VENTURES AFRICA – Four West African countries will invest an estimated $4 billion on the construction of a railway line to boost intra-African trade, a source revealed yesterday.
According to Ibrahima Cheikh Diong, the Founder and CEO of Africa Consulting and Trading in Senegal: “As we speak we’ve been mandated by four countries Burkina Faso, Niger, Benin and Côte d’Ivoire to basically help them organise and structure and eventually raise some money for a railway project which is going to be tremendously helpful in boosting the countries’ infrastructure and economies.”
Diong said a number of West African countries are investing a lot of money in infrastructural development which is crucial in attracting foreign direct investment.
“We see a lot of demand particularly in the government side with the projects that have been sitting in the backbone; railway projects, infrastructure projects and other projects where the government needs some structural support, resource mobilisation and in some case what we call chain management by bringing in some specialised skills to get the transactions moving forward,” Diong added.
He said it was encouraging to see West African countries particularly the francophone governments pushing the agenda to compete equally with emerging markets regionally and internationally to boost African business.
Mr. Diong further said “I think what has been changing first is people’s mind-sets, for a very long time the perception people had of West Africa particularly the francophone government was almost everywhere. When it comes to doing business what we have today is a government recognised”.
He said a number of West African countries had long eliminated risk factors that derailed sustainable growth for the region.
“Today, in my view it is much easier to do business with West Africa than a couple of years ago” he said.
This is the second such transport project announced by countries in the sub-region.
Last month, four other West African countries-Nigeria, Benin, Togo and Ghana- agreed to build a six lane road highway to boost trade and business among themselves.