By Nthakoana Ngatane
JOHANNESBURG – Lesotho-born capital markets guru, Mpho Lechesa, has been appointed as the first Programme Manager of the SADC Green Bond Programme, which aims to accelerate the take-up of green bonds as a tool for SADC member countries to tap into domestic and international capital markets to finance green projects and assets.
SADC Green Bonds is a partnership between Financial Sector Deepening Africa ,FSD Africa, and the Committee of SADC Stock Exchanges, CoSSE, the co-operative body of the 14 Stock Exchanges in SADC.
In a letter to member countries, dated 28 February, the two organisations say Lechesa will be responsible for overall programme coordination including support to stakeholders in the review or development of guidelines, policies and regulations – to enable issuance and listing of green bonds and other related products in the SADC region.
“Launched in March 2021, the SADC Green Bond Programme is a technical assistance programme that accelerates the take-up of Green Bonds as a tool for SADC member countries to tap into domestic and international capital markets to finance green projects and assets.” Says the letter from chairperson Thapelo Tsheole who is also the CEO of the Botswana Stock Exchange.
He says among other key aspects, the SADC Green Bonds programme supports the development of listing guidelines and regulations for green bonds, engages the institutional investment community and provides training and capacity building for various stakeholders on climate finance.
Mpho, who spent his formative years in Lesotho where he also played competitive tennis representing the country in ITF circuits in Africa, is also the founder and Managing Director of Map Capital Partners, a development finance advisory and investment holdings firm with a presence in Lesotho and South Africa.
After graduating from the University of Hartford, Connecticut, USA, with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in Finance and Insurance, Mpho’s career took him through a graduate programme with Merryl Lynch.
His highlights include being an analyst for Accenture Financial Services at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange during the integration of the JSE into the London Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange project.
Under his guidance, Map Capital Partners has worked on projects in several countries across Southern Africa, ranging from corporate advisory, project finance and transactional advisory across several sectors.
These projects included the establishment of special agro-processing economic zones and renewable energy.
ABOUT GREEN BONDS:
According to the World Bank, over the last 14 years, green bonds have become an important tool to address the impacts of climate change and related challenges that pose risks for agriculture, food, and water supplies.
The bank says a lot of financing is needed to address these challenges, and it’s critical to connect environmental projects with capital markets and investors and channel capital towards sustainable development – and green bonds are a way to make that connection.
“In late 2007, a group of Swedish pension funds sought to invest in projects that help the climate. Less than a year later, in November 2008, the World Bank became the first institution to issue a green bond, raising funds from fixed-income investors to support lending for eligible climate-focused projects. In 2010, the International Finance Corporation, IFC, issued its inaugural green bonds in response to investors seeking climate-related investments with a fixed income” says the World Bank.
Green Bonds enjoyed a 49% growth rate in the five years before 2021, according to Climate Bonds, whose analysis suggests the green bond market annual issuance could exceed the $1 trillion mark by 2023.