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By Daniel Flynn

LOMPOUL, Senegal (Reuters) - The wind-swept beach at the village of Lompoul stretches as far as the eye can see, washed by Atlantic breakers and dotted with brightly painted African fishing boats.

It is on this remote and beautiful stretch of coast, near to his birthplace, that Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade sees a glittering new capital rising from the sands -- a $30 billion "Dubai on the Atlantic".

Dakar, the fast-growing coastal capital of the former French colony, is being strangled by lack of space. It lies on a peninsula at Africa's most westerly point, linked to the continent by a 20-km (13 mile) wide isthmus choked by traffic.

At Lompoul, some 150 km north, the rolling dunes stretch far inland. Octogenarian Wade has reserved 25,000 hectares here for his new capital, dubbed "W D.C." by planners.

"In three years, the central government will no longer be in Dakar, but in the new capital," said Ahmed Khalifa Niasse, the minister leading the project. "In the first two years, we expect 200,000 people to come, and three years later, 2 million."

Senegal has signed a memorandum of understanding with Dubai World, the state holding behind the Gulf city's real estate boom, and construction is due to start next year.

"We think this new Dubai can be more attractive than the Dubai in the Gulf," said Niasse, who hopes a planned tax-free port could become the largest assembly-point for Asian goods going to the West. "We are mid-route for the whole world."

The relocation has precedents in West Africa. The "Big Man" of Ivory Coast, ex-president Felix Houphouet-Boigny, moved the capital to his hometown Yamoussoukro, deep in the bush, where he built a life-size replica of St. Peter's Basilica.

Nigeria also shifted its government to the new city of Abuja in 1991, partly to escape overcrowded Lagos. But these lifeless capitals remain overshadowed by their bustling predecessors.

"It is not easy to move a capital. There are universities, schools and businesses in Dakar, and one of West Africa's biggest ports. Are they simply going to move to an isolated area?" said Mactar Diouf, economics professor at Dakar University. "I doubt this is ever going to happen."

NEWS AIRPORT

Once feted as "little Paris" for its elegant colonial architecture, Dakar is beset by a lack of drinking water, overcrowded roads, power cuts and poor sanitary conditions. Its teeming suburbs house a fifth of Senegal's 12 million people.

Six years after taking office, Wade unveiled a raft of infrastructure projects last year, including an overhaul of Dakar's main thoroughfares and a new international airport at Diass, to be built by the Saudi Bin Laden Construction Group.

But with unemployment running over 40 percent and many young Senegalese risking their lives on the perilous boat-trip to Europe, critics have questioned whether the impoverished country has no better way of spending its money.

"We won't indebt ourselves for this project. It's the investors who take all the risk," counters Niasse. Dubai World and its partners will fund the construction and will then lease buildings for up to 50 years to the state and businesses.

"This is pure economic liberalism. We have found a way to free ourselves from the Bretton Woods system," said Niasse, blaming the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund for 50 years of underdevelopment by entangling Senegal in debt.

A blueprint for the city has been drafted by Parisian architect Olivier-Clement Cacoub, incorporating traditional Maghreb styles. Cacoub once designed a jungle palace for Congo's ex-dictator Mobutu Sese Seko known as the "African Versaille".

The plans for Lompoul are ambitious: Africa's first high-speed train linking the capital with Dakar, plus an eight-lane toll-road. Niasse also wants to build Africa's first Formula 1 circuit in the arid Sahelian bush.

Sat on a woven mat under a white-flowered neem tree, Sira Sow, village chief of Lompoul like his father and grandfather before him, said he was impatient for the project to begin.

"This is a beautiful place now, with air and space. We know that is going to change, but that is fine as long as it brings jobs," said Sow, adding that most people favor the project.

Fisherman on the nearby beach, where women carry the day's catch in plastic buckets on their heads, hope the new city will mean schools and hospitals. At present, they complain most them cannot read or write and they must travel far for healthcare.

"Some people are afraid they will lose their land," said Sow. "The president has a duty to come here and hear our concerns before he does anything."

http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL3141820120070531?feedType=RSS
 

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This is a horrible idea. We don't need another president moving the capital to his hometown. Abuja made sense because it was centrally located and could bring together the North and South. Yamoussoukro was probably a waste. And this would be a huge waste. Dakar is a beautiful city. If it's getting crowded they should expand it to the East. If anything, moving the government to Rufisque or Thies would make much more sense than Lompoul.
 

