Best African Loan Arranger – Standard Chartered
During an extremely difficult year, Standard Chartered has shown its strength and leadership by continuing to find liquidity for its clients in the African loan market, by leading financings for some 18 borrowers – nearly three times more than the closest competitor to the bank.
“There are a lot of transactions that can be done in tough markets and we’ve been able to provide our clients with financing that they might not have been able to do elsewhere,” says Ben Constable, loan syndication manager for Africa at Standard Chartered in London. “What I’m most proud of over the past year is the way the bank has supported our clients with some smaller deals, pushing them over the line when others in the market have taken a little perspective. ”
But while supporting clients through the crisis was important, Standard Chartered has also worked on developing environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals on the continent.
The bank has a dedicated function that focuses on sustainable finance and provides support to help borrowers integrate ESG goals into their funding or create the type of ESG framework that is now common in Europe. “We work to help clients put in place holistic frameworks around the type of projects that can be classified as meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or to tie their progress towards ESG goals to the terms of their funding, ”Constable says.
“For us, sustainability is ingrained in everything we do in the origination process, right down to our internal systems to track eligibility, so it’s really important for us to help our clients in Africa access the sustainable finance market, because we see it as an increasingly important element. aspect for investors when looking for opportunities. ”
He adds: “Helping our African clients to articulate the strong development impact of their projects or to develop the right message around their ESG objectives so that we can comfort investors in the implementation and follow-up is very important for us”
However, he says the approach for Africa must be tailored and based on the development goals of each market.
“Helping clients set meaningful and ambitious goals that work for them is important and it may not necessarily be the same as what might work for a client in Europe, for example,” says Constable. “A one-size-fits-all approach is unlikely to work.”
With a long history on the continent and a field presence in 16 markets, he is well positioned to guide clients through the process. “Identifying the broader benefits for our clients of investing in better ESG monitoring is essential,” Constable says. “What we can do is look at the use of the recipes and find the angles of development that make sense,” he adds. “This is something that we really want to push forward – it fits very well with our desires as a stakeholder in these countries to help development and it provides a new flow of capital into the countries in which we operate.
One of the most important deals to emerge in 2020, before the disruption, was a $ 1.64 billion loan to Tanzania to finance a section of an East African railway supposed to provide a efficient connection for passengers and freight from the capital of Dodoma to the port city. from Dar Es Salaam. Standard Chartered coordinated what was an innovative deal involving export credit agencies from several countries, with EKF, the Danish ECA, which led the transaction on behalf of the others and the deal also included extended trade tranches by commercial banks and four DFIs.
“This means that we were able to achieve a much higher overall deal coverage percentage than we expected when we first looked at the project,” said the gendarme. “This is not the first time that the structure has been used, but it is the first time that it has been used on this scale in Africa.”