THE government of Zambia has reached a $47 million financial deal with Bluebird Finance & Projects to support the construction of a multimillion agricultural centre in the north of the country.
Ram Shalita, CEO of Bluebird confirmed the reports and said the deal which was signed between the firm, Israel Discount Bank, and two export credit agencies, aims at improving the level of agricultural technology in Zambia.
The project will involve construction of an ECA-backed facility with a nine-year tenor and a commercial facility with a four-year tenor each at a cost of $40 million and $7 million respectively. The main contractor on the project is Israeli company Green-2000, who are behind a range of similar agricultural projects across Africa.
The turnkey EPC agriculture project includes the construction of modern cultivation and production infrastructure, irrigation systems and an advanced training centre. The financing package covers 100 percent of the contract value on a buyer’s credit structure extended to Zambia’s ministry of finance. The project is expected to be completed in about two years.
‘For the other large finance deals that we have closed in the recent three years with Zambia’s ministry of finance, which are now in advanced stages of construction, the ministry of finance always pays well on time the interest and principal. It’s clear that they have reduced dramatically the borrowing of new loans in the last year, and this agri-project is one of the very few deals that got their approval,’ said Ram Shalita.
Bluebird Finance & Projects
Bluebird has previously led the closing of two other financing deals in Zambia, for a housing project and a new hospital. The latter involves a $165 million financing package provided by four banks and backed by two European export credit agencies. Construction of the hospital, located in Lusaka, is scheduled to be finalised in 2021.
The Israel-based firm is also currently finalising a similar financing deal for a second agri-centre in Zambia, which is expected to be closed within the next four months and will include other banks and ECAs.