Egyptian construction company the Arab Contractors is to receive a US$200mn multi-currency guarantee facility from the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) for construction projects in Africa and the Middle East, after a deal between the two parties was signed last week.

Under the agreement, Afreximbank will issue guarantees in US dollars or euros to the conglomerate and its subsidiaries. Egypt’s Commercial International Bank (CIB) is the local administrative agent for the facility, which has a five-year tenor.

Speaking to GTR, the Arab Contractors’ head of PR and media, Osama Ali, says the company already has branches and projects in 17 countries across the African continent.

“This is a new source of guarantees for our projects,” he says. “It means that the Arab Contractors will be able to do more projects in Africa. This will help and assist our co-operation with African companies.”

In a statement, Afreximbank president Benedict Oramah emphasises the company’s key role in promoting intra-Africa, referring to it as “intra-African trade champions” – or “intra-champs”.

“Arab Contractors are indeed intra-champs, present in several African countries and helping to build and develop critical infrastructure, representing an institutional icon that deserves the full support of Afreximbank,” he says. “We are therefore proud of the partnership that this facility promises to build between Afreximbank and the Arab Contractors – a partnership that can only make Africa better integrated and stronger.”

Chairman of the Arab Contractors, Mohammed Salah, adds that the facility represents a “giant leap in the strategic partnership” between the company and the regional bank, and is an important step to develop especially Africa’s infrastructure sector.

According to Afreximbank, it has over recent years provided US$1.5bn to large Egyptian entities to export goods and services to other African countries. The bank’s overall exposure to Egypt is US$4bn.