UAE firms sign contracts worth $19bn for West Africa
by Courtney Trenwith
UAE businesses have committed a total of $19 billion in funding for 17 infrastructure projects in West African countries, the West Africa Economic & Monetary Union announced last week.
The public-private partnerships cover roads, railways, bridges, checkpoints, dry-ports, airports, energy, and food security and water and will benefit eight member countries of the UEMOA (West Africa Economic & Monetary Union): Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo and Guinea-Bissau.
The largest contract was with Trojan General Contracting, part of Royal Group, which his owned by HH Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Earth Capital, which together committed $16bn for equity participation in railway and road sector projects across the region.
Essar Projects will spend $1.98bn on road, bridge, airport and thermal power-plant projects in Benin, Guinea Bissau and Niger, while $700 million was committed by Oman’s Hasan Juma Backer Trading and Contracting for a dry-port development project in Cote d’Ivoire.
The UEMOA said Senegal, which is among the region’s largest and most stable economies, was the most popular investment destination in the region.
The contracts were announced at the inaugural West Africa Investment Forum, held in Dubai recently.
Several strategic partnerships for the implementation of projects also were announced at the forum, including a strategic partnership agreement between UEMOA, the West African Development Bank and Global Finance & Capital Limited to create a company responsible for managing project execution and timelines, and to continue to seek foreign direct investment for future projects in the region.
UEMOA president Cheikhe Hadjibou Soumare said the forum was an important opportunity for member countries to seek foreign direct investment.
“The ‘Invest in UEMOA’ initiative launched at the West Africa Investment Forum is important for the future of our region and constitutes a paradigm shift for the Union in the face of important infrastructure challenges,” Soumare commented.
“These integrative infrastructure projects will have a strong regional impact. 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.”