The UK’s export credit agency has granted its largest-ever loan to West Africa to encourage UK exports. UK Export Finance (UKEF) has agreed to lend EUR 241 million to NMS Infrastructure, a Sub-Saharan African infrastructure project developer.
The dual-tranche facility will assist NMS Infrastructure in the development of six hospitals under an export contract with the Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene of Côte d’Ivoire. The total project, at EUR 326 million, is for the design, construction, and equipment of six hospitals in Bouaké, Boundiali, Katiola, Kouto, Minignan, and Ouangolodougou.
It is envisaged that the project would provide equipped and contemporary healthcare locations that will serve over a million local inhabitants.
The funding arrangement makes use of both buyer credit and direct loans to the government of Côte d’Ivoire.
The development of the project has already commenced, with completion expected for 2024.
GKB Ventures, a boutique consultancy firm designated consultants to the Côte d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Economy and Finance, led a tender process for the project’s funding, together with an international loan syndicate.
MUFG Bank was named preferred lender and mandated lead arranger for the project’s finance after the bidding procedure ended.
The borrower’s legal adviser on the project was KSK Société d’Avocats, a law company in Abidjan, with Ashurst acting as legal advice to the lenders.
This project is a high priority for the government of Côte d’Ivoire, and procuring a commercial credit prior to the facility granted by UKEF “allowed the project to move quickly,” UKEF noted in a news statement on 5 August.
UKEF has allocated GBP 2 billion to new business support in Côte d’Ivoire.
HM Trade Commissioner for Africa Emma Wade-Smith said in a statement, “This record-breaking UKEF facility in West Africa underlines the UK government’s strong commitment to promoting sustainable economic growth throughout the African continent.”
Wade-Smith also stated that the loan “further illustrates the positive impact that UK businesses are having in Africa, working in collaboration with governments and the private sector to foster growth, investment, and job creation.” It also highlights the tremendous range of opportunities we see for UK firms wanting to grow and expand into new African markets.”
HM Ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire, HE Catherine Brooker, added that the project is critical for modernizing the country’s healthcare facilities, saying, “Thanks to the UK government’s support, through UKEF, UK companies are ideally placed to support infrastructure development in West Africa and seize the huge export potential that brings.”