U.S. Trade and Development Agency

1000 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1600 * Arlington, Virginia 22209

Telephone (703) 875-4357 * Fax (703) 875-4009


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        CONTACT:

                                                                                      Donna Thiessen : (703) 875-4357




Pictured here are Mr. Soumaïla Cissé (left), UEMOA President, Ms. Florizelle Liser (center), Assistant USTR for Africa, and Mr. Ned Cabot (right), USTDA Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, at the USTDA grant signing ceremony.

DAKAR, SENEGAL – (July 21, 2005) Increasing trade capacity in Western Africa through the development of regional transportation projects is the goal of two U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) grants totaling $967,000 that were awarded today to the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA).  The first grant, in the amount of $614,600 will fund a feasibility study on a proposed regional railway integration project.  The second grant, in the amount of $353,000, will support technical assistance on the development of a new aviation safety and security agency for UEMOA.


The grants were conferred in a signing ceremony held at the Meridien Hotel in Dakar, as part of the U.S.-UEMOA Trade and Investment Framework (TIFA) Council Meeting.  Ms. Florizelle Liser, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa, and Mr. Soumaïla Cissé, UEMOA President, signed the grant agreements on behalf of the U.S. government and UEMOA, respectively.  USTDA Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, Mr. Ned Cabot was present.


The regional railway integration project supported by the first USTDA grant awarded today would link three landlocked UEMOA member countries, Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso, to provide them with access to alternative seaports and more efficient rail network support.  Specifically, the project involves three segments: Bobo-Dioulasso (Burkina Faso) – Bamako (Mali), Kaya (Burkina Faso) – Niamey (Niger), Niamey (Niger) – Parakou (Benin).  The USTDA-funded feasibility study on the project will assess the overall project and each of its three component parts.  In particular, the study will include a market analysis of actual and forecasted freight/cargo and passenger traffic, provide preliminary conceptual engineering and design, develop a preliminary project financial structure, and recommend various operation and concession structures.


The development of a regional aviation safety and security agency in West Africa under the second USTDA grant awarded today supports the goals of UEMOA’s agreement with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to develop a regional project for the Cooperative Development of Operational Safety and Continuing Airworthiness Program (COSCAP).  COSCAP integrates air transport safety policies and enhances air transport safety by defining and developing harmonized roles for member states in compliance with ICAO standards.  The new agency will support this goal by establishing a central oversight body with staff in the member states and establish clear coordination with the local civil aviation authorities. 


The USTDA-funded technical assistance for the new agency will include recommendations on a location and operating/management structure, as well as the activities the agency should undertake and the equipment required.  The technical assistance will also include procurement planning for airports in the UEMOA region, training courses, procedures to implement safety and security, and the definition of an annual operating budget for the agency.  The study will make funding recommendations focused on making the agency self-sustaining. 


The opportunities to perform the feasibility study and technical assistance for UEMOA will be competed on the Federal Business Opportunities website at  Interested U.S. firms should submit proposals directly to UEMOA for consideration, following the instructions in the Federal Business Opportunities announcements.  UEMOA will select the U.S. contractors that will conduct the feasibility study and technical assistance.


UEMOA was founded in 1994 and is headquartered in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.  The regional body is comprised of eight member countries in West Africa:  Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo, and Niger. 


The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries.  The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, feasibility studies, training, orientation visits and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment.  USTDA’s strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development.  In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services.