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UAE, Saudi Arabia lead MENA with $15.4 billion green bond issuance in 2023

Green bond issuance in emerging markets reached $135 billion in 2023, a 34% increase year-on-year.

UAE, Saudi Arabia lead MENA with $15.4 billion green bond issuance in 2023
[Source photo: Krishna Prasad/Fast Company Middle East]

Green finance surged in the Middle East during 2023, as the region continued to solidify its commitment to sustainable finance. 

Issuance of green bonds in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) skyrocketed in 2023, more than doubling to $15.5 billion, according to a new report by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Amundi. 

The UAE solidified its position as a regional leader, with green bond sales soaring to $8.7 billion, while Saudi Arabia closely followed suit, achieving $6.7 billion in issuances.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, green bond issuance surged by 125%, skyrocketing from $600 million to $1.4 billion. South Africa spearheaded this growth, boasting a remarkable 58% increase in green bond sales to $900 million. Globally, emerging markets witnessed a substantial uptick in green bond issuance, reaching $135 billion in 2023, marking a notable 34% year-on-year increase.

This surge contributed to a historic year for sustainable bonds, with the broader category of green, social, sustainability, and sustainability-linked (GSSS) bonds surpassing $1 trillion in issuance. Moving forward, the report maintains an optimistic outlook for sustained growth in emerging markets.

They predict a 7.1% annual increase in GSSS bond issuance and a 7.5% increase for green bonds specifically by 2025. This positive outlook hinges on a scenario of easing inflation and a relatively stable geopolitical climate.

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