Gulf  Firms Pledge 19 Billion for W Africa Projects

Gulf Firms Pledge $19 Billion for West Africa Projects

Pledges came mostly from the UAE firms, which are to enter public-private partnerships to implement the vital projects.

DUBAI -- Countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) on Tuesday secured commitments from Gulf states to invest $19 billion in infrastructure projects across the eight-nation bloc.

Pledges agreed at a UEMOA forum in Dubai came mostly from the UAE firms, which are to enter public-private partnerships to implement the vital projects.

UEMOA comprises Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.

Investments will be injected into projects in a range of sectors, including roads, railways, airports, energy and food security and water, according to a statement released at the forum.

The largest commitment, $16 billion, was made by UAE-based Trojan General Contracting, part of Royal Group owned by Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed al-Nahyan, along with Earth Capital, an environmental investment group.

The sum includes equity in railway and road sector projects across the region.

The UAE subsidiary of Indian industrial group Essar pledged to plough $1.98 billion into road, bridge, airport and thermal power-plant projects in Benin, Guinea Bissau and Niger.

Oman's Hasan Juma Backer Trading & Contracting pledged $700 million for a dry-port development project in Ivory Coast.

"These integrative infrastructure projects will have a strong regional impact," said Cheikhe Hadjibou Soumare, UEMOA commission president.

He said the investment forum serves to "promote the region's tremendous potential to institutional and private investors from around the world."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014

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