By Aaron Humes: You can now call it the ‘award-winning Blue Bond.’
Online environmental finance and investment magazine Environmental Finance has given two gongs for Belize’s ‘Blue Bond’ – Innovation – Bond Structure (Sustainability Bond) and Sustainability Bond of the Year – Sovereign.
Environmental Finance, per a statement from the Government, has hailed the Blue Bond as “game-changing,” noting that the underwriter, Credit Suisse said, “The US$364 million bond could serve as a blueprint to finance other emerging market countries’ climate objectives without adding to their indebtedness.”
The bond was created through a debt conversion agreement established with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in November 2021 after the retirement of the infamous ‘Super Bond’.
It reduced the national debt by US$250 million, saved more than US$200 million in debt servicing, and created an estimated US$180 million in conservation funding over the next 20 years to be used for the protection of more than 30 percent of the marine waters and support for the work of the Ministry of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation and the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management, tasked with achieving the commitments outlined in the agreement.
The initiative alone is credited for reducing Belize’s debt-to-GDP ratio from 133 to 108 percent, with a target of 65 to 70 percent set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by 2030.