The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Standard Chartered today May 9, 2012 launched a bond-issuance programme that will increase the availability of local-currency financing for private sector development in Ghana and five other African countries.

“The IFC Pan-African Debt Medium-Term Note Programme will initially focus on Ghana, Botswana, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia,” the World Bank Group member said in a statement.

Over the next several months, IFC said it will work with the “respective authorities in these countries to obtain their consent to be part of the programme”.

Standard Chartered, appointed as the sole arranger for the programme, will also be the lead manager for many of the inaugural bond transactions under the program, according to the statement.

Other financial institutions may co-lead individual bond issues, it indicated.

Officials say the bonds issued through the programme will raise funds that IFC will use to provide long-term, local-currency finance for African businesses, protecting them from foreign-exchange risks.

“Ensuring the development of such markets is a cornerstone of IFC’s strategy. By expanding long-term currency finance, we help businesses mitigate currency risks when they borrow capital to grow and create jobs,” said the IFC Executive Vice President and CEO Lars Thunell.

Commenting, Standard Chartered CEO Peter Sands said “We are delighted to put our capital markets expertise, extensive Africa presence and knowledge of local markets to work in partnership with IFC on this landmark initiative.”

The IFC said January 18, 2012 that it will issue over $1 billion local currency bonds on the African markets including Ghana.

By Ekow Quandzie

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