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PRESS RELEASE September 24, 2020

Fukoku Life Invests in World Bank Bonds and Highlights Support for Education During COVID-19

TOKYO, September 24, 2020 - World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, IBRD, Aaa/AAA) issued a 20-year USD 70 million Sustainable Development Bond while engaging with investors to highlight the importance of access to education for children and young people following the spread of COVID-19.

Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance Company (Fukoku Life) was the sole investor in this transaction and Morgan Stanley & Co International PLC is the sole underwriter and distributor of the bond.

Yoshiyuki Arima, Japan Representative, World Bank Treasury, said, “Access to education is a priority for the World Bank and key to our mission to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. We are pleased to see investor interest in communicating the sustainable purpose of their investment and raising awareness for the need to ensure continued access to quality education as countries grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Takehiko Watabe, Director and Managing Executive Officer, Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance Company, said “Fukoku life has supported children as a corporate activity including donations to the Children’s Cancer Association of Japan for 15 years since 1968. Fukoku life is very pleased to support the World Bank's sustainable development activities including children's education in developing countries during COVID-19 pandemic and engage with the World Bank as the first investor to highlight the importance of education during COVID-19 pandemic through investment. As a mutual life insurance company with a strong focus on the public, we strive to be an organization that promotes real mutual aid based on a corporate concept which is called "THE MUTUAL”.  In terms of asset management for our stakeholders, collaboration with the World Bank helps us achieve not only a financial benefit through investment, but also contribute positively to society in line with our company philosophy.”

Yuki Hashimoto, Managing Director, Head of Fixed Income Division in Japan at Morgan Stanley, said, “This new Sustainable Development Bond demonstrates the willingness of investors such as Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance Company to take an active role in the COVID-19 pandemic response, especially when it comes to critical themes such as youth support and education. As the coronavirus pandemic takes its toll—and impacts are felt most acutely in vulnerable communities and by children around the world, we are proud to connect capital to institutions like the World Bank, capable of addressing the biggest threats facing future generations at the scale that is necessary to meaningfully improve education, health, and environmental outcomes.”

World Bank bonds support the financing of sustainable development projects and programs across a range of sectors in member countries to achieve positive social and environmental impacts in member countries. These projects are particularly important in the context of COVID-19, and the World Bank Group is aiming to deploy up to USD150-160 billion in financing as part of its pandemic response programs. These programs include projects that support the education of children and youth globally. More information on the World Bank Group’s response to coronavirus is available at: https://www.worldbank.org/en/who-we-are/news/coronavirus-covid19.

Ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all
Global school closures to slow the spread of COVID-19 are negatively impacting children and youth’s safety, wellbeing, learning, socio-emotional development and future productivity. At its peak, 90% of students or 1.5 billion children and young people were out of school due to school closures. While countries have begun to reopen schools, 990 million children, around two-thirds of the world learners, remain in closed education systems. Although remote learning efforts are widespread across the globe, the digital divide will widen existing gaps in education equality, specifically for vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. 

The World Bank’s education program aims to partner with countries to design projects to help bridge the digital divide by expanding internet access and access to devices; increasing learning resources available to students using a combination of online, TV, radio and print media; investing in teachers’ and school leaders’ skills to effectively deliver remote and blended learning; and supporting parents and caregivers to facilitate remote learning. The World Bank is also working with countries to provide schools with infrastructure to reopen with protective facilities, health screening, and social distancing.

Investments made in remote learning during the crisis serve as a launchpad to more resilient, equitable, and personalized education systems.  The World Bank’s operational and policy support is not just responding to the crisis, but ‘building back better’ so that systems don’t replicate the problems that led to a learning crisis before COVID-19 and are better prepared for future shocks.

About the World Bank
The World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, IBRD), rated Aaa/AAA (Moody’s/S&P), is an international organization created in 1944. It operates as a global development cooperative owned by 189 nations. It provides its members with financing, expertise and coordination services so they can achieve equitable and sustainable economic growth in their national economies and find effective solutions to pressing regional and global economic and environmental problems. The World Bank Group has two main goals: to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. The World Bank (IBRD) seeks to achieve them primarily by providing loans, risk management products, and expertise on development-related disciplines to its borrowing member government clients in middle-income countries and other creditworthy countries, and by coordinating responses to regional and global challenges. The World Bank has been issuing bonds in the international capital markets for over 70 years to fund its sustainable development activities and achieve a positive impact. Information on bonds for investors is available on the World Bank Treasury website: www.worldbank.org/debtsecurities.

With annual issuances between US$55-US$65 billion, World Bank bonds support the financing of programs that further the Sustainable Development Goals. World Bank bonds are aligned with the Sustainability Bond Guidelines published by the International Capital Market Association. The World Bank is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Green Bond and Social Bond Principles. A key priority for the World Bank’s capital markets’ engagement is building strategic partnerships with investors to promote the importance of private sector financing in sustainable development.

Disclaimers
Net proceeds of the bonds described herein are not committed or earmarked for lending to, or financing of, any particular projects or programs, and returns on the bonds described herein are not linked to the performance of any particular project or program.

This press release is not an offer for sale of securities of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development ("IBRD"), also known in the capital markets as "World Bank". Any offering of World Bank securities will take place solely on the basis of the relevant offering documentation including, but not limited to, the prospectus, term sheet and/or final terms, as applicable, prepared by the World Bank or on behalf of the World Bank, and is subject to restrictions under the laws of several countries. World Bank securities may not be offered or sold except in compliance with all such laws.

 

 


Contacts

World Bank Treasury
Heike Reichelt
Head of Investor Relations and Sustainable Finance
debtsecurities@worldbank.org
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