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Economic Growth in West Africa to Accelerate Above 7% Per Annum

DUBAI, UAE, September 1, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

Global Finance & Capital Limited launches inaugural West Africa Investment Forum in Dubai. 

The Forum will take place in Dubai on 9 September 2014 and will highlight exceptional investment opportunities in West Africa, the continent's fastest growing region. 

Today, Global Finance & Capital Limited (GFCL), an international corporate finance and advisory firm, announced the inaugural West Africa Investment Forum (WAIF), which will take place at the Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai on 9th September 2014. In attendance will be 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 & Monetary Union) and BOAD (the West African Development Bank).  

Also attending will be senior representatives of the Middle East's major Sovereign Wealth Funds, investment banks and private equity players as well as representatives of many of the world's most influential multi-lateral organisations. The 2014 Forum will include final signatures on a range of critical infrastructure projects for the eight nations of UEMOA, with a combined value of circa US$20 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.[1] This year's African Economic Outlook report, produced 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 means that growth is likely to accelerate above 7% in the next year, compared with 5.7% for the continent as a whole.[2]

Infrastructure investments in Africa have not kept pace with the growth in demand and the sector has now become one of the most promising investment opportunities, as well as being the key to unlocking the region's immense economic potential.

Mr. Arun Panchariya, Principal and founder of GFCL, commented:

"It is clear that infrastructure investment in Africa has not kept pace with the increased demand generated by rapid economic growth and a population now exceeding 1 billion. Infrastructure is an enormously promising investment opportunity across West Africa, and specifically the UEMOA region. GFCL has been working in partnership with UEMOA for nearly two years to identify infrastructure requirements across the 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." 

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1. EY Africa by Numbers 2013-14

2. African Economic Outlook 2014 - West Africa

Mr. Panchariya further commented:

"It is our expectation that investment in the UEMOA region will continue to grow, and we would like to demonstrate to Middle East and other investors the excellent opportunities that exist there. The purpose of the Forum is to discuss those opportunities in greater detail, as well as to formally sign a multi-billion dollar package of infrastructure development deals. This is a very exciting time for Global Finance & Capital Limited, and for the UEMOA region." 

The inaugural West Africa Investment Forum will be held on 9th September 2014, at the Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai. 

Notes to Editors: 

About: Global Finance & Capital Limited (GFCL) 

GFCL is a corporate financial advisory, registered in the United Kingdom and regulated by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). GFCL's objective is to deliver independent, high quality advice based on internationally-accepted standards of corporate governance and to utilise its extensive global network to deliver tailor-made solutions for clients. GFCL provides support and advisory services to clients for project development, project financing, strategic partner identification, financial restructuring, fund-raising, structuring of financial products, M&A, IPOs, corporate management and institution-building. The Company has focused its expertise on advising financial institutions and governments on the funding and implementation of large-scale development projects, particularly in frontier and emerging markets. For more information, visit http://www.globalfincap.com.  

About: West Africa Investment Forum 

The West Africa Investment Forum aims to drive investment into West Africa, specifically to the eight UEMOA (West African Economic & Monetary Union) nations. The Forum will be led by three host organisations: BOAD (West African Development Bank), GFCL (Global Finance & Capital Limited), and UEMOA. The objective of the Forum is to discuss and facilitate the private investment in infrastructure required by the UEMOA nations and formally sign a multi-billion dollar series of infrastructure deals in the following sectors: roads, airports, ports, check-points, housing, food & water, bridges, railways, energy and manufacturing.

West Africa's resilience in recent years to global and regional economic challenges has been impressive. The African Economic Outlook expects the region to remain on a high growth path: public and private investment there is now an important growth driver, and that growth has been further supported by developments in the agriculture, manufacturing and services sectors. It is clear that, should this level of growth be sustained, important developments to regional infrastructure must take place to support it.

Ernst & Young 2014 'Africa Attractiveness Survey' found that 77% of investors, when questioned, identified infrastructure as the key focus for attracting greater investment to sub-Saharan Africa.  By 2035, the African continent will have the world's largest workforce, with over half of its population currently under the age of 20.  That workforce will have a greater need than ever for cross-border transportation networks, import/export facilities, and energy.

Overseas investment in infrastructure is therefore essential if West Africa's current trajectory is to be maintained. Empirical analysis suggests that return on investments (ROI) in Africa has consistently been among the highest in the world since the 1990s.  That fact is borne out by the fact that foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in West Africa grew at a CAGR of 27.7% from 2007 to 2013 - the strongest growth on the continent, and indicative of improving investor sentiment.  Clear opportunities therefore exist for Middle East investors seeking to capitalise on the unique opportunities the region presents.

Fiscal policy in the region has also shown improvement. A number of countries have successfully implemented policies to reduce budget deficits. In the course of 2013, the average overall fiscal deficit for the region was reduced from an estimated -2.2% of GDP to a projected -1.8% in 2014.   This year budget balances are expected to improve in Benin, Guinea-Bissau and Mali, among others. They are expected to remain stable in Cote d'Ivoire and Senegal.

With the forty eight countries of sub-Saharan Africa generating about the same amount of energy as Spain, it is clear that significant funding is required to fuel and drive infrastructural growth.  Some estimate that the cost of addressing Africa's infrastructure deficit is approximately US$90bn every year for the next decade.  Since infrastructure has such a fundamental role in improving economic competitiveness and driving regional and international trade, investment in the sector has become a top priority for West Africa's governments.

 

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