Cabo Verde Hoists the Blue Flag

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Sustainable finance is essential for a tourism-dependent economy. It will encourage sustainable fishing, maritime transport, as well as tourism. Credit: UNDP

MINDELO, Cabo Verde, Jan 26 2023 (IPS) – On 20 January, the world’s best sailors arrived in Mindelo, Cabo Verde, completing the initial leg of the 2023 edition of The Ocean Race. Coinciding with this stop was the launch of Cabo Verde’s first blue bondThe Ocean Summit was an event jointly organized and hosted by The Ocean Race, the Government of Cabo Verde and on the sidelines of grueling round the world race. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was in attendance as this year’s keynote speaker.

The bond was launched on Cabo Verde’s Blu-X sustainable finance platform, a regional platform to list and trade inclusive and sustainable financial instruments.

The issuance will raise domestic, regional, and global investment in Cabo Verde’s rising ocean economy while divesting capital from industries responsible for sea-level rise, pollution, and other transgressions against ocean rights.

In short, sustainable finance is blowing in the sails of local blue economies that are moving towards global Ocean Rights.

In keeping with its blue seal, upto US$1,000,000 in proceeds (minimum US$500,000), will be available to affordable loans to microentrepreneurs in coastal communities. This emphasises financial inclusion to ensure that everyone has access to the new value created by the blue economy.

The remaining US$1.5million will be used to make structural investments in small- and medium-sized businesses in the maritime and fisheries sector.

This is the first time an initial public offering (or IPO) has been listed on Blu-X’s sustainable finance platform. This means anyone, anywhere with access to the digital Blu-X platform can invest via their computer or phone, including foreign investors and members of Cabo Verde’s sizable diaspora.

This is the first private issuance without a public guarantee and is backed only by market demand. With a ‘greenshoe’ (or ‘blue aquasocks’, rather?) If there is more demand for bonds than the initial US$2.5m, the blue bond can generate US$3.5m in private or market-driven finance to support a sustainable blue economic system.

In a race against time during the UN’s Ocean Decade, this initial blue bond listing offers a potentially game-changing test case for Cabo Verde’s blue finance ambitions.

The strategic partnership between the Cabo Verde Stock Exchange (Bolsa de Valores de Cabo Verde – BVC) and UNDP under Cabo Verde’s integrated national financing framework (INFF)It has already led to four sustainable bond issues totaling USD32.5 millions.

Building on this momentum, the blue bond’s proceeds are exclusively destined for sustainable marine- and ocean-based projects generating returns for the economy, society, and environment – the triple bottom line.

With funding from the UN’s Joint SDG Fund and UNDP’s strategic and technical support, the Blu-X team at the BVC guided the Cabo-Verdean International Investment Bank through the process of issuing the bond framework, following an external review process that ensures adherence to blue principles.

What actually ‘counts as’ blue has recently been established through a new blue bond regulation in November 2022, enacted under the authority of Cabo Verde’s capital market regulatory agency.

The regulation draws on the Atlantic Technical University’s blue taxonomy, derived from a scientific study of existing blue economy activities and the potential of Cabo Verde’s shores.

The first of its kind in Africa, the regulation reflects the country’s pioneering role in defining blue finance norms, standards, and principles, which closely aligns with the Ocean Race’s Sustainability CharterCalls to corresponding numbers for a Universal Declaration of Ocean RightsAnchored at United Nations

Cabo Verde can be recognized by hoisting the blue flag. againSeychelles has emerged as a global leader in blue bonds, These financial instruments have been treated in the financial markets mainly as a secondary category of green bonds since the 2018 Seychelles blue bond issuance. However, what was once seen as a ‘shade of green’ is now emerging as a primary colour of its own.

Building on this initial proof of concept, the proliferation of blue bonds has the potential to transform financing for Cabo Verde’s strategic sustainable development agenda: Ambition 2030.

In a tourism-dependent country, external shocks can make it vulnerable. The growth of sustainable financial and the blue economy will encourage socio-economic decentralization.

As a small island developing state that is “99 percent ocean,” this stands to benefit the local communities that depend on marine environments and maritime spaces for their livelihoods.

Blue economy impact investing is a poignant example of why marine environments should be protected and used as catalysts for value-creation.

As more people believe that protecting the ocean resources is essential for growing and maintaining economies, we will see an increase in innovative businesses, initiatives, and transactions that promote marine conservation.

The rise of blue entrepreneurship, investment and collaboration opens the door to greater collaboration that will lead to collective action capable preventing a tragedy of the ocean commons.

By reshaping the economic incentive structure along these lines and leveraging them in local coastal communities, sustainable financing enhances cognizance about global ocean sustainability principles and incentivizes corresponding humans.

The Ocean Race Cabo Verde presented by Blu-X marks a growing interest in Cabo Verde’s emerging blue standard. Inspired by these blue finance bearings others may soon chart a similar path with the potential of collectively raising an entire fleet towards the UN Ocean Decade finish.

Christopher Marc LilybladHead of Strategy and Policy Unit at a.i. UNDP Cabo Verde; Development Economist & Head of Strategy and Economic Cluster, a.i. UNDP Guinea-Bissau


IPS UN Bureau



Source: ipsnews

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