UKEF provides £100m loan to redevelop interstate road in Benin

WCN Editorial Team 16 Jun 2020 AFRICA TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE

UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK Government’s export credit agency, has provided a loan of over £100m to the Government of Benin for the development of a 114-mile interstate road in the country.

The loan will be used for the redevelopment of the major interstate road between Bohicon and Parakou to connect Benin to its neighbouring country Niger.

UKEF loan to the Government of Benin will support Sogea-Satom, the UK construction firm which had secured the redevelopment contract.

The agreement follows the UK’s commitment to act as the ‘partner of choice’ for African nations, announced at the Africa Investment Summit that took place this January.

The UK Minister for Exports Graham Stuart said: “This deal will bring significant benefits to UK construction exporters and suppliers at a time when we need to keep trade flowing. It shows that UK businesses, with the right support from government, can continue to export anywhere in the world.

“That’s why UKEF’s support has been and will continue to be, vital in helping UK exporters win deals, fulfil orders and get paid during the Coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

“More trade will be essential if the UK is to overcome the unprecedented economic challenge posed by Coronavirus.”

When redeveloped, the road between Bohicon and Parakou will act as essential infrastructure for businesses in the country, improving access to landlocked African countries to the north.

The road is expected to help transform the country’s trading potential and will allow for the free flow of commercial traffic in the region.

Named as Project Spine, the straight road will run through the middle of the country and could become the economic backbone of Benin.

In a statement, the Benin Ministry of Finance said: “The government of Benin is proud to become the first country in the West African Economic and Monetary Union area to benefit from UKEF’s direct lending arrangement, which has enabled us to finance the rehabilitation of a critical infrastructure for the country at attractive conditions.”

Additionally, Sogea Sotum UK has also been given the responsibility of managing other large-scale projects in the country, including civil works, construction of buildings, refurbishment and development of roads and construction of marine infrastructure.

The company is also partnering with UK suppliers to contribute to its project pipeline in the region.

Sogea Satom UK, Africa CEO Jean-Michel Guelaud said: “We are excited about this project which help us expand our overseas footprint and will have a profound impact on trade in West Africa. UKEF’s support was fundamental to the securing of this contact and shows the UK government belief in the importance of trade with dynamic, emerging economies.”

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The road between Bohicon and Parakou could become the economic backbone of Benin. (Credit: Crown copyright.)

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