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Gabon Pioneers Africa’s First Debt-for-nature Swap

The plan is to buy up at least $450 million of its government debt and switch it to an eco-friendly blue bond. Gabon’s beaches and coastal waters host the world’s largest population of leatherback turtles, with estimates putting it at nearly a third of the global population of the endangered species. At their simplest, debt-for-nature swaps see a country’s debt bought up by a bank or specialist investor and replaced with cheaper ones, usually with the help of a multilateral development bank “credit guarantee” or “risk insurance”. The savings are intended to be used to fund conservation. In a regulatory filling by the central African country on the London Stock Exchange, it said it had “launched invitations to tender for purchase by the Republic for cash its 2025 Notes and 2031 Notes”. This prompted the three Eurobonds that it referred to rise as much as 2.2 cents on the dollar.