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Senegal sees "Atlantic Dubai" new beachside capital
By Daniel Flynn

LOMPOUL, Senegal (Reuters) - The wind-swept beach at the village of Lompoul stretches as far as the eye can see, washed by Atlantic breakers and dotted with brightly painted African fishing boats.

It is on this remote and beautiful stretch of coast, near to his birthplace, that Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade sees a glittering new capital rising from the sands -- a $30 billion "Dubai on the Atlantic".

Dakar, the fast-growing coastal capital of the former French colony, is being strangled by lack of space. It lies on a peninsula at Africa's most westerly point, linked to the continent by a 20-km (13 mile) wide isthmus choked by traffic.

At Lompoul, some 150 km north, the rolling dunes stretch far inland. Octogenarian Wade has reserved 25,000 hectares here for his new capital, dubbed "W D.C." by planners.

"In three years, the central government will no longer be in Dakar, but in the new capital," said Ahmed Khalifa Niasse, the minister leading the project. "In the first two years, we expect 200,000 people to come, and three years later, 2 million."

Senegal has signed a memorandum of understanding with Dubai World, the state holding behind the Gulf city's real estate boom, and construction is due to start next year.

"We think this new Dubai can be more attractive than the Dubai in the Gulf," said Niasse, who hopes a planned tax-free port could become the largest assembly-point for Asian goods going to the West. "We are mid-route for the whole world."

The relocation has precedents in West Africa. The "Big Man" of Ivory Coast, ex-president Felix Houphouet-Boigny, moved the capital to his hometown Yamoussoukro, deep in the bush, where he built a life-size replica of St. Peter's Basilica.

Nigeria also shifted its government to the new city of Abuja in 1991, partly to escape overcrowded Lagos. But these lifeless capitals remain overshadowed by their bustling predecessors.

"It is not easy to move a capital. There are universities, schools and businesses in Dakar, and one of West Africa's biggest ports. Are they simply going to move to an isolated area?" said Mactar Diouf, economics professor at Dakar University. "I doubt this is ever going to happen."

NEWS AIRPORT

Once feted as "little Paris" for its elegant colonial architecture, Dakar is beset by a lack of drinking water, overcrowded roads, power cuts and poor sanitary conditions. Its teeming suburbs house a fifth of Senegal's 12 million people.

Six years after taking office, Wade unveiled a raft of infrastructure projects last year, including an overhaul of Dakar's main thoroughfares and a new international airport at Diass, to be built by the Saudi Bin Laden Construction Group.

But with unemployment running over 40 percent and many young Senegalese risking their lives on the perilous boat-trip to Europe, critics have questioned whether the impoverished country has no better way of spending its money.

"We won't indebt ourselves for this project. It's the investors who take all the risk," counters Niasse. Dubai World and its partners will fund the construction and will then lease buildings for up to 50 years to the state and businesses.

"This is pure economic liberalism. We have found a way to free ourselves from the Bretton Woods system," said Niasse, blaming the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund for 50 years of underdevelopment by entangling Senegal in debt.

A blueprint for the city has been drafted by Parisian architect Olivier-Clement Cacoub, incorporating traditional Maghreb styles. Cacoub once designed a jungle palace for Congo's ex-dictator Mobutu Sese Seko known as the "African Versaille".

The plans for Lompoul are ambitious: Africa's first high-speed train linking the capital with Dakar, plus an eight-lane toll-road. Niasse also wants to build Africa's first Formula 1 circuit in the arid Sahelian bush.

Sat on a woven mat under a white-flowered neem tree, Sira Sow, village chief of Lompoul like his father and grandfather before him, said he was impatient for the project to begin.

"This is a beautiful place now, with air and space. We know that is going to change, but that is fine as long as it brings jobs," said Sow, adding that most people favor the project.

Fisherman on the nearby beach, where women carry the day's catch in plastic buckets on their heads, hope the new city will mean schools and hospitals. At present, they complain most them cannot read or write and they must travel far for healthcare.

"Some people are afraid they will lose their land," said Sow. "The president has a duty to come here and hear our concerns before he does anything."

http://www.reuters.com/article/world...1?feedType=RSS


This sounds really hugely over-ambituous but the UAE are extremly trustworthy and very pleasant partners to work with! And I always knew instinctively that when Emiratis dare to come to sub-saharan Africa they would pick Senegal! (Good location, closeness to Europe and the US, democratic and relaible rule, low crime rate, similarities of culture and religion etc.)


I would like to see a model by that French architect Cactoub who designed this capital!

If this vision becomes reality, it will make thousands of companies flock to Senegal!

