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AFRICA IS A PRIORITY IN OUR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY

Meeting with Philippe Le Roch, Head of Structured Export Finance Africa at Societe Generale, and Mohamed El Fadel Kane, Head of Capital Markets & Structured Finance Group for Sub-Saharan Africa at Societe Generale.
 
What is your vision of the infrastructure issue in sub-Saharan Africa?

PHILIPPE LE ROCH. Societe Generale’s ‘‘Transform to Grow’’ strategic plan makes its African activities one of the pillars of the Group’s growth. This is how the ‘‘Grow with Africa’’ initiative was born, with the aim of contributing collectively to the sustainable development of Africa. The Group has identified four areas of development, including infrastructure financing.

“  All the projects we finance integrate environmental, social and climate change criteria  ”

How are you involved in infrastructure financing?

PHILIPPE LE ROCH. We are involved in these projects at three complementary levels. The Group has a solid and historic presence in Africa with 17 universal banking subsidiaries. Five years ago, we created structured finance platforms (Structured Finance Group - SFG), based in Abidjan, Algiers and Casablanca, to develop financing solutions for our clients in Africa. Finally, the teams based in Paris have extensive know-how and experience in structured finance on the African continent, particularly in export finance.

MOHAMED EL FADEL KANE. Our subsidiaries in sub-Saharan Africa are leaders in their respective markets. This solid presence allows us to know the context and the local players. We are thus able to identify infrastructure projects. This deep rootedness in the countries also allows us to follow up on the execution of the projects.

What is your ‘‘added value’’?

PHILIPPE LE ROCH. Our system is unique: we offer our clients both the power of a network, with intimate knowledge of local economies, and the recognized expertise of a major international group, particularly in structured finance.

MOHAMED EL FADEL KANE. We have extensive experience in multi-source financing, combining a foreign currency loan with a local currency tranche, at competitive interest rates, over periods that can be long (10-12 years for example). These solutions are very interesting for our clients because they help to reduce foreign exchange risk and offer advantageous deferred repayments that lighten their cash flow. Furthermore, Societe Generale’s global strategy is based on a CSR ambition that makes ‘‘Contributing to the sustainable development of Africa’’ a major focus. We ensure that all the projects we finance integrate environmental, social and climate change criteria.


CÔTE D’IVOIRE: FINANCE FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

By 2025, approximately 30% of Abidjan’s daily water consumption will be supplied by a new drinking water plant. PFO Africa, an Ivorian company specialized in construction and public works and the project owner, has signed a strategic partnership agreement with Véolia Africa. The project includes the construction of a pipeline network (28 km) and two water towers (5,000 m³ each).

Societe Generale has arranged the construction financing for this 253-million-euro project. This includes a buyer’s loan denominated in euros and guaranteed by Bpifrance Assurance Export. The Abidjan-based structured finance platform acted as mandated lead arranger and agent for the CFA franc tranche, with the support of Société Générale Côte d’Ivoire and Société Générale Burkina Faso. As a result of this transaction, Societe Generale won the TFX Award for the Best Export Credit Agency (ECA)-supported Sustainable Deal of the Year in June 2019.


Construction site of the drinking water plant



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