Right Honourable Andrew Mitchell MP joins stakeholders at COP28 to celebrate progress on the newly incorporated Dhamana Guarantee Company
5th Dec 2023
Dubai, United Arab Emirates: On the dedicated Finance Day of COP28, the Right Honourable Andrew Mitchell MP, Minister of State of the United Kingdom for Development and Africa, joined stakeholder representatives in the UK Pavilion to celebrate progress on the newly incorporated Dhamana Guarantee Company Limited (Dhamana). The new guarantee company has been created to unlock local capital for sustainable infrastructure and projects that will advance climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts across East Africa.
Dhamana was established in Nairobi, Kenya, by InfraCo Africa, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), and Cardano Development with support from FSD Africa. The company draws on the success of other PIDG-supported credit enhancement facilities, InfraCredit Nigeria and InfraZamin Pakistan, and recently received significant funding commitments from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and CPF Financial Services (CPF), who were represented alongside PIDG at the meeting with Mr Mitchell in Dubai.
Mr Mitchell said, “As our recent white paper set out, the UK is committed to supporting countries that want to draw on their own resources to tackle climate change. This investment will provide the guarantees needed to enable Kenyan pension funds to fund climate resilient infrastructure in Kenya. It is fantastic to see that PIDG, Cardano Development and FSD Africa are collaborating with the Africa Development Bank and a Kenyan pension fund to deliver this new approach and demonstrate how African resources can be used to fund African development.”
Dhamana’s initial focus of operations will be in Kenya, a country which holds significant wealth in pension,[i] life insurance and private wealth funds. However, in Kenya, as for much of East Africa, cash-flow based investments and infrastructure projects are largely reliant on US dollar denominated bank loans. Such loans seldom have sufficient tenor length to ensure project success, and can expose borrowers to currency exchange risk, challenges which Dhamana’s local currency guarantees will serve to mitigate.
Dhamana CEO, Christopher Olobo, said, “The focus of COP28 is around the need to unite, act and deliver for climate action. Dhamana epitomises this ethos by bringing partners together to facilitate a step-change in how we finance East Africa’s development, accelerate access to climate-resilient infrastructure and achieve the UN SDGs. With the backing of our shareholders, Dhamana will strengthen local capital markets, connecting bankable projects with untapped pools of domestic institutional capital and ensuring that investors have the comfort they need to use their funds for positive change.”
InfraCo Africa’s CEO, Gilles Vaes, said, “We are extremely proud of the work undertaken by all parties to establish Dhamana, and to attract significant funding commitments which will enable it to deliver on its vision.” Emphasising the significance of Dhamana for climate action, PIDG CEO, Philippe Valahu, said, “As part of the wider PIDG suite of credit enhancement facilities, Dhamana’s local currency guarantees will support the growth of local capital markets, unlocking domestic capital to underpin a thriving ecosystem for climate-resilient infrastructure and project development across East Africa.”
Joost Zuidberg, CEO Cardano Development enthusiastically stated, “The power of Dhamana lies in its ability to catalyse substantial investments from East Africa’s institutional capital, fortifying the bedrock for the sustained financing of the region’s burgeoning economic landscape. At the heart of Cardano Development lies our incubation and management of guarantee solutions for emerging and frontier markets, we are delighted to work alongside AfDB, County Pension Fund, InfraCo Africa, PIDG and FSDA on this innovation and together empower Dhamana with the essential support and capital required to realise this pivotal mission.”
Mark Napier, CEO FSD Africa said, “FSD Africa is committed to supporting local currency bond markets in Africa as well as local currency credit enhancement facilities as they play an important de-risking role. This role is pivotal in the mobilisation of climate finance from both local and international owners of capital to African economies that require different sources of capital to fund their green growth. FSD Africa is particularly pleased to provide seed funding for Dhamana Guarantee Company Limited’s Technical Assistance Facility which will provide project preparation and transaction support to potential issuers of innovative climate financing debt instruments, thereby increasing the pool of bankable climate-resilient projects in East Africa.”
Following the recent announcement of the African Development Bank’s Board approval for a US$10m equity investment into Dhamana, AfDB Vice President for Private Sector, Solomon Quaynor, said, “Dhamana’s credit enhancement offering aligns well with several of AfDB’s strategic objectives, including our commitment to stimulating local currency debt markets as a route to unlocking new sources of green and sustainable finance for the real sector and infrastructure development across East Africa.”
Dr. Hosea Kili, CEO of CPF concluded, saying, “CPF Financial Services is excited to be part of the investors in Dhamana, a new guarantee company to serve the East African region. Dhamana is envisioned to unlock local currency debt from untapped pools of capital in Kenya and the East Africa region, providing guarantees for local currency bonds invested in by East African pension funds, insurers, and other financial institutions. This guarantee fund will enable infrastructure and other sectors to raise more money locally in KES, without the borrowers suffering from KES-to-USD devaluation.”