The international trade secretary, Liz Truss, announced that UK Export Finance (UKEF) has provided financing worth £620m to support UK infrastructure exports to Ghana, Zambia, Gabon and Uganda
Support provided by UKEF has unlocked overseas contracts for UK exporters to provide goods and services for 6 national infrastructure projects across Africa, bringing significant social and economic benefits to the continent.
International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss said: “Africa is home to 8 of the 15 fastest growing economies in the world and its economic prosperity matters to the UK.
“We want the UK to be the partner of choice in Africa so I am delighted that, with UKEF’s support, British expertise will form a key component of these infrastructure projects that will directly improve millions of lives.
“We are committed to strengthening our trading relationships in the region, to help deliver jobs and long-term, sustainable economic growth that will benefit African and British businesses alike.”
The £620m of financing support provided by UKEF will provide:
- 750 hospital beds for maternity care in Ghana;
- An upgraded terminal at Kumasi airport;
- 600 hospital beds and 108 rural healthcare centres powered by solar energy in Zambia;
- An industrial business park set to create 200,000 jobs in Uganda;
- Upgrades to over 80 km of road surfaces in Gabon; and
- Supply of equipment to a Ugandan roads project.
The announcements build on a range of infrastructure projects UK Export Finance has enabled in Africa, providing close to £2bn worth of support in the last two years. As such, UKEF has also increased its risk appetite in Egypt, Nigeria, and Rwanda, making extra support available for UK exports to Africa.
UKEF’s country limit for trade with Rwanda has increased fivefold, now worth up to £500m, while its available support to Nigeria has doubled to £1.25bn and its capacity to support exports to Egypt is now worth £1.25bn.
Commitment to UK trade with Africa
Fabio Camara, director at Contracta Construction UK, said: “The modernisation of Kumasi Teaching Hospital and airport terminal will bring real benefits and we are pleased to be leading on their delivery. UKEF support continues to be invaluable in our expansion into emerging economies.”
Carl Fergusson, chief executive officer, Colas Limited, said: “UKEF’s flexible finance was key to securing this contract, which will have a marked impact on the lives of people in Gabon and on our future growth.
“Their support for this project and of other infrastructure projects in the region demonstrates the UK government’s commitment to growing UK trade with Africa.”
Transformational for healthcare
Frederik Hsu, deputy chairman, NMS Infrastructure Limited, said: “This high social impact project will be transformational on healthcare and the lives of local people, especially in remote areas.
“UKEF’s flexible finance has made it possible for our company to deliver these benefits while also generating significant exports for the UK as well as creating hundreds of local jobs in Zambia.
“We would have been unable to commit to the delivery of this project without the professional support of UKEF and the team at DIT. We look forward to starting these projects and seeing the impact they will have on the local economy.”