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Water Deal of the Year

For the project finance deal, signed in 2017, which has made the biggest contribution to the advancement of private sector participation in the international water sector.

Kigali Bulk Water Supply project financing, Rwanda

What is it?

The $60.8 million financial package assembled to fund the construction of the 40,000m3/d Kigali surface water treatment and supply project.

Who is involved?

The facility is being built, owned and operated by project developer Metito, which provided $20.2 million in equity funding. 18-year debt was provided by the African Development Bank ($19 million) and the lead arranger, the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund ($21.6 million). The project was rolled out by the Rwandan Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC) under a 27-year BOT contract.

What makes it special?

As the first water PPP in Rwanda, and the first time private finance has been used for inland surface water treatment infrastructure in Africa, the financial close of the project is a key milestone in averting a looming water crisis for one of Africa’s fastest-growing cities. It offers a timely reminder that well-structured PPPs can make a huge difference to vital infrastructure provision in emerging markets.

A tenacious approach from the developers overcame contracting inertia and institutional challenges – including the arrest of WASAC’s chief executive over corruption charges – to put the seal on a deal in the most difficult of circumstances.


By involving institutional lenders on a fully commercial basis, the completion of the financing package shows that development funding and PPP structures can blend together seamlessly, and opens intriguing new avenues for structuring infrastructure deals in African markets where the risk factor has traditionally hampered financial innovation.


Hamilton biosolids financing, Canada

What is it?

A Can$50 million (US$40 million) funding package to support the construction of a privately financed biosolids processing plant in Hamilton, Ontario.

Who is involved?

Synagro put up 60% of the equity, Bird Capital 20%, and Maple Reinders 20%. Insurer Manulife supplied the 30-year commercial debt portion, while Desjardins provided a short-term debt facility.

What makes it special?

With more than 660,000 metric tons of wastewater biosolids produced in Canada every year, finding economically viable ways to process these safely has become a national priority. Deals such as Hamilton prove that using private finance as a way of accessing cutting-edge technology and innovation is gaining momentum as a mainstream solution.

The winning bid was the only one which came in under the client’s pre-determined affordability threshold, partly thanks to the developer’s extensive experience of operating similar plants elsewhere in North America. This confidence gave the lenders added comfort during the debt negotiation phase, resulting in a keenly priced commercial debt package.


Financing the Hamilton biosolids project using private capital has given other clients a valuable reference point, and the successful financial close of an even larger project in British Columbia in February 2018 proved beyond all doubt that private finance has a vital role to play in the delivery of quality, affordable biosolids projects. The potential for enhanced financial returns through the sale of the pelletised end product as organic fertiliser is the icing on the cake.

The Global Water Awards 2018 is proudly sponsored by:

Evoqua logo, links to Evoqua homepage

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