The UK has provided loan guarantees allowing Standard Chartered Bank to organise financing, enabling British exporter Innovo Group to secure a €415 million contract for essential sustainable infrastructure projects in Benguela Province, Angola, situated on the west coast adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean.

More than a third of the contract value – exceeding £140 million – will be allocated to UK goods and services, benefiting both British and Angolan communities through this agreement.

The backing comes from UK Export Finance (UKEF) – the government’s export credit agency – facilitating projects to enhance the province’s drinking water supply, storm drainage, sanitation, roads, public lighting, and commercial infrastructure. This encompasses the municipalities of Benguela, Baía Farta, Catumbela, and Lobito.

The sustainable initiative, including 23 distinct projects, is set to bolster 11,000 local jobs in various sectors such as construction over the next five years.

At the UN’s COP28 climate change summit, UKEF highlighted this sustainable agreement as a demonstration of how international trade aids global adaptation to climate change and extreme weather.

Benguela Province, prone to flooding and drainage issues, will benefit from UKEF’s support. This allows the Angolan government to fund Innovo Group’s contract through financing organised by Standard Chartered Bank, serving as Structuring and Coordinating Bank, Bookrunner and Mandated Lead Arranger.

This arrangement will provide Benguela with new water supplies, stormwater channels and drainage systems, aiming to lessen the risks and impacts of flooding and climate-related incidents.

The projects are expected to directly spend over £140 million on UK exports, supporting water supply and drainage projects, road rehabilitation, and community facilities.

Andrew Mitchell, UK Minister for Development and Africa said, “This ground-breaking deal will provide critical infrastructure that will change lives and reaffirm our commitment to building mutually beneficial partnerships as we prepare for the UK-African Investment Summit next year.  

Our partnership with Angola is long-standing, and this funding will provide huge benefits to the people of Benguela province, including new water supplies and protection from the harsh impacts of climate related events including flooding.

By teaming up to tackle climate change now, we are creating a more resilient and sustainable future – it is clear that we can go far when we go together.”

Paul Woodman, CEO of Innovo Projects, said, “We are delighted to have secured this most important project that will have a hugely positive impact for the people and communities of the Benguela province, as well as making the region more resilient to the impacts of climate change. This is the third contract we have secured in Angola with the support of UK Export Finance and we would like to thank all stakeholders, including the Ministry of Public Works & Housing, for their cooperation in bringing this project to fruition.”

Faruq Muhammad, Global Head of Structured Export Finance at Standard Chartered Bank, said, “We’re proud to be the Angolan government’s long-standing banking partner once more to bring about social, cultural and economic positive change for thousands of people in the Benguela Province, with improved infrastructure, water supply and building renovations.”

Innovo Group will also deliver projects which support the development of the local economy, including road rehabilitation works, renovation of historic buildings, andthe construction of a fish market in Benguela City for traders who currently work outdoors without refrigeration.  

This follows the export credit agency’s announcement in January of support for Innovo (then trading as ASGC UK) to build a specialist burns hospital in Angola’s capital city, Luanda.