ABU DHABI - The United Arab Emirates topped regional green bond league tables, with sales reaching US$10.7 billion, up nearly 170 percent and accounting for approximately 45 percent of regional totals.

Data from Bloomberg’s Capital Markets League Tables has revealed that in 2023, annual issuances of green social, sustainable, and sustainability-linked bonds (GSSB) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) hit a new record of US$24 billion, an increase of 155 percent.

This increase was driven primarily by growth in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which accounted for 77 percent of total regional issuances.

The year in which the UAE hosted the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) was notable for the large number of debut sustainable debt issuances from the country’s corporates and government entities, which amounted to US$7.95 billion in total.

The 11 debut green issuers included bonds or sukuk from DP World sukuk (US$1.5 billion), Sharjah government (US$1 billion), TAQA (US$1 billion), Emirates NBD (US$750 million), Masdar (US$750 million), Mubadala (US$750 million), Aldar sukuk (US$500 million), Commercial Bank of Dubai (US$500 million) and, Five Holdings (US$350 million), in addition to green Sukuk from Dubai Islamic Bank (US$750 million) and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (US$500 million).

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia accounted for 32 percent of total regional volumes, up 69 percent year-on-year.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund was the region’s largest issuer in 2023, driven by issuances of US$5.5 billion in February 2023.

Other notable Saudi issuers Bloomberg highlighted were Saudi National Bank (US$60.69 million), Saudi Electricity Company (US$1.2 billion) and Al Rajhi Bank (US$1 billion).

2023 was dubbed a “milestone year” for green Sukuk, with Islamic issuances accounting for more than a quarter of MENA totals for the first time.

Green Sukuk totalling approximately US$6.5 billion were issued in the MENA region in 2023. This represents more than half of all global green Sukuk, with notable sales by ADIB (US$500 million), DP World (US$1.5 Billion), First Abu Dhabi Bank (approximately US$350 million), Majid Al Futtaim (US$500 million), and Aldar (US$500 million).