News Column

West Africa forum offers $20b investment opportunities

September 1, 2014

Babu Das Augustine Banking Editor



Dubai: Fast growing West Africa region will present investment opportunities to global investors including regional sovereign wealth funds, private equity investors venture capitalists and global investors in Dubai on September 9.

The West Africa Investment Forum (WAIF),organised by Global Finance & Capital Limited (GFCL), a corporate finance and advisory firm will be attended by the heads of state of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo, as well as the presidents of UEMOA (the West African Economic and Monetary Union) and BOAD (the West African Development Bank).

The 2014 Forum is expected to conclude agreements on a range of critical infrastructure projects for the eight nations of UEMOA, with a combined value of $20 billion (Dh73.44 billion).

In the last decade the size of the African economy has more than trebled, with West Africa now the fastest growing region on the continent. This year's African Economic Outlook report, by the African Development Bank, the OECD Development Centre and the United Nations Development Programme, indicates that a favourable macro-economic climate across West Africa.

With a combined gross domestic product of $48 billion, UEMOA countries are projected to grow in excess of 7 per cent this year compared with 5.7 per cent in Africa as a whole.

"Infrastructure is an enormously promising investment opportunity across West Africa, and specifically the UEMOA region. The Forum in Dubai on 9 September will demonstrate to Middle Eastern and international investors the importance of working with regional bodies such as UEMOA to help unlock the region's potential," said Arun Panchariya, Principal and founder of GFCL.

With the presence of a number of heads of states, top executives of financial institutions and multilateral agencies and large contingent of high level government delegations, the event is expected to witness the signing of a number of business deals.

"The GCC investors already have a significant presence in the West African countries. This forum will be an opportunity for regional investors to take a closer look at emerging opportunities," said Panchaiya.

Although the recent outbreak of Ebola epidemic is expected to have some impact on the economies of the region, organisers of the forum said, the impact will be short term and global investors are attracted to the longer term investment opportunities in the region.


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Source: Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)


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