Middle East and Africa: Best Bank for Infrastructure/Project Finance 2020
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Middle East and Africa: Best Bank for Infrastructure/Project Finance 2020

Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered is big in the Middle East, specializing in exactly the kind of heavy lifting – chunky loans, local bank accounts, foreign exchange, supply chain solutions – that Chinese firms most keenly need when they set out to fund projects along the Belt and Road, but which are very often in short supply.

In April 2020, StanChart was an integral part of a consortium of five lenders that raised $268 million to finance the construction and maintenance of a 500-megawatt photovoltaic plant in Oman.

Sarmad Lone, Regional Head, Client Coverage, Africa and Middle, Standard Chartered.jpg
Sarmad Lone, Standard Chartered

The deal, led by Sarmad Lone, the bank’s regional head of client coverage, corporate, commercial and institutional banking for Africa and the Middle East, ticked a lot of boxes. The plant will be built by two Chinese contractors (PowerChina and Huadong Engineering). It secured funding from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (the multilateral’s first renewable energy financing deal in the Middle East), and it complied with multiple UN Sustainable Development Goals. When complete, it will generate enough renewable power for 33,000 homes.

In May 2020, Standard Chartered extended working capital to Beijing-based Sinohydro to fund a complex irrigation system in Zanzibar, which will ensure the supply of a steady flow of clean water to more than 20,000 families and farmers living on the east African island.

And in the same month, at the height of the Covid pandemic, the bank was integral in providing working capital support to Africa Star Railway, a freight operator owned by China Road and Bridge, to ensure the delivery of food and vital medical products and facilities to millions of people in Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.