Investec Bank has taken the lead on an agreement worth €215mn for two hospital projects in Ghana, in what it says is the first independently certified social export credit loan in the African healthcare sector.

The Anglo-South African lender acted as the sole mandated lead arranger on a 13-year €189mn loan, backed by the Swedish export credit agency EKN and funded by Swedish Export Credit Corporation (SEK), with reinsurance from Atradius DSB.

Investec also arranged, structured and funded a €26mn loan covering the down payment, supported by the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa (ECIC). Both loans were made to Ghana’s finance ministry.

Investec used Acre Impact Capital to ensure the loans are fully aligned with the loan market associations’ social loan principles, and says it is eligible for a second opinion from DNV, an assurance and risk management provider, also verifying alignment with the guidelines.

The deal will finance the construction of a new hospital in the town of Agona and rehabilitate the Effia-Nkwanta Hospital in the southern city of Takoradi.

Investec says the hospitals will collectively offer facilities including a centre of excellence for maternity, obstetrics, gynaecology and neonatal care; a trauma and emergency unit; a burns unit; a medical imaging lab and advanced laboratory services. Training for medical staff is also included in the project.

The financing is the latest in a flurry of deals funding projects in Ghana’s healthcare sector. In July Deutsche Bank closed a €55mn loan for the construction of two hospitals, backed by the African Trade Insurance agency. A year earlier Standard Chartered loaned the Ghanaian finance ministry €78mn for a new hospital, backed by UK Export Finance (UKEF).

Charles Kofi Adu Boahen, a minister of state for finance in Ghana, says the recent agreements arranged by Investec are part of an “initiative to dramatically expand and develop [the country’s] regional healthcare services” and will “significantly improve access to quality healthcare services” for around 3 million people.

The main contractor in the project is Ghana’s Amandi Investment, which was advised in the transaction by Bluebird Finance & Projects.

Brian Irvine, head of African structured debt and trade finance at Investec, says the transaction “demonstrates the growing capacity of African domiciled banks and financial institutions to structure and arrange debt financing for African projects and trade”. Investec is headquartered in London and Johannesburg.

The bank’s head of export finance, Chris Mitman, says the financing “demonstrates the critical role export finance can play in delivering high impact affordable social infrastructure” ahead of the publication of a white paper on sustainability in export finance by the International Chamber of Commerce Export Finance Committee’s Working Group on Sustainability.

EKN and SEK’s involvement in the project reflects significant contribution from Swedish sub-suppliers and “helped secure a highly favourable borrowing rate”, Investec says.

EKN senior underwriter Charlotte Akesson says “it is particularly rewarding that EKN has participated in this important project enabling the delivery of world class health care facilities that will make a significant improvement to the social infrastructure in the region and which supports the UN Sustainability Goals”.

The government of neighbouring Côte d’Ivoire has also recently taken out loans for its healthcare sector, including a €159mn ECA-backed facility from Standard Chartered in July and a €241mn facility extended by UKEF and MUFG Bank.