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African Development Bank issues a record breaking $3 billion “Fight COVID-19” Social Bond

The African Development Bank (AfDB) issued a $3B, 3Y social bond to fight the social and economic downturn related to spread of COVID-19. The Fight COVID-19 Social Bond is the largest US dollar-denominated bond in international capital markets. Although paying only 0.75% was heavily oversubscribed.  Social Bonds enable, develop, and implement new and existing projects with a positive social outcome. Backed by Social Bond Principles to make the process transparent and more accountable, the proceeds target population with disadvantages including disabilities, marginalized communities, under-educated, etc. for specific.

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This is not the first time African Development Bank has tapped capital markets and an innovative way to fund projects in the social sector. Social bonds are part of the fast rising sustainable bonds segment, which is fostering private capital for development purposes. Social bonds primarily focus on improving social outcomes along with giving emphasis to climate action. Going forward, this needs to be replicated by countries and other actors within the development sector, including Supranational Organizations, corporates and governments. Further, its a key feature enabling public-private partnerships and fosters important financial structures, including blended finance. 

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