World Bank Issues Sustainable Development Bond while Highlighting the Importance of Accelerating Equality

WASHINGTON  – The World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, IBRD, Aaa/AAA) today issued a Sustainable Development Bond while raising awareness for the importance of investing in women and girls to accelerate economic development, reduce poverty and build sustainable societies around the world. A key investor in the 1.5 billion CNH bond was Gavekal Capital Limited, and the sole lead manager was HSBC.

Gender equality is a priority for the World Bank. The World Bank’s year-long Accelerate Equality initiative is exploring the important progress made and lessons learned to close gender gaps globally over the last 10 years. For example, maternal mortality has decreased by around 10 percent, and girls’ enrollment in secondary school has increased by 5 percent. The Women, Business and the Law index shows that women’s economic rights have improved, and there are now more women than ever before in national parliaments across the globe.

However, progress has been slow in many important areas. Female labor force participation rates are often low, significant gender wage gaps persist, and, in many countries, women are still clustered into sectors and occupations typically associated with lower profits, absence of work contracts, and lack of protection. In addition, multiple crises, including COVID-19, the effects of climate change, increased commodity prices and in some cases, conflict, has only compounded the challenges for women and girls, exacerbating barriers to participating in the economy and public life, and risks reversing decades of progress made. The World Bank’s Gender Strategy recognizes that stronger and better resourced efforts are needed to address gender inequalities and works to close these gaps.

Christine Cheung, Head of Asian Fixed Income, Gavekal, said, “Given Gavekal’s focus on responsible investment, we are pleased to support the World Bank’s sustainable development activities around the globe by investing in this transaction and highlighting gender equality. We look forward to working with the World Bank and other high-quality issuers to encourage other ESG-related bonds in the future.”

Heike Reichelt, Head of Investor Relations and Sustainable Finance, World Bank, said, “We are encouraged by the growth of the sustainable finance market with more investors focused on investments that help make a positive difference. Making progress to achieve gender equity is a core development objective and is central to the World Bank’s own goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. We appreciate the continued investor support for this important topic.”

 

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