Imagine walking several hours a day to fetch clean water instead of going to school or working? That’s everyday life for millions of people around the world. The burdensome chore falls mostly upon women in rural areas, sucking up their time, energy, and well-being.
In Côte d’Ivoire, a new project that involves the construction of 1,378 new water wells in remote, rural areas, along with a network of pipes, pumps and solar panels, will bring drinking water to around one tenth of the country’s 30-million population.
Valued at EUR 200 million, the project is financed by mandated lead arranger KfW IPEX-Bank of Germany and The Swedish Export Credit Corporation (SEK) through a Social Loan with guarantees from EKN and the Dutch ECA Atradius. The borrower is Côte d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Finance, while the buyer is the Ministry of Hydraulics. The project has a total construction period of 4 years and a credit period of 12 years.
From Israel, Baran serves as EPC contractor, with Bluebird Finance acting as financial advisor. “This landmark deal is the pure essence of our work: an export finance deal which will enable clean and accessible drinking water for 3 million people,” says Ram Shalita, CEO at Bluebird, which has arranged EUR 1.7 billion in loans for infrastructure projects in Africa over the past six years.
At EKN, senior underwriter Michael Regmert agrees. “EKN is very proud of being part of the financing solution for this sustainable project, which is in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The pandemic caused delays in finalising the deal but it was worth the wait.”
UN SDG No. 6 focuses on ensuring a clean and stable water supply and effective water sanitation for all people by the year 2030. The goal reflects the fact that many people throughout the world lack these basic services. About 40 percent of the world’s population is affected by a lack of water.
Baran International, a subsidiary of Israel-based contractor Baran Group, is the main engineering and construction firm, as well as the exporter.
The borrower is Côte d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Finance, while the buyer is the country’s Ministry of Hydraulics, via its water utility, Office National de l’Eau Potable.
The project is part of the government’s ‘Water For All’ initiative, a multi-year plan to improve water supply in rural areas – particularly in villages where residents must walk several kilometres to reach a well.
The effort to bring water to such communities is “a fantastic project” and the first such transaction in Côte d’Ivoire, says Per Edlundh, director, export and project finance at SEK.
One million solar panels are due to be installed at seven new solar parks in Angola – hitting a major milestone in the country’s transition to clean, renewable energy. Sweden’s EPC Alliance set the stage for progress with a packaged solution combining 15 suppliers with comprehensive export credit financing.
Svensk Exportkredit (SEK) is financing one of Turkey’s highest priority infrastructure projects, an electrified railway. It creates new business for Swedish export companies that deliver everything from signal and telecommunication systems to engineering know-how and production technology for high-speed rail.
Infrastructure is crucial to economic growth and quality of life for citizens, since better roads allow more people to participate in the economy and reduce congestion and pollution. Ghana’s Ministry of Roads has initiated several road upgrade projects, two of which are financed by EKN and The Swedish Export Credit Corporation (SEK): “Streets of Accra” and “Streets of Tamale”, which entail surfacing of local roads and construction of drainage systems, with QGMI Group as chief EPC contractor.