The inaugural West Africa Investment Forum is scheduled to take place in Dubai on 9th September, when heads of the region’s states and its key economic organisations will be announcing a series of large-scale infrastructure developments in West Africa worth $20bn.

“The ‘Invest in UEMOA’ initiative to be launched at the West Africa Investment Forum is critical for the future of our region and constitutes a paradigm shift for the Union in the face of important infrastructure challenges,” said UEMOA president Cheikhe Hadjibou Soumare.

“These integrative infrastructure projects will have a strong regional impact, and this forum heralds a new era of economic openness and is an opportunity to promote the region’s tremendous potential to institutional and private investors from around the world.”

The forum is also a call-to-action for the serious consideration for the infrastructure challenges at large within the West African region, which within the trebling of the overall African economy over the last decade has witnessed the largest share of the spoils.

“The West Africa Investment Forum comes at a time when all eyes are on Africa. The infrastructure projects to be announced were made possible by commitment from the international investment community, attest to the emergence of West Africa as a region of growing global economic importance,” continued Christian Adovelande, BOAD chairman.

“As an advocate for the region’s economic potential, I am confident that the West Africa Investment Forum will be a great success and further draw the attention of the international investment community to the genuine opportunities at hand.”

Attending heads of states and their accompanying ministers of finance are expected from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo, alongside delegates from the Middle East’s major Sovereign Wealth Funds, investment banks and private equity firms.

“It is clear that infrastructure investment in Africa has not kept pace with demand, specifically the UEMOA region,” added Arun Panchariya, principal and founder of GFCL.

“GFCL has been working with UEMOA for nearly two years to identify the requirements across the region, and this forum is a culmination of this partnership that will demonstrate to Middle Eastern and international investors the importance of working with regional bodies such as UEMOA and BOAD to help unlock the region’s enormous potential.”

With a combined gross domestic product of $48bn, the economies of UEMOA countries are projected to grow in excess of 7% this year compared with a rate of 5.7% in Africa as a whole.

The co-hosts of the event, the West African Economic & Monetary Union (UEMOA), the West African Development Bank (BOAD) and Global Finance & Capital Limited (GFCL), will also be highlighting the infrastructure investment opportunity and economic future of West Africa.