|Antwerp and Dakar port authorities are to collaborate more closely in the next few years. In this way Antwerp, the second-largest port in Europe, seeks to reinforce its historic position as leader on the coast of West Africa. The Senegalese port of Dakar for its part views the collaboration as a way to position itself as the main regional hub for freight.
In order to put an official seal on the future collaboration, the respective port authorities signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Friday this week. Mr. Aboubacar Sedikh Beye signed for the Port Autonome de Dakar, while Kristof Waterschoot, CEO of two subsidiaries of Antwerp Port Authority (PAI and APEC), represented the Antwerp side. The signing ceremony was attended by the Belgian first minister Charles Michel and deputy first minister and minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo, both on a working visit to Senegal.
Crossroads of Dakar
But now Dakar has set its sights higher and plans to build a new port 50 km away from the present facility which with a keel depth of 18 metres will be able to handle the latest generation of giant container carriers without difficulty. Together with the new port Dakar also plans an economic and logistics zone of 600 hectares.
A recent report by the World Bank underlines the economic potential of the continent but also points up a number of challenges such as the lack of sufficiently trained personnel.
The MoU also contains a number of commitments in the area of marketing, developing trade relations, organising joint commercial events and exchanging information on subjects such as customs & excise, security and sustainability. The agreement has been signed for a period of five years.