International port operator DP World signed a deal Wednesday to develop a new deep-water port in Senegal worth over $1 billion, the company announced, its biggest ever investment in Africa.
DP World Dakar, a joint venture between the Dubai-based maritime firm and the port authority based in Senegal’s capital Dakar, will build and operate a vast new 600-hectare (1,500-acre) port on the Atlantic Ocean. The deal also includes plans to build a new terminal to handle the world’s biggest container ships and a “special economic zone” to attract foreign capital.
The major investment follows DP World’s delisting from the stock exchange to become a fully government-owned firm. The world’s fourth-largest port operator runs operations in 40 countries as far east as Brisbane, Australia and as far west as Prince Rupert, Canada. Over the years, DP World has won concessions to develop commercial ports and logistics hubs at several sites across Africa, including Somaliland, Algeria, Mozambique and Djibouti.
DP World’s forays into Africa come as the United Arab Emirates aggressively seeks to gain a strategic foothold in the continent. Over the past few years, the Gulf nation has built a series of military bases in the Horn of Africa that allow it to project power far beyond its borders, into the Red Sea and the crucial Bab el-Mandeb strait.
DP World Dakar plans to pour $837 million into the first phase of Senegal’s Ndayane port construction, the single-biggest private sector investment in the West African country’s history, followed by another $290 million, according to a company statement.
The new port will help cement Dakar’s status as “a major logistics hub and gateway to West and Northwest Africa,” the company added.