Investment plans

18 March 2008

West Africa's Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) has announced plans to invest US$ 6 billion in regional infrastructure over five years in an effort to raise living standards and curb emigration.

Foreign donors have pledged about US$ 5 billion at a roundtable in Senegal's capital Dakar last November and UEMOA member states will provide a further CFA 472 billion (US$ 970 million) for a host of projects, the most expensive of which be linking the region's rail networks and building new roads.

About 80% of the money will be spent on infrastructure to improve and connect some of West Africa's few international railway lines, including routes from the Malian capital Bamako to Abidjan and Niamey, the capital of Niger.

According to UEMOA adviser Amadou Diop, the move is designed to stem the flow of illegal immigrants from Africa to Europe by providing economic incentives to stay. “this wave of migration, is a tragedy for Africa. You can improve the situation of people in our sub-region in terms of development, in terms of health, in terms of education. If we have success, it is sure that people will have the opportunity to stay at home,” he said.

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