Poland’s export credit agency (ECA) is backing a US$73mn social loan led by Standard Chartered to finance the expansion of a university in Angola, in a deal that the contractors involved hope will pave the way for greater Polish engagement in export finance on the continent.

Standard Chartered is acting as loan co-ordinator, bookrunner, original mandated lead arranger, structuring and co-ordinating bank, original lender and facility agent for the loan to the Angolan finance ministry to fund the third construction phase of the University of Namibe, in the southwest city of Moçâmede.

Austria’s Kommunalkredit is also an original mandated lead arranger while Kuke, the Polish ECA, is providing comprehensive cover to the lenders.

The Polish participants in the deal see the project as a way of enhancing their experience with major developments in Africa more broadly while also demonstrating that the country can compete alongside powerhouses of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts.

“This project shows that Polish companies can win contracts on markets where they have been present only marginally so far,” says Kuke CEO Janusz Wladyczak. “Kuke played an important role by connecting the participants and securing the financing. We are proud that after being involved in developing maternity hospitals in Ivory Coast, we support another project with such positive impact on a local community in Africa.”

The project is being developed by a Polish consortium comprising contractors Quenda Group and Gdynia-based Torhamer. It is Standard Chartered’s first deal with Quenda.

Małgorzata Szymczuk, Quenda’s CEO, says that while the duo will use Angolan contractors for “basic construction works”, most “sophisticated machinery and equipment, including installations and IT infrastructure” will be exported from Poland.

“We are confident the time has come for Polish companies to establish themselves internationally, not just as subcontractors or suppliers but as leaders capable of delivering complex projects,” Szymczuk says.

Maciej Chamerski, CEO of Torhamer, says: “The project in Angola is an interesting challenge for our company, both in organisational and operational terms. Together with our consortium partner, the Quenda Group, we are counting on gaining experience in cooperation with local companies and getting to know the market better, which will result in new contracts in Africa.”

The University of Namibe specialises in fishery, technology, humanities and nature. Standard Chartered says the education and fisheries sectors are key priorities for the Angolan government, and it is hoped that the expanded university will retain talent in the south of the country.

“The arrival of university teachers and staff will increase demand for goods and services, and the facilities will create new, permanent jobs for locals,” the bank says. “This project offers the opportunity to establish a synergy between higher vocational education and industry, with the proximity of local industries being favourable for student internships, which are of essential importance in fishery training programmes.”

Standard Chartered has fronted several ECA-backed loans to Angola in recent years, including two deals announced last December for a road and a vaccination facility.

The bank also led a US$1.1bn deal for the construction of water infrastructure in the capital, Luanda, in 2021.