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UAE tops green bond issuance in region at $10.7 billion

The region raised a $24 billion in green, social, sustainable, and sustainability-linked bonds, a 155% surge compared to the previous year

UAE tops green bond issuance in region at $10.7 billion
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

The green finance landscape in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) reached remarkable levels in 2023, marked by record issuances of sustainability-linked bonds and a year for Islamic green finance.

The region demonstrated remarkable growth in green finance, raising an impressive $24 billion in green, social, sustainable, and sustainability-linked bonds (GSSBs), reflecting a 155% increase compared to the previous year.

The UAE solidified its position as a leader in the green finance arena, securing nearly half of the regional market share with a substantial $10.7 billion, marking an impressive 170% increase from 2022. This surge in green finance coincided with the UAE hosting COP28, contributing to a wave of debut issuances from corporations and government entities totaling an impressive $7.95 billion.

DP World, Sharjah government, TAQA, Emirates NBD, Masdar, Mubadala, Aldar, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Five Holdings, Dubai Islamic Bank, and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank made significant entries into the green bond arena, marking their debut in sustainable finance.

Saudi Arabia, experiencing a substantial 69% surge in annual GSSB issuances, claimed a 32% share of the regional market. The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia emerged as the leading issuer, driven by a $5.5 billion issuance in February 2023. Other notable Saudi issuers included the Saudi National Bank, Saudi Electricity Company, and Al Rajhi Bank.

In 2023, green Sukuk gained significant prominence in the MENA region, constituting more than a quarter of the total GSSB issuance for the first time.

In 2023, the MENA region witnessed a remarkable surge in green Sukuk issuance, surpassing $6.5 billion, representing over half of the global market. Key issuers driving this growth included ADIB ($500 million), DP World ($1.5 billion), First Abu Dhabi Bank ($350 million), Majid Al Futtaim ($500 million), and Aldar ($500 million).

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