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United Kingdom Secretary of State for International Development Alok Sharma and other top officials from Acorn and NSE during the listing Monday. /COURTESY.

Kenya

Acorn Holdings to put up 50,000 units for university students to actualise green bond

United Kingdom Secretary of State for International Development Alok Sharma and other top officials from Acorn and NSE during the listing Monday. /COURTESY.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 13-Acorn Holdings, Kenya’s first green bond issuer is targeting to construct 50,000 housing units in Nairobi to tackle students’ housing problems in the country.

Acorn Group and PE fund Helios raised Sh4.3billion to be used in building environment-friendly student accommodation.

According to Samuel Kimani, the Chairman of Nairobi Securities Exchange, the project meets the affordable housing demand in the country.

“The number of students going to university has grown but the scholars’ accommodation does not meet the need and we will also support the development of green bonds and we will get more issuers,” said Kimani.

The Capital Markets Authority approved the issuance of Kenya’s first green bond in August 2019.

The program is also the first-ever to achieve green certification in Kenya which ensures that it genuinely contributes to reducing carbon emissions.

Capital Markets Authority Acting Chief Executive Officer, Wycliffe Shamiah, said this proved that investment assets could use the uniqueness of their projects to raise funds.

“Where we sit as regulators this issuance has set new standards and it then shows that regardless of who you are as long as you have a good investment asset you are able to convince investors to give you money,” said the newly appointed CMA boss Wycliffe Shamiah.

During the announcement on the listing of the country’s first green bond at NSE, United Kingdom Secretary of State for International Development Alok Sharma applauded Kenya for the strides it takes to drive the youth agenda.

“This successful listing of Acorn’s bond, developed using UK aid backed expertise, means new, affordable, environmentally-friendly housing for 5,000 Kenyans. I look forward to building more partnerships like this at next week’s UK-Africa Investment Summit in London, which will deliver more investment, jobs, and growth to create a successful future for all our people,” he said.

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The green bond will be tax-free following changes in the Finance Bill 2019, joining infrastructure bonds which are also tax-exempt.

Acorn is currently targeting two Qwetu Hostels on Thika road that will serve students in United States International University Africa, Kenyatta University and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology students in the Kasarani area.

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