President Macky Sall of Senegal will arrive in Dubai to attend the 2nd Africa Global Business Forum this week, in the West African leader’s second such visit in the space of a month – positioning Senegal as a country with pan-African ambition and a key partner for the UAE.

The president will join four other African leaders – President Mulatu Teshome of Ethiopia, President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique – on the topic of “leading the continent towards change”.

They will also be joined by the Prime Ministers of Burkina Faso, Uganda, and Malawi, as well as the former Botswanan President Festus Mogae and Nigerian businessman Aliko Dangote, alongside UAE ministers and officials and a host of prominent international business leaders.

Sall was Prime Minister of Senegal from April 2004 to June 2007 and President of the National Assembly of Senegal from June 2007 to November 2008, while holding the position of Mayor of Fatick from 2002 to 2008 and again from 2009 to 2012.

He was a long-time member of the Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) before founding his own party, Alliance for the Republic – Yakaar, and winning Senegal’s 2012 presidential election, besting President Abdoulaye Wade in the second round with the backing of the other opposition candidates.

Dubai directive

Dubai’s foreign trade with Senegal increased by 30% in the first half of 2014 to $306.6m, compared with $235m for the same period in 2013. Dakar is also an important waypoint for Dubai passengers flying to West Africa, and Emirates Airlines schedules five weekly flights to the city.

President Macky Sall has also made a point of meeting with the Dubai Chamber and also DP World chairman HE Sultan bin Sulayem during his latest visits to the country in September and January – the latter being related to DP World’s operation since 2007 of Dakar’s container terminal.

He noted DP World’s “substantial positive impact” on the Senegalese economy, as well as the way in which the safe and healthy investment environment in the country has enabled DP World to “harness its global expertise to develop Senegal’s port logistics sector.”

The DP World Dakar container terminal is a favoured first-port of call for southbound ships from Europe, with roads connections facilitating cargo bound for Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, and Gambia, and an on-site rail terminal that is the historic gateway to Bamako, Mali.

In January, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) also provided a loan of $14.4m towards the part funding of the Ndioum-Ourossogui highway project, and the construction of a 15MW power station with a view to improving electricity supply within the country.