Uganda’s Stanbic Bank, which is part of the Johannesburg-based Standard Bank Group, has signed an $85m, 18-month loan with a group of Gulf lenders led by Dubai’s Emirates NBD bank.

The financing, which was oversubscribed from the initial launch amount of $75m, will pay 250 basis points margin over LIBOR. The funds will be used for trade-related finance in energy, manufacturing, telecommunications, infrastructure, real estate and agriculture.

“As a debut borrower in the international loan market, I am extremely impressed that such a sizeable amount has been raised for the bank in an 18-month tenor,” said Patrick Mweheire, CEO of Stanbic.

Rassem Zok, CEO of Standard Bank, added: “The very positive response for this facility from the Middle Eastern and International banks confirms the increasing interest in Africa and trust in Standard Bank Group’s financial position. It also highlights the great Uganda growth story.”

Emirates NBD coordinated the deal with Kuwait’s Al Ahli Bank, Standard Chartered, Qatar’s Al Khalij Commercial Bank and The Commercial Bank of Qatar as the other lead arrangers.

Mohammad Kamran Wajid, CEO of Emirates NBD Capital, commented: “We are pleased to have played a leading role: Our commitment is part of a global diversification strategy and is testament of our intention to grow our footprint in Africa’s loan and debt capital markets.”

Standard Bank is Africa’s largest banking group with presence in 20 African countries and is a major player in the natural resources. ICBC of China is SBG’s largest single shareholder.

Recently, Dubai firm Access MEA also agreed to finance a $17m solar project in Uganda through the local Access Uganda Solar. The 10MW plant in northern Uganda will power 40,000 homes and help raise the proportion of Ugandans with access to power to 15%.

In other news, Uganda’s legislature voted to ban domestic workers from travelling to Arab countries following a heated debate just months after Saudi Arabia’s Manpower Solutions Company partnered with Uganda’s HAM Property Services to hire two million Ugandans.