Eight West African states are to benefit from 17 infrastructure projects worth $19 billion (£11.6 billion) and including roads, rail and ports.
The package of schemes, the result of a partnership between the West Africa Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), the West African Development Bank (BOAD) and Global Finance & Capital Ltd (GFCL), represents a “paradigm shift for the union in the face of important infrastructure challenges”. The schemes, public private partnerships between governments and international commercial entities, were announced at the inaugural West Africa Investment Forum in Dubai.
Members of the union are Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo and Guinea-Bissau and the projects also include bridges, checkpoints, airports, energy, water and food security.
The bulk of the cash, $16 billion (£9.8 billion), will be spent on rail and road sector projects across the region in a partnership with Trojan General Contracting, $1.98 billion (£1.2 billion) will go to road, bridge, airport and thermal power plant projects in Benin, Guinea-Bissau and Niger in a deal with Essar Projects, and $700 million (£428 million) will go towards a dry-port development project in Ivory Coast in a collaboration with Hasan Juma Backer Trading & Contracting.
Cheikhe Hadjibou Soumare, president of the commission of the UEMOA, said the investment was “important for the future of our region and constitutes a paradigm shift for the union in the face of important infrastructure challenges”.
“These integrative infrastructure projects will have a strong regional impact,” he said. “The West Africa Investment Forum heralds a new era of economic openness and is an opportunity to promote the region’s tremendous potential to institutional and private investors from around the world.”