UK Export Finance (UKEF) is lending €270mn to the Ugandan government to help finance the construction of a new international airport.

The money will help support work on the construction of the runway, taxiway and cargo terminal that will be carried out by UK infrastructure company Colas. Additional financing will be provided by Standard Chartered, which acted as the lead arranger for the deal.

The airport, which will be in the Kabaale region, will be the country’s second international airport and will open access for the delivery of equipment, materials and services. With large-scale infrastructure and energy projects planned in the area, the airport, which is due for completion in 2021, is expected to have significant long-term benefits for the country’s developing economy and energy independence.

A second phase of development is planned to improve the airport’s capacity to support tourism and international trade at a later stage.

The project is the first major project in Uganda supported by UKEF and the export credit agency’s largest-ever loan to an African government.

Director of strategic projects at Colas UK, Carl Ferguson, says: “With huge untapped natural resources, rapid urbanisation and attractive demographics, the requirement for investment in infrastructure to support continued regional development is clear, and this aligns well with the outward-looking international element of the Colas strategy, which seeks to expand our activities in East Africa.”