Standard Chartered has signed a €159mn export credit agency (ECA)-backed financing agreement with the government of Côte d’Ivoire for the refurbishment of maternity wards in dozens of hospitals across the country.

The project financing is supported by the Danish and Polish ECAs, EKF and Kuke, with the money aiding the development of hospitals in 24 regions and the autonomous district of Abidjan.

A Standard Chartered spokesperson tells GTR that the two ECAs backed the deal based on the buyer’s decision to acquire goods and services from both Denmark and Poland, though the project also sourced from other countries.

The project, delivered by a contractor active in the Middle East and Africa, will include electricity upgrades, improved IT and data connection, potable water and storage, and the installation of fire safety systems and equipment in the maternity wards.

Speaking about the financing, Thomas Hovard, chief commercial officer for corporates and institutions at EKF, says: “This project is an excellent example of how a strong, global cooperation between financial institutions can initiate a positive development in parts of the world where investors normally are more cautious.”

“It’s a great achievement for EKF to be part of a project which helps to reduce the infant mortality rate in Côte d’Ivoire, and at the same time, contribute to increased turnover for Danish exporters of medical devices,” he adds.

Infant mortality in the country is an ongoing concern, with data from the World Bank finding that Côte d’Ivoire had a rate of 58.6 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2019, making it one of the 15 worst nations in the world for infant survival.

In a similar ECA-covered deal announced in July last year, Standard Chartered inked a UK Export Finance-backed financing agreement with the Ghanaian government supporting the construction of a new hospital in the country by a UK-based firm.

More recently, in June this year, the global bank took the lead on a €280mn ECA-supported deal backing the development of highway infrastructure in the country. It was the bank’s first ever financing pact to be specifically structured to comply with the newly released Social Loan Principles.