International banks join IFC in Ghana container terminal finance deal

Out-Law News | 08 Sep 2016 | 12:18 pm | 1 min. read

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has signed a $667 million financing package backed by international banks for the construction of a container terminal to boost capacity at Ghana's main seaport.

The new facility in the port of Tema, around 30 kilometres east of Accra, "is expected to trigger increased trade flows and improved transport links across West Africa", the IFC said.

The IFC, part of the World Bank Group, said the deal represents its "largest port investment and biggest infrastructure mobilisation to date in sub-Saharan Africa".

Under the agreement, $195m of funding will be made available from the IFC's own account and $472m will come from three commercial banks – the Bank of China, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and South Africa's Standard Bank – as well as the Dutch development bank FMO.

The Tema terminal operation is a joint venture between Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, APM Terminals of The Netherlands and Bollore Transport & Logistics of France.

According to the IFC, the port at Tema handles more than 90% of Ghana's container traffic. "The existing container terminal is reaching capacity and lacks the necessary infrastructure to accommodate deep-water cargo ships," the IFC said. "The new container terminal includes an up to 1,000 metre quay, a yard for containers, a new breakwater, and new access channel with a deep draft to accommodate some of the world's biggest container ships."

The IFC's chief executive officer and executive vice-president Philippe Le Houerou said: "This investment will have significant ripple effects on trade, economic growth, and job creation, and is an example of how private sector engagement can open doors for transformative improvements in transport infrastructure."

More than 60 port projects worldwide have been financed by the IFC, which said it "anticipates further investments in Africa's port sector in the coming years".

In 2013, IFC financed the construction and expansion of the Lome container terminal in Togo, which now serves as a trans-shipment hub for West Africa and a gateway to landlocked countries in the region.

Last year the IFC signed an $8m loan agreement with Quantum Oil Terminal Limited, part of Ghana's Quantum Group, to boost the country's capacity for petroleum storage and to ease fuel shortages. The agreement was part of the IFC's support to develop the Tema Tank Farm, a 55,000-tonne petroleum products storage facility near the port of Tema.

Support for the Ghana container terminal project by Chinese banks reflects strong trade and investment ties between the two countries. According to Ghana's government, the value of trade between the two reached $5.6bn at the end of 2014. Ghana's exports to China hit $1.4bn.