UK Expands Export Finance appetite in West Africa

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Accra, May 28, GNA – Ghana becomes the first West African country to have a representative of the world’s oldest export credit agency, UK Export Finance (UKEF) stationed in-country.

A statement issued by the British High Commission and made available to the Ghana News Agency said Mr Steve Gray, would be taking up office at the British High Commission in Accra as the UKEF Country Manager.

It said he would work closely with the Department for International Trade team to strengthen trading relations between Ghana and the United Kingdom reaffirming the UK Government’s ambitions for more trade with the Ghanaian market.

It noted that through its local presence in Accra, UKEF was strategically positioned to provide competitive and innovative finance to Ghanaian and West African companies looking to do business with the UK.

It said the appointment was further evidence that the British Government was committed to growing its trade relationship with its African partners.

The appointment follows the recent announcement that the UK government is increasing the export finance cover available to the Ghanaian market from £125 million to £500 million, as well as the decision by the export credit agency to provide loan guarantees in the local currency of Cedi – allowing for the flexibility to “buy British and pay local” and going beyond other countries’ credit agencies’ offerings.

It said Mr Gray worked in Ghana with a UK construction company from 1996-98, returning in 2011 to spearhead the development of a major private sector-led infrastructure project.
The statement said he had a wealth of experience and a very extensive record working within the wider African market, in countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Botswana, South Africa, Zambia and Tanzania.

Commenting on the appointment, Ms Kate Rudd, UK Trade Director for West Africa, said: ‘The UK has a long and solid business relationship not just with Ghana, but countries across the continent. UKEF’s local presence, as well as the increase in export finance cover, and the decision to provide loan guarantees in local currency demonstrated the importance the UK attaches to the further development of commercial ties between the United Kingdom and West Africa.”

Mr Gray said: “British businesses have a wealth of expertise and experience to support important sectors like infrastructure, energy, transport and healthcare in West Africa, while these fast-growing and dynamic markets offer huge opportunities for UK exporters.”
“That is why I am delighted to be joining UK Export Finance and the British High Commission’s trade team in Ghana, to support our two countries’ growing trade relationship.”

Established in 1919, UKEF is the UK Government’s Export Credit Agency, helping buyers around the world trade with UK suppliers by offering attractive financing options.
Alongside long repayment terms, UKEF has the ability to support a wide range of financing structures and offers one of the most flexible local content requirements of any credit agency in the world. Full details of its products and services are available on its website.

UK Export Finance is the operating name of the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD), the United Kingdom’s export credit agency and a ministerial department of the UK government. It is the world’s oldest export credit agency, with nearly 100 years’ experience.

It works with UK exporters and their overseas buyers to offer attractive financing options, including- repayment terms of two – 10 years – and up to 18 in some sectors such as renewable energy.

Flexible UK content requirements to provide project support, and access to UK government-backed finance, or borrowing at competitive interest rates from banks with the benefit of a strong guarantee backed by the UK Government procure from UK suppliers that offer quality and innovation by providing attractive financing terms.

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