100 kilometres of railway in Ghana with Swiss participation
Ghana is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. In 2021, the country invested a EUR 600 million loan in the upgrading and expansion of a 100-kilometre railway line in the west of the country. This line is key to transporting goods from the inland town of Huni Valley to the port of Takoradi in the south and will further boost the country’s economy. The new rail line will initially be used mainly for freight transport, with passenger transport being gradually expanded thereafter. Known as the Ghana Western Railway Line Project, it is part of Ghana’s initiative to upgrade the infrastructure of the country’s rail network and make the line safer and faster, while simultaneously creating an environmentally friendly alternative to forms of transport that depend on fossil fuels.
A buyer credit worth EUR 523 million over a period of 18 years – including four years of construction work – is being granted for the implementation of this major international project. This is complemented by an additional EUR 75 million commercial loan for the 15 per cent down payment. Suppliers from various countries are participating in the project, including the Swiss company Molinari Rail AG (Molinari) alongside other Swiss subcontractors. Molinari offers customized solutions for the rail industry around the world. In addition, Molinari supports its clients with the design and development of vehicles as well as with project management, construction works, Q&A, commissioning, maintenance and modernization. Thanks to the considerable share of the project accounted for by Swiss suppliers, Swiss Export Risk Insurance SERV was able to provide EUR 272 million in the form of reinsurance cover.
“SERV’s reinsurance is a good way for us to participate in projects where the Swedish share is below the national content requirements by our statutes.”
A set-up that benefits everyone
Amandi Investment Ltd. (Amandi), based in Cyprus, is acting as the general engineering procurement and construction (EPC) contractor, and concluded an EPC contract worth EUR 500 million with the Ghanaian buyer in mid-2020. The comparable projects that Molinari has successfully carried out in collaboration with SERV in the past enabled the company to establish a good track record. This was the factor that persuaded the general contractor to bring Molinari on board. In the words of CEO Michele Molinari, “This project allows us to demonstrate that our structure and the bundling of various subcontractors has advantages for the general contractor and is sustainable also for the ECA. For us, Ghana Railway represents a blueprint project for future contracts.”
As the largest proportion is coming from Swedish subcontractors, the Swedish export credit agency (ECA) EKN is insuring the project, but EKN’s value creation requirements do not permit it to assume the risk alone. EKN has therefore reinsured around half of the total volume with SERV. “This is a good way to participate in projects where the Swedish share is below the national content requirements by our statutes,” Malin Tegnér Larsen, senior underwriter at EKN, explains.
Although the coverage is primarily through EKN, Amandi has established a Swiss subsidiary based in Geneva called Arad Engineering SA. This is exactly in line with SERV’s pathfinding initiative. In the long term, this allows SERV to give SMEs the opportunity to participate in large-scale projects to which they would otherwise have no access or would struggle to access.