Deutsche Bank will provide €45.6mn in funding for 30 Italian SMEs to erect the first agricultural and environmental sciences university in Ghana.

Sace, Italy’s export credit agency (ECA), is guaranteeing the contract, which the Ghanaian ministry of education has awarded to Contracta Costruzioni Italia (CCIT) to build the University of Environment and Sustainable Development of Somanya, 65km north-east of the country’s capital, Accra.

CCIT, Italian subsidiary of Brazilian civil engineering group Contracta Engenharia, has awarded subcontracts to 30 Italian SMEs to carry out the project. The firms specialise in a range of sectors, including construction, infrastructure, interior design, fitness machinery, appliances, lighting and medical equipment.

Once completed, the university will create 2,400 jobs, with planners hoping it will drive the economic and social development of Ghana. The educational institution will focus on food security and sustainable development – key fields for a country in which agriculture generates over 20% of GDP.

Simonetta Acri, chief sales officer of Sace calls the university build a “flagship project for Ghana”, saying: “We hope to be able to replicate the success of this initiative with new projects in high-potential geographies for small and medium-sized Italian companies.”

The contract coincides with a healthy outlook for Italy’s total exports, which are expected to rise by 4.3% in 2018, according to Istat, the country’s official statistics institution.

Paolo Maestri, Deutsche Bank’s co-head of corporate finance Italy and head of global transaction banking Italy, says the bank is “satisfied to have participated in this important project”. He says the endeavour “was conceived to produce a positive impact on all the communities involved, linking know-how to excellence from various sectors and from three continents with a view for sustainable development”.

“We believe strongly that our country’s interests are best served by a strong and resilient economy that taps into the skills and resources at our disposal and serves our people without an over-reliance on foreign assistance,” adds Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Ghana’s minister for education. “We are grateful for the immense support towards our determination to improve the lives of our people through education and look forward to further strategic partnerships in this direction.”