Let´s wait and see! But who is paying for it all? $30bn is a hell lot of money!

But I like Wade, he is a leader with great visions!
 

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I checked Gulf News. Here is another interesting article:)

DP World to invest Dh1.95b in Senegal


Published: 06/06/2007 12:00 AM (UAE)
DP World to invest Dh1.95b in Senegal



By Shakir Husain, Staff Reporter


Dubai: DP World said yesterday it will invest $534 million (Dh1.95 billion) in Senegal to upgrade the Port of Dakar and build a container terminal as part of several projects being considered in the West African nation.

The company said it has won a 25-year concession from the Senegal government to manage the port facilities. It will initially invest about Dh490 million in infrastructure and equipment at the Terminal à Conteneur to more than double its capacity to 550,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent container units).

The first phase of the project will be operational by the beginning of 2008 and completion is due by 2010.

In the second phase, DP World will develop and manage the new container terminal called Port du Futur. To be built at a cost of Dh1.46 billion, the facility will become operational in early 2011. Its annual capacity will be 1.5 million TEUs.

The Senegal project will be DP World's biggest port investment commitment in Africa. The Dubai firm is building a $300-million container terminal in Djibouti, which will open in late 2008 and create a transshipment hub in the East African nation. DP World also runs Djibouti's existing seaport and airport, while other Dubai companies manage customs operations and operate a free trade zone.

Several Dubai entities that form part of Dubai World, DP World's parent company, are planning to invest in Senegal, which is building a new $30-billion capital on its Atlantic coast.

Dubai investment will help the former French colony to establish much needed modern infrastructure.

The port concession follows an accord signed between Senegal and Jafza International, a unit of Dubai World, in December 2006 to set up an integrated Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Dakar. The agreement is expected to be finalised soon.

"There is potential for development of a free zone affiliated to the new port at Dakar. We also see considerable potential for tour-ism in Senegal with its beautiful coastline and extensive national parks. We are looking at investing in hotels and other recreation facilities there," Dubai World chairman Sultan Ahmad Bin Sulayem said.

Jafza International acted as a consultant to the Senegal government in the drafting of the legal framework required to facilitate the creation of the SEZ.
Source: http://www.gulf-news.com/business/Shipping/10130415.html
 

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One more article on that project, slightly older!

Dubai Developers explore African frontier in Senegal´s property market


Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

Posted by Overseas Property Mall in African Property, International Real Estate Trends, Senegal Property

A number of Gulf developers have been discussing property developments in Senegal during the visit of President Abdoulaye Wade to Dubai in April.President Wade has been looking for partners for the development of a new administrative city to house the Senegalese government. The exact plans for the new development remain undetermined as yet but a number of companies from Dubai have lined up to develop property in the new free zone, close to the country’s new airport and about 40 km from Dakar, the present Senegalese capital. Grants of development land in the Senegal economic Zone (SEZ) are being negotiated for Jafza International, and its subsidiaries Dubai World, Limitless and Economic Zones World, Nakheel, and Istithmar.

Among the Emirates business people meeting with President Wade was Dr Abdulla Shaaban, CEO of the Abu Dhabi branch of Tameer of Bahrain. Up until now the company’s interests have been concentrated on Bahrain and to a small extent in neighbouring gulf states.

Jafza International, part of Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority has taken a leading role in negotiating the development of the SEZ, undertaking two feasibility studies and signing a memorandum of understanding with the Senegalese government last December. The first phase of development is expected to provide employment for 30,000 people. Jafza now has an interest in 10,000 ha in the 40 sq km development zone. Projects such as SEZ are just the kind of investment that Economic Zones World was launched to invest in in January 2007.

Rather than Striking out with a new capital in a more central location, like Brasilia, President Wade is planning his new capital in the immediate hinterland of the Dakar metropolitan area. Dakar Metropolitan Area itself has a population of nearly 2.5 million people and Wade is hoping to stem the city’s unplanned growth.

Contracts with Gulf-based property developers illustrate the President’s Plan Omega, which he publicised at the international forum for world leaders at Davos earlier in the year. The President is seeking to use bilateral and commercial agreements to provide investment for infrastructure projects in a plan that covers the entire African continent.

The country is one of the most stable in sub-Saharan Africa with relatively good democratic credentials. Per capita GDP is about $1,750 and the currency is the stable CFA franc. Currently, there are no direct airline flights between Dakar and anywhere in the Gulf but the Senegalese are hoping that Emirates will agree to launch a service in late 2008.
 
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