

2. A Climate Strategy including sustainable finance objectives, GHG emissions reduction targets for both operational and financed emissions, first sector decarbonization strategies for the most carbon intensive sectors, and an exclusion policy covering thermal coal mines and coal-fired power plants.

This financing has been supported by numerous European DFIs, which demonstrates the confidence of ETI’s banking partners in the pan-African banking group. Proparco acted as lead arranger and lender followed by Norfund, DEG, FMO and European Financing Partners. This transaction highlights the quality of ETI’s leadership in the African banking sector and how it is paving the way for others.

This collaboration empowers Ecobank to implement sustainable objectives and generate significant impact.

Jeremy Awori, Chief Executive Officer of the Ecobank Group, commented:

“Sustainability is integral to Ecobank’s mandate and pan-African purpose. The signature of this sustainability-linked loan agreement is another confirmation of the seriousness which the Ecobank Group accords to sustainability, which for us is both a responsibility as well as an opportunity. This sustainability-linked loan builds upon our success as the first pan-African banking Group to issue Tier 2 Sustainability Notes in 2021. We take pride in paving the way for other financial institutions on the continent. We are grateful for the collaboration with our esteemed partners, led by Proparco, including Norfund, DEG, FMO, and European Financing Partners. Together we are committed to making a positive impact and promoting sustainable financing practices across the continent”.

“Proparco is proud to support a long-standing partner in integrating the climate agenda as a cornerstone of its strategy and operations. ETI is paving the way for the entire African financial industry. This first ever Sustainability-linked loan to a banking group in sub-Saharan Africa is a flagship” said Françoise LOMBARD, Chief Executive Officer of Proparco.

”Norfund is proud to once again support ETI – one of the leading pan-African financial institutions – in its important role of providing essential financial services across the Continent” said Tellef Thorleifsson Chief Executive Officer of Norfund.

“DEG is delighted to continue this important partnership with ETI as a leading pan-African banking group. We look forward to ETI becoming an important catalyst for climate action across the continent by means of this facility that is also perfectly aligned with DEG’s Impact and Climate strategy” commented Michael FISCHER, DEG’s Director Financial Institutions Africa

“ETI has been a client of FMO for more than a decade and is considered a long-standing partner. We are very happy to follow Proparco in this Friendship Facility, focused on the Climate Strategy of the Group, reflecting ETI’s pro-active ambition on this front. FMO’s funds will be geared towards Least Developed Countries, making a difference there where it is needed the most,’’ said Michael Jongeneel, CEO of FMO.

“No financial institution can afford to ignore the opportunities and challenges that a changing climate presents. Today, ETI and Proparco break new ground for climate action in Africa,” added Dörte Weidig, Managing Partner at IPC.

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