African construction trade boosted by UK support

Having more than trebled its investment in Africa in the last year, UK Export Finance has also introduced a new tool to encourage trade.

The support for markets in Africa has shown to have increased from approximately £600m in 2018-19 to over £2.3bn in 2020-2021. Supported construction projects include the widening of the Douala Road from two to six lanes in Cameroon, which will support the trade route from the capital Yaounde to the port of Douala.

The UK recently held the second Africa Investment Conference to boost economic co-operation with African nations, particularly greener, climate-friendly projects.

The Growth Gateway has also been launched – a digital tool to link African and British businesses to UK Government trade, finance and investment services and opportunities. This service is designed to provide practical online support to businesses in Africa who want to export to and invest in the UK, and businesses in the UK that want to export to and invest in Africa, backed up by a team of trade and investment specialists.

Anne-Marie Trevalan, Secretary of State for international trade, hosted the one-day virtual event, which aimed to unlock millions of pounds of new investment, especially in clean energy industries in both the UK and across Africa.

“Two years on from the inaugural UK-Africa Investment Summit, the UK’s ambition to be Africa’s investment partner of choice has never been stronger” according to Trevalan.

“The continent has huge economic potential and our continued partnership will help businesses capitalise on investment oportunities, which will in turn support high value jobs and boost enterprise in every part of the UK”.

“This year’s conference focused on the importance of resilient, sustainable investment to support Africa as it pivots towards a more environmentally friendly growth trajectory, and I look forward to working with leaders from the continent as they continue on this path to a greener future”.

Gerry Grimstone, Minister for investment, said: “At the first UK-Africa Investment Summit the Prime Minister stated his intention to make the UK Africa’s investment partner of choice”.

“This years conference is a key part of that legacy, bringing our business communities together to make the case for a closer investment partnership with a renewed focus on sustainability and clean growth”.

Vicky Ford, Minister for Africa, said: “The UK is deepening it’s economic ties with countries across Africa. This conference is a fantastic opportunity to bring British and African businesses together to unlock millions of pounds of new investement, especially in clean energy industries in both the UK and across Africa.

There is so much more that the UK and African countries can achieve together. Growth Gateway will make it easier than ever for African and British businesses to acces the support they need to boost two-way trade and investment”.

Last year’s virtual conference was attended by over 2,800 delegates from over 40 African countries and across the UK.

New projects in Africa suppored by UKEF in 2021 included:-

  • Over £120m worth of support to expand and modernise Ghana’s Kumasi Market, the largest market in West Africa and visited by 800,000 people per day.
  • Over £40m in support enabled Gloucestershire-based Mabey Bridge to secure a contract to build and export 87 emergency bridges in Ghana for areas impacted by flooding.
  • UKEF support enabled Leicestershire based construction equipment supplier Quarry Manufacturing & Supplies to secure a deal worth £1.5m to support road construction in North Tema, Sourthern Ghana.
  • UKEF support also enabled Northern Irish SME Tesab Engineering to win a deal worth £1m to supply manufacturing and industrial equipment to support construction projects in Ghana.
  • £236m of support for the construction of six new hospitals across Cote D’Ivoire, and the construction of four bridges to improve trade links with neighbouring counties Ghana, Guinea, Liberia and Burkina Faso.
  • UKEF support in the Ivory Coast enabled Dints International to win a contract worth £10m to supply the equipment needed for the construction of five high priority road networks in the Cote d’Ivoire.
  • In Egypt, £1.2bn worth of support for the construction of two electric monorails supporting sustainable transport in Cairo, the largest amount of financing UKEF has provided on an overseas infrastructur project.
  • In Cameroon, £115m worth of support will improve trade links by widening the Douala Road from two to six lanes. This project will support the crucial trade route from the port at Douala to the capital Yaounde as well as to landlocked neighbours Chad and the Central African Republic.
  • Northern Irish manufacturing company CDE Global won a multi-million pound contract to expand production capacities at a sand wet processing quarry in Oueslatia, Central Tunisia with UKEF support.