The Government has provided financing worth £620 million to support projects and UK exports to Africa, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss has announced.
The Secretary of State told the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London that the money will be used to support infrastructure projects including financing hospital beds and healthcare centres in Ghana and Zambia, a business park in Uganda and road upgrades in Gabon.
Ms Truss said: “Africa is home to eight 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 economic growth that will benefit African and British businesses alike.”
The funding comes as UK Export Finance (UKEF), which helps UK businesses win contracts and financial support overseas, provided almost £2 billion of support in the last two years.
This is primarily through underwriting loans, providing advice and also through some direct funding.
According to UKEF, the level of funding and underwriting has increased from £90 million in 2015-16 to £717 million last year.
The increases have come following UKEF raising its spending limits and increasing appetite for investment into Egypt, Nigeria and Rwanda.
In the latter, the country limit for UKEF has increased fivefold to up to £500 million, with support to Nigeria doubled to £1.25 billion – the same level for support for exports to Egypt.
The Government has been keen to reconnect with Egypt, ending a ban on British travellers heading to the Sharm el-sheikh region. TUI and EasyJet both announced plans to reintroduce flights and holidays to the region this year.
Some of the main projects supported by the fund, which is overseen by the Department of International Trade, include:
Support worth £110 million for Contracta Construction UK will upgrade Kumasi teaching hospital, creating 750 beds for maternity care.
£40 million worth of support to enable the further development of Kumasi Airport, improving transport links for tourist and commercial use – increasing capacity by an extra one million passengers a year.
A direct loan of £244 million for 108 rural healthcare clinics – powered by solar energy – and three hospitals by NMS Limited.
£40 million to upgrade 83km of roads through the capital Libreville by Colas (Gabon) UK Ltd.
Support worth almost £185 million to build the Kampala Industrial Business Park. Belfast-based Lagan Group limited has partnered with Ugandan company DOTT services on the project which aims to create 200,000 jobs.
A £1.5 million loan to enable the sale of machinery from Unatrac for use on road building to the north east of the country.