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Middle East and Africa: Best Bank for BRI-related Financing in the Region 2017

Bank of China

The internationalization of the renminbi goes hand in hand with China’s Belt and Road Initiative. As Chinese investment grows globally, so will the use of its currency. Indeed, some analysts expect full convertibility of the currency to come in the next few years.

One milestone came in September 2016 when the renminbi was adopted in the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights Basket.

The currency is increasingly being considered as an international reserve currency, especially in Africa, which receives a lot of Chinese investment each year.

As Chinese investment flows into the Middle East and Africa, and as the renminbi continues to grow in importance, banks are expected to benefit from issuing renminbi-denominated debt. In April this year, Bank of China made history by issuing $3 billion-worth of bonds in four different currencies through its branches in Macau, Dubai, Luxembourg, Sydney and Johannesburg.

But it was through its Johannesburg branch that Bank of China issued offshore renminbi debt: Rmb1.5 billion ($230 million) with a coupon of 4.88% fixed over three years. All proceeds from the bond will be used to fund Belt and Road projects.

This was a particular highlight for African capital markets as it was the first renminbi bond offering from Africa as well as the first renminbi public offering in 2017.

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