The Middle East and North Africa’s green finance market is moving towards mainstream, with total issuance jumping by 122 percent in 2021 compared to a year ago, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. 

Green and sustainability-linked debt issuance in the MENA region reached $18.64 billion during the year, up from $4.5 billion in 2020, according to data from Bloomberg’s Capital Markets League Tables. 

The size and quantity of issuance grew last year, as more participants entered the market, including Riyad Bank, National Bank of Kuwait and Qatar National Bank, which joined First Abu Dhabi Bank, Emirates NBD and Saudi National Bank in committing towards ESG debt financing in 2021. 

Last year also saw landmark deals, including Egypt’s debut $3 billion green loan, Masdar Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company’s $100 million revolving green loan and Etihad Airways’ $1.2 billion sustainability-linked loan. 

According to Bloomberg, the issuance in the region also outpaced global growth, although the market continues to account for a small fraction of global volumes, which reached a total of $1.62 trillion in 2021, compared with $765 billion in 2020. 

Data also showed that more green loans were issued than green bonds in the region last year. Syndicated green loans reached a total of $6.95 billion, while green bounds accounted for $1.6 billion. 

The green loans include Masdar ($100 million), Saudi Electricity ($500 million), Egypt ($1.5 billion) and Red Sea Development ($3.8 billion), while green bonds include FAB’s series of six multi-currency green bonds totalling $605 million. 

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria) 

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