Omani firm Hasan Juma Backer & Contracting (HJB) has unveiled plans to invest about US$700 million to develop a dry port in Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) in West Africa.
According to Krishnakumar Taore, Group Managing Director of HJB, the dry port will be a greenfield project with facilities for the storage of all kinds of commodities, such as fuels, liquids, cement, food grains, etc, in addition to a container component. Mr Taore stated:
The estimated cost is US$700 million and we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to implement the project on a public-private-partnership (PPP) basis. The next step is to conduct feasibility studies and other groundwork before we come to the stage where work can actually begin.
It's too early to talk about partners at this moment. Since this is a greenfield project, a lot of work has to go into it before we reach a stage where things materialise on the ground. But certainly we will get associated with those who will be assisting us in specialised aspects of this project. What is certain is that part of the equity for the project will come from our company, while the rest will be financed by various banks that are part of the consortium.
According to HJB construction works could start in about six months to a year.
The dry port is part of several projects undertaken by Gulf-based investors to develop infrastructure in Africa. HJB is one of these investors that have pledged a total of around US$19 billion in the development of a large portfolio of major infrastructure projects.
The PPP projects include roads, railways, bridges, checkpoints, dry-ports, airports, energy, and food security and water and will benefit 8 member countries of the UEMOA (West Africa Economic and Monetary Union). The 8 countries are the following: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo and Guinea-Bissau.