The said event held in Dubai was attended by the heads of state of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. The forum was also graced by the presidents of UEMOA (the West African Economic and Monetary Union) and BOAD (the West African Development Bank), and key stakeholders, top executives of financial institutions and multilateral agencies, and government delegation.
The agreed public-private partnerships will be covering infrastructure projects such as constructions and renovations of roads, railways, bridges, checkpoints, dry-ports, and airports. The partnerships will also focus on projects eradicating problems in energy, water, and food security. These partnerships have a large scope of beneficiaries including the eight member countries of the UEMOA namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo and Guinea-Bissau. Senegal, one of the most stable economies in the region, is claimed to be the most popular destination for investment.
The biggest projects and contract was awarded to Trojan General Contracting of Royal Group owned by HH Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Earth Capital, which committed a total of 16 billion dollars for railway and road sector projects across West Africa. Essar Projects committed to spend 1.98 billion dollars on road, bridge, airport and thermal power-plant projects in Benin, Guinea Bissau and Niger. Oman’s Hasan Juma Backer Trading and Contracting will fund a dry-port development project in Cote d’Ivoire with a 700 million dollar fund.
Besides the awarding of contracts, a number of strategic partnerships for the implementation of the infrastructure projects were also announced at the forum. This includes partnership agreement between UEMOA, the West African Development Bank and Global Finance & Capital Limited to form and establish a company that will be tasked to manage project execution and timetables, as well as persist seeking potential foreign direct investments for future projects in West Africa.
GFCL’s Panchariya has highlighted the importance of formulating and implementing infrastructure projects in the region. “Infrastructure is an enormously promising investment opportunity across West Africa, and specifically the UEMOA region,” said the principal and founder of GFCL. Panchariya, even before the forum, has already referred to the public-private partnerships as “unlocking the region’s potential”. With more than twenty years of experience in investment banking, asset management, commercial banking, textile industry, production and trade and other financial services, and most importantly as a successful investor in Serbia’s infrastructure, Panchariya continues to promote the need for infrastructure projects in West Africa as a requisite to sustain the region’s growing economies. In the West Africa Investment Forum, Panchariya has never articulated better how the new public-private partnerships will take the region to sustainability.