New IFC Infrastructure Hub in Dakar Paves the Way for Development Impact
Senegal's severe traffic congestion has for years caused commuter headaches and hampered the delivery of goods throughout the West African country. At a cost of 5 percent of the country’s annual output, according to the World Bank, the need for infrastructure improvement is urgent.
Building on groundwork laid by the World Bank, IFC – together with leading French concession and construction company Eiffage and the government of Senegal – is working to improve the transit for the tens of thousands of vehicles that enter and exit Dakar on a daily basis.
IFC Regional Manager for Power, Transport, and Water Bertrand de la Borde, who led the transaction, said, "This project was the first of its kind in West Africa. We aim to replicate its innovation elsewhere in Africa. The project was completed in record time, and is the first purely greenfield toll road in the region."
Spreading Infrastructure Expertise from Dakar
IFC has designated its Dakar office as the regional infrastructure hub. "By having a hub for infrastructure in the region, we are moving decision making to the field to position ourselves to serve our clients better," said Yolande Duhem, IFC Director for West and Central Africa. "We are already developing better relationships and responding more quickly,"
The Dakar-Diamniadio toll road should cut the average commute from two hours to less than 30 minutes, improving economic opportunities for residents of Dakar's suburbs and connecting them more easily with Diamniadio and other urban centers.
The financing for the toll road is part of a larger project alongside the World Bank, also aimed at providing communities affected by the construction of the highway access to basic social and economic services. IFC provided €22.5 million in senior and subordinated long-term debt facilities alongside and played a major role in encouraging an additional €40 million of long-term financing from the West African Development Bank, the African Development Bank, and CBAO, a Senegalese commercial bank.
Improving Local Power, Water, and Transport
IFC's infrastructure focus aims to expand the market for private infrastructure, through structuring public-private partnerships like the Dakar toll road, investing in project development, and working with IDA. The focus will continue to be on power, water, and transport, with a particular focus on power generation and ports. Renewable energy an emerging focus area. Advisory Services is an important element of IFC's strategy of achieving expansion.
At a closing ceremony for the private sector financing portion of the toll road, IFC VP for Human Resources, Communications, and Administration Dorothy Berry said, "Supporting infrastructure in Africa is a critical priority at both a regional and corporate level for achieving IFC's development goals. This project is just one example of IFC commitment to the continent."
Berry met with staff across various areas of IFC's activities in the Dakar hub to check in on the rapid growth of the main office for West and Central Africa and undertake community work with an orphanage in M'Bour. The public ceremony on the toll road project capped off her visit, signaling the importance infrastructure development is playing in the hub for West and Central Africa.
Africa and the continent’s infrastructure needs are top priorities for IFC. To achieve greater impact, IFC Africa’s Infrastructure team is rapidly expanding across the region be closer to clients, and building a specialized concentration of staff within the Dakar office. IFC's new commitments in infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa reached $220 million during FY10, a figure that is expected to rise rapidly in coming years through a more focused effort on project development through advisory services, new investments, and other innovative approaches such as Infraventures, an early stage project investment fund.
Kimberlee Brown, Sub-Saharan Africa/Communications Practice Group