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Commerzbank, Investec jointly arrange financing to provide safe drinking water in rural Côte d’Ivoire

26th April 2023

By: Natasha Odendaal

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Investec and Commerzbank, in collaboration with Swiss Export Risk Insurance and Atradius Dutch State Business, have concluded a loan agreement with Côte d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Economy and Finance to finance a critical drinking water project for the country.

The €178-million loan will enable Côte d’Ivoire to develop and rehabilitate essential water supply infrastructure across up to 111 locations, enhancing access to potable water in these areas, through a sub-project of the Ministry of Hydraulics’ 'Water for All' priority programme to promote access to potable water in remote villages in Cote d‘Ivoire.

The project, comprising 111 sites that will be organised into four lots for execution and to which the essential supply infrastructure will connect, facilitates the safe and efficient abstraction, treatment, storage and distribution of drinking water in rural areas that have been characterised by damaged or absent water infrastructure and vital water treatment processes.

All infrastructure will be designed and installed by engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor and water transmission and treatment project specialist Rimon Group.

The development activities will include borehole drilling and electrical pump installation, the construction of water reservoirs and associated treatment units and distribution pipes.

Commerzbank, which acted as mandated lead arranger, will provide €152-million, covered by Switzerland’s export credit agency, Swiss Export Risk Insurance and re-insured by Atradius Dutch State Business, with Investec as co-arranger for the commercial loan, providing the €26-million balance of the commercial loan.

Bluebird Finance and Projects acted as lead financial arranger for the EPC contractor.

“The project will serve about 1.3-million Ivoirians who are impacted by accessibility to clean drinking water, a number that is expected to rise to 2.15-million by 2035,” says Investec head of structured debt and trade finance Brian Irvine.

Once operational, the project will relieve communities from manually transporting water on foot, which, in addition to being labour intensive, leads to health issues that impact the quality of living, workforce availability and life expectancy.

The project is in line with United Nations Water’s water financing goals and contributes to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: clean water and sanitation, while also fulfilling many other SDGs through water’s association with poverty, health, food security and gender equality.

“This is evidenced through the anticipated benefits of the project which, once implemented, will reduce diseases relating to contaminated drinking water, improve hygiene standards and prolong life expectancy, generate labour opportunities during construction, and encourage associated commercial and social activities during operation,” Irvine says.

“This is another successful milestone for Bluebird Finance & Projects in the water sector in Africa. This project is the essence of export finance and sustainable practices, and will improve the lives of millions of people in the long run,” adds Bluebird CEO and partner Ram Shalita, which over the last seven years has closed infrastructure deals worth about $1.8-billion in Africa.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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