Companies from across the Gulf have committed investments worth $19 billion in various infrastructure projects such as roads, railways, airports and energy across eight West African countries, according to West Africa Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA).
The projects, announced at the West Africa Investment Forum, will be executed as private public partnerships between the governments of the UEMOA members and international firms, a statement said.
Major investments from the UAE included a commitment of $16 billion by Trojan General Contracting, which is part of the group owned by Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and investment firm Earth Capital.
Meanwhile, Essar Projects, the UAE subsidiary of Essar Group, will invest up to $1.98 billion in road, bridge, airport and thermal power plant projects in Benin, Guinea Bissau and Niger.
Oman-based Hasan Juma Backer Trading & Contracting will invest around $700 million in a dry-port development project in Cote d’Ivoire.
Partnerships to implement these infrastructure projects were also announced at the forum. UEMOA said that it has signed a deal with the West African Development Bank and Global Finance and Capital Limited to create a company to manage project execution and to seek foreign direct investments for future infrastructure projects.
“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,” said Cheikhe Hadjibou Soumare, president of the commission of UEMOA.
“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.”
Investors from the Gulf have been fuelling funds into Africa’s infrastructure sector as the continent readies itself for a building boom.
In November 2013, Kuwait, in coordination with the World Bank and other international bodies, announced that it would invest up to $1 billion in African countries over the next few years, with a focus on the infrastructure sector.
Earlier this year, Kingdom Holding Company (KHC), the firm chaired by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed, formed a joint venture with asset manager PineBridge Investments Middle East to invest in African companies.
The joint venture will invest in direct private equity opportunities in African firms and will focus on investing in sectors such as manufacturing, infrastructure, financial services and consumer driven industries.