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Kenya: Billions raised to finance affordable and Eco-friendly student accommodation

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Kenya’s first green bond issuer, Acorn Holdings announced on Monday, 13 January 2020, that it has raised 4.3 billion shillings ($40 million) to finance the construction of affordable accommodation to house 5,000 university students in the country.

Structured as a project bond and the first with a deferred draw down structure, the programme is also the first ever to achieve green certification in Kenya which ensures that it genuinely contributes to reducing carbon emissions.

Speaking in Nairobi during the listing of Acorn Holdings at the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE), the Chairman of NSE, Steve Kimani said that the listing of the bond provides greater visibility, transparency and boosts investor confidence in the bond.

“Financial tools like green bonds are helping drive more capital to these projects and we commend Acorn for choosing this avenue to raise funds for their purpose-built student accommodation,” he said.

The construction of the environmentally friendly student accommodation will meet international green building standards for water, energy and construction materials, ensuring lower operation costs and a low-carbon impact over the long-term.

Kenya currently faces a chronic shortage of student accommodation as university enrollment in Kenya has grown from 27,000 students in 1990 to around 550,000 students today whilst there are less than 40,000 beds available in the universities, creating a huge deficit.

Acorn, the first purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) provider in Kenya, has stepped in to fill the gap.

Since 2015, Acorn has built three PBSA properties with over 1,600 beds and is keen to do more in order to address the urgent student housing deficit in Kenyan cities.

The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), a co-participant, is currently the largest single investor with a participation of 1.279 billion shillings ($9.8 million).



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