During the recent inaugural West Africa Investment Forum (WAIF), a package of seventeen infrastructure projects planned for the UEMOA (West Africa Economic & Monetary Union) region, with funding by UAE entities, was announced. In total, $19 billion has been secured for projects in a range of sectors including roads, railways, bridges, checkpoints, dry-ports, airports, energy, and food security and water.
The projects will be executed as public-private partnerships (PPPs) between the governments of the UEMOA member states and international commercial entities. The Forum was hosted and organized by UEMOA, Global Finance & Capital Limited (GFCL), and the West African Development Bank (BOAD).
Prominent exposure from GCC companies included a commitment of $16 billion by Trojan General Contracting LLC (part of Royal Group, owned by H.H. Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan) along with Earth Capital for equity participation in railway and road sector projects across the region; $1.98 billion by Essar Projects Ltd., UAE subsidiary of Essar Group in road, bridge, airport and thermal power-plant projects in Benin, Guinea Bissau and Niger; and $700 million by Hasan Juma Backer Trading & Contracting LLC, Oman in a dry-port development project in Cote d'Ivoire. Senegal, which is among the region's largest and most stable economies, proved the most popular investment destination in the region, according to organizers of the forum.
The organizers noted a number of strategic partnerships for the implementation of projects were also announced at the Forum. Among those, a strategic partnership agreement (SPA) was made between UEMOA, BOAD, and GFCL 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.