UK government helps UK companies export emergency bridges to Ghana

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  • UK’s £42m export finance guarantee enables Mabey Bridge to export 87 emergency bridges to flood-affected areas across Ghana
  • The company will manufacture the bridges at its factory in Gloucestershire and train local engineers in Ghana to install them in the future.
  • The latest deal comes as UKEF announces its support for African markets has reached a 20-year high, providing more than £2.3bn in 2020-21

A Gloucestershire-based manufacturer has been awarded a contract to supply 87 emergency bridges for use in flood-affected areas across Ghana following a £42million guarantee from UK Export Finance (UKEF), as the UK is preparing to host the 3rd Africa Investment Conference today.

The UK government is seeking to boost major investment in Africa at the conference by helping buyers and project sponsors on the continent access long-term finance from the UK export credit agency, UKEF. The UK agency can help foreign countries with finance, loans and insurance to make their plans a reality, if they commit to sourcing goods and services from the UK.

UKEF funding for projects in Africa has increased significantly from approx. £600m in 2018-19 to over £2.3bn in 2020-21 – the highest amount since 2000. This includes $280m to fund six new hospitals in Ivory Coast and 1 £.2 billion to support the construction of two electric monorails in Egypt.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Secretary of State for International Trade and UK International Adaptation and Resilience Champion for the COP26 Presidency, said:

This is a great example of an innovative UK company using its expertise to help countries adapt to climate change. This program will help mitigate potentially catastrophic flood damage, while supporting economic growth by protecting community connectivity across Ghana.

The UK is committed to supporting a continent that is safer, greener, more open and more resilient to shocks and stresses – using trade and investment relationships to deliver sustainable growth.

Mabey Bridge will design, manufacture and export essential infrastructure from its Lydney plant in Ghana. They will also provide training to the Ghanaian government and local engineers on how to install them, providing the expertise needed to enable future construction.

Ghana’s coastline stretches about 340 miles, with a quarter of its population living by the sea, and the country is badly affected by coastal erosion. Heavy rainfall also destroyed bridges in its towns, cutting off access.

The new bridge scheme was developed by the Ministry of Roads and Highways of the Government of Ghana as part of its strategy to improve the connectivity of rural communities after the disaster. This will enable faster, safer and more efficient access to employment, education and health care.

Mabey Bridge has supplied modular steel bridges to rural and urban areas in over 150 countries around the world and has often responded to natural disasters, with its bridges being rapidly deployed within days or weeks. Working closely with national governments and NGOs, they have worked in countries in North and South America, Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, Australia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Michael Treacy, CEO of Mabey Bridge, said:

Sustainable and climate-resilient infrastructure is critically important for post-disaster recovery and development. Funding from UK Export Finance will enable us to carry out this ambitious programme, in partnership with the Ghanaian government.

The financing structure involves UKEF providing a buyer credit guarantee worth £42m on loans to the Ghanaian government to fund the project, with a commercial facility of £6.5m provided by Standard Chartered Bank. The deal will be structured on a project finance basis and raised through Standard Chartered Bank as lead arranger and lender, backed by a UKEF guarantee.

Desislava Radeva, Director, Structured Export Finance, Standard Chartered Bank, said:

We are extremely proud to reinforce our position as the trusted bank of choice with the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Ghana and to strengthen our collaboration with UKEF in delivering this important funding.

Fund

About UK Export Finance

UK Export Finance is the UK’s export credit agency and a government department, working alongside the Department for International Trade as an integral part of its strategy and operations.

Founded in 1919, it exists to ensure that no viable UK export fails for lack of private market finance. It provides finance and insurance to help exporters win, fulfill and get paid for export contracts.

About the Mabey Bridge

Mabey Bridge is a leading international supplier of high quality modular steel bridge solutions. It specializes in rapid-build, pre-engineered modular steel bridges to enable accelerated construction of bridges in urban and rural areas. It also provides bridging solutions for the construction, oil & gas and mining industries as well as for specialized military applications, humanitarian emergencies and disaster relief.

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