Ivory Coast has made comeback to the international bond market, issuing its first dollar bonds since 2017 and managed to raise a whopping $8 billion in total from the Eurobond sale.
The West African nation – world’s largest cocoa producer, offered two tranches of dollar-denominated debt, worth $2.6 billion in total.
The first tranche was a 10-year bond with a coupon of 5.75%, while the second tranche was a 30-year bond with a coupon of 6.625%.
Both tranches were met with overwhelming demand from investors, with the order books reaching more than $9 billion, according to Bloomberg.
This means the bonds were oversubscribed by more than three times, indicating a strong appetite for Ivory Coast’s debt.
The successful bond issuance reflects the confidence international investors have in Ivory Coast’s economic recovery and its ability to service its debt obligations.
The country, which emerged from a decade-long civil war in 2011, has been one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa, with an average annual growth rate of 6.7% in 2022, according to the World Bank.
The country has also implemented several reforms to improve its business environment, governance, and public finances, earning praise from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other multilateral institutions.
The dollar bond issuance also proves a point for sub-Saharan Africa, as it is the first such issuance in the region in two years, following Ghana’s $3 billion bond sale in 2021.
Ivory Coast is the largest economy in the eight-member West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU).
One of the main advantages of the dollar bond issuance is that it makes Ivory Coast eligible for inclusion in key bond indexes, such as the J.P. Morgan Emerging Markets Bond Index (EMBI).
Inclusion in these indexes can attract more investors and increase liquidity for Ivory Coast’s bonds, as many fund managers use these indexes as benchmarks for their portfolios. This, in turn, can lower the borrowing costs for the country and provide a boost to its economic growth.