Ivory Coast plans $25bn splurge as W. African presidents stake legacies on mega infrastructure

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A huge chunk of these projects will be public-private partnerships, as countries look to beat the blues in global markets.

THE Ivory Coast government is planning $25 billion of investments in 94 infrastructure projects from 2016 to 2020, news website Abidjan.net reported on Friday, citing Minister Delegate to Finance, Niale Kaba.

About half of these projects will be public-private partnerships, Kaba said at a conference during the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Lima, Peru.

Investments include highways, bridges, hydroelectric dams and industrial parks, she said.

Ivory Coast’s government is targeting growth of 10% this year as the West African nation heads for a presidential vote, scheduled for October 25. President Alassane Ouattara is seeking re-election, with robust economic growth in recent years holding him in good stead.

Fellow West African major economy Senegal is currently laying the groundwork for a new city near the town of Diamniadio to ease congestion in Dakar.

With plans for a new airport nearby, a university, state and a 50-hectare (123-acre) industrial park funded by China, it’s the most ambitious infrastructure project yet of President Macky Sall, who’s pledged to double growth by 2020.

Sall, in office since 2012, uses the slogan “Emerging Senegal” to define his policy of attracting foreign investment to reduce the country’s dependence on fishing, agriculture and tourism and make Senegal a hub for French-speaking West Africa.

With the nation’s economy forecast by the International Monetary Fund to expand at least 5% this year, up from 4.5% last year, the pressure on Dakar is only expected to intensify.

The Diamniadio project has attracted “hundreds of bids” from local and international companies since the plan was approved in 2013.

Last month, Guinea president Alpha Conde inaugurated he $526 million Kaleta hydroelectric project, a 240-megawatt plant located north out of the capital Conakry and which has tripled energy supply.

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With elections this weekend, the resulting bump to optimism over an economy that has had trying times in recent months puts him firmly in the driving seat to retain his seat, as leaders continue to bank on big infrastructure to keep them in power.

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