There is a growing need for Green Finance as Mauritius is engaged in promoting a shift to an Inclusive Green Economy, particularly in view of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in line with Government's ambitions listed in its three-year strategic plan. Developing Green Bonds market will enable Government and private sector operators to issue and list Green Bonds on the Stock Exchange Mauritius (SEM) so as to raise capital for their "green" projects.
The Minister of Financial Services and Good Governance, Mr. D. Sesungkur, made this statement today in Ebene at the opening ceremony of the Green Bonds and Green Economy Forum that will last till 11 May 2018. This joint initiative of the Office of the UNEP Resident Coordinator, in collaboration with the SEM, and support of the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE), will focus on environmental concerns and the possibilities of transition to Greener Economies at the forefront of political and regulatory agendas.
Minister Sesungkur highlighted that the finance community has a central role to play in addressing environmental issues and chart the course of businesses towards resilience and sustainability. Government has made provision in the 2017/2018 budget so that the interest income derived by both individuals and corporates from debentures issued to finance renewable energy projects would be granted tax-exempt status, he said.
According to him Green Bonds have emerged as an innovative financial instrument since 2007 and are helping economies to address infrastructure, climate and broader economic challenges. He added that the rapidly growing market for green bonds offers investors an effective way to enhance their green credentials and provides new sources of capital funding for issuers.
To this end, the Minister underlined that the SEM is actively engaged in the development of a Green Bonds market in Mauritius by providing public and private sector issuers with a regulated platform to finance their "green" projects. He pointed out that the SEM can be an ideal platform for the listing of green bonds issued by African issuers to raise capital from international investors given its multicurrency listing, trading and settlement as well as the numerous fiscal and tax advantages of the Mauritius jurisdiction.
With regard to dire climatic changes, Mr. Sesungkur recalled that it is time for world economies to switch from Development and Exploitation mode to a more Sustainable Development and Conscious mode. We need to embrace conscious leadership and at the same time, learn the importance of responsible investments, he added.
Speaking on the relevance of capacity building the Minister said that this will help raise awareness on Green Bonds and urged domestic as well as international investors to use them as a financing instrument to create a policy conducive environment.