The UK Government’s export credit agency, UK Export Finance (UKEF), has allocated a £100m loan for a road project in Benin, a country in West Africa.

UKEF will provide the loan amount to the Government of Benin to upgrade a 114-mile-long interstate road to facilitate trade between West African nations.

The scheme is named Project Spine as the refurbished road will serve as an important artery of the nation. It will also improve access to landlocked African countries, further supporting Benin’s potential as a key trade route.

Construction group VINCI’s subsidiary Sogea Satom UK will redevelop the road between Bohicon and Parakou in Benin to create better connectivity with the neighbouring country Niger.

Sogea Satom UK Africa CEO Jean-Michel Guelaud said: “We are excited about this project, which help us expand our overseas footprint and will have a profound impact on trade in West Africa.

“UKEF’s support was fundamental to the securing of this contact and shows the UK Government belief in the importance of trade with dynamic, emerging economies.”

The contractor will procure all goods and services from the UK supply chain to boost its exports to the region.

Last year, UK exports to Benin totalled £29m.

UK Minister for Exports Graham Stuart said: “This deal will bring significant benefits to UK construction exporters and suppliers at a time when we need to keep trade flowing. It shows that UK businesses, with the right support from government, can continue to export anywhere in the world.

“That’s why UKEF’s support has been, and will continue to be, vital in helping UK exporters win deals, fulfil orders and get paid during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.”