Mota-Engil Begins Work on ECA supported $1.8 Billion Nigeria-Niger Railway

(Bloomberg, New York, 9 February 2021) Mota-Engil’s local unit is a joint venture with Shoreline Group, an independent Nigerian oil producer. The nearly $2 billion of financing required for the rail line will be sourced from Europe, Credit Suisse Group AG, Africa Finance Corp. and German state bank KfW are finalizing loans from export credit agencies, multilateral institutions and commercial banks. Mota-Engil SGPS SA, a Portuguese construction company, started work on the $1.8 billion railway line that will connect Nigeria with neighbor Niger. Critics have questioned the commercial viability of the Kano-Maradi line, particularly the priority given to a link to Niger at a time when government revenue is scarce. Niger, with a GDP about one-fortieth the size of its larger neighbor, exported goods worth an estimated $1.54 billion last year, according to the International Monetary Fund. While the Mota-Engil group is based in Portugal, the company was originally founded in Angola in 1946. The firm has previously built or refurbished railways in countries including Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania, and recently announced other construction contracts in Ghana, South Africa and the Ivory Coast. Mota-Engil agreed in November to sell a minority stake in the company to state-controlled China Communications Construction Corp.