The African Development Bank (AfDB) stood out at the 22nd Global Finance Best Investment Bank Awards, and was named as the best multilateral financial institution in the world.
This serves as global recognition of its constant efforts to provide its clients and its 54 regional member countries with support in financing their development.
The award represents clear support to the operational strategy that the AfDB has been pursuing under the able leadership of its President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina.
Adesina was unanimously re-elected for a second consecutive five-year term as head of the institution last year.
“With widespread expectations of consolidation in multiple sectors and all around the world, investment banks will play a leading role in reshaping the world economy post-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” said Joseph Giarraputo, publisher and editorial director of Global Finance on announcing the winning list, “Companies need more than ever to understand the specialties and skills that investment banks bring to the table, and the Global Finance awards are a valuable guide.”
In 2020, the AfDB received broad recognition for responding quickly to the needs of the African continent in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and for its pioneering role in the social bond sphere.
It has been widely recognised for quickly repurposing its 2020 lending programme and in developing crisis response budget support through an accelerated approval process and quick disbursement.
This helped to provide the relevant fiscal space for countries to respond to the most pressing economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis, as well as facilitate the purchase of critical imports and medical supplies necessary to fight the virus.
It also put a strong focus on collaboration and partnerships to maximise its response to the crisis working with key development partners, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Despite challenges to its portfolio, it maintained very strong risk management practices.
In October 2020, the bank was selected in a poll of bond market players as the best issuer in 2020 of a COVID-19 bond for its $3bn dollar-denominated Fight COVID-19 social bond, issued on 27 March 2020.
The Fight Covid-19 Social Bond received strong support from investors. It floated on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and was the world’s largest social bond at time of issuance.
The bond has since been listed on the London Stock Exchange, and was admitted on the Nasdaq Sustainable Bond Platform. Bond proceeds, with a three-year maturity, will go to alleviate the impact of the pandemic on livelihoods and Africa’s economies.
In March 2020, the Bank received the Environmental Finance’s 2020 bond of the year award, SSA category, for a successful NOK 1bn social bond issued in 2019. It was the first social bond ever launched in the Norwegian market, and the AfDB’s first transaction in Norwegian Krone.
Since 2017, the bank has launched nearly $5bn worth of such instruments, denominated in US dollars, Euros and Norwegian Krone.
President Adesina, said, “I am delighted at Global Finance’s recognition of the African Development Bank as best multilateral financial institution in 2021. It is a distinct honour, and I consider it as a mark of confidence in my leadership of Africa’s premier multilateral finance institution.”
Adesina described the award as one which was “duly earned”, and credited the bank’s continued success to strong teamwork by staff across all its jurisdictions.
He added, “I would be remiss if I did not recognise the support of our fabulous Board of Directors, who have made an accelerated approval process a hallmark of our pandemic response operations.”
In February 2021, ratings agency S&P Global affirmed the AfDB’s “AAA/A-1+” foreign currency issuer credit rating with a stable outlook.
The ratings agency said its outlook reflected the expectation that the African Development Bank would, over the next two years, “prudently manage its capital while maintaining solid levels of high-quality liquidity assets and a robust funding profile”.
It added, “We also assume extraordinary shareholder support to the bank will remain unchanged.”
The full results of the 22nd annual World’s Best Investment Banks will be published in an exclusive survey in the April 2021 print and digital editions and online at GFMag.com.