Shaikh Mohammed, Reem Ibrahim Al Hashemi and the leaders of African countries attending the inaugural West Africa Investment Forum in Dubai on Tuesday. — Wam
His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Tuesday met with the heads of state of six member countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union, or UEMOA, participating in the inaugural West Africa Investment Forum in Dubai.
During the meetings, Shaikh Mohammed had exchanges on the items of the agenda of the one-day forum with Benin President Yayi Boni, Cote d’Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara, Senegal President Macky Sall, Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore, Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou and Togo President Faure Gnassingbe, as well as with Guinea Bissau Parliament Speaker Cipriano Cassama and Mali Minister of Trade Abdel Karim Konate.
Welcoming the heads of states and heads of the participating delegates to the UAE, Shaikh Mohammed expressed his desire that the historic relations between the UAE and African countries should develop at all levels and in all spheres towards a real partnership of mutual benefit, and reflect positively on the lives of the people of the UAE and African countries.
Praising the support provided by most African countries for the UAE’s bid to host World Expo in Dubai in 2020, Shaikh Mohammed noted that the votes and support of fraternal and friendly countries, in Africa in particular, made it possible for Dubai to win the honour of hosting the mega event.
Describing the UAE as an open gateway and a connection hub between Africa and the rest of the world, Shaikh Mohammed expressed his desire for opening a new page in UAE-African relations based on common denominators between the two sides and taking into consideration the interests of peoples of all involved countries.
Emphasising that there are many common denominators between the people of the UAE and African countries, he noted that it is time that solid foundations were laid for desired relations fulfilling the higher interests of all parties.
Shaikh Mohammed also reiterated that the UAE is putting diverse human resources and expertise in most sectors at the disposal of the fraternal and friendly countries, including African countries, particularly those that are rich in natural resources, culture and labourers.
“If these elements are brought together to work for the interests of all parties, there will no longer be anything impossible for Africa, and especially if the continent enhances this potential with willingness, confidence and a true desire, it can make miracles and all of us can reach our target and fulfill the aspirations of our peoples,” Shaikh Mohammed concluded.
Earlier, Shaikh Mohammed attended the West Africa Investment Forum.
The one-day inaugural West Africa Investment Forum was co-organised in Dubai by the UEMOA, the West African Development Bank and international corporate finance and advisory firm Global Finance & Capital Limited, in order to highlight infrastructure investment opportunities in West Africa and bring together key stakeholders for the formal announcement of a series of large-scale infrastructure developments in West African countries.
Boni thanked the leaders of the UAE for the generosity and hospitality accorded to the African leaders and the participants in the forum in Dubai.
Praising Shaikh Mohammed as a leader of the UAE Cabinet and for his success in making Dubai beat many cities around the world in terms of progress, Boni noted that the presidents of UEMOA member countries see Shaikh Mohammed as an exemplary leader who represents a source of inspiration and innovation for them in their quest for achieving development and progress in their respective countries. He also noted UEMOA member countries chose Dubai as the host city of their meetings because it is a global metropolis and a meeting point where all cultures and civilisations peacefully co-exist and where these African countries seek to highlight their potential and attract investors from public and private sectors.
Boni also thanked Shaikh Mohammed for his keen interest and effective assistance in building cultural, investment and economic bridges between UEMOA countries and the UAE, under the leadership of the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
At the end of the meeting, Sall presented UAE Minister of State Reem Ibrahim Al Hashemi with the UEMOA’s Medal of the First Order in appreciation for her contribution to opening new channels of communication between the UAE and the member countries of the union during her meeting with officials on the UAE’s bid to host World Expo in Dubai in 2020.
Present at the meeting were Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Emirates airline and Chief Executive of the Emirates Group; Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy; Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, Director-General of the Dubai Ruler’s Court; and Khalifa Saeed Sulaiman, Dubai Director of Protocol and Hospitality.
In her welcome speech to the participants, Al Hashemi explained ways of building new relations and fruitful cooperation between the UAE and West African countries, particularly in areas of expanding joint investments. She thanked the organisers for choosing the UAE as the host country of the inaugural forum and wished for success for the event.
Cheikhe Hadjibou Soumare, president of the Commission of the UEMOA, in his speech thanked Shaikh Mohammed for his generous patronage and attendance of the opening of the event.