One of the benefits of either personally visiting Africa or talking with others who have traveled there is the opportunity it affords to dispel misconceptions about this vast and remarkably diverse continent. Often missed among the media stories about political strife are the numerous success stories and advances taking place.
The West African nation of Senegal underscores some of the most noteworthy developments. For example, the National Election Commission’s announcement on February 28 that incumbent Macky Sall had won reelection to a second and final term as the nation’s president marked the continuation in a nearly unbroken string of peaceful elections since the country gained independence 58 years ago. The term limitation is especially noteworthy in that it was implemented following Sall’s election to his first term.
Intertwined with that political stability is economic development. Senegal, like many other African nations, boasts a growing middle class and burgeoning infrastructure. Its capital, Dakar, has grown to a population of more than three million people. To tackle some of the issues that accompany such growth anywhere, such as housing shortages and traffic congestion, Senegalese developers have been building a new city, Diamniadio.
The futuristic city, with its striking, contemporary architecture, sits on approximately 4,000 acres and is situated about 20 miles outside of Dakar. When completed, Diamniadio will feature an industrial park, entertainment facilities, a 30,000-student university campus and housing for 350,000 residents. In addition to being near the capital, it’s less than an hour from the country’s Blaise-Diagne airport, which opened in 2017. Launched in January 2019, Phase 1 of the new Regional Express Railway (TER) connects Diamniadio with Dakar. Phase 2 will connect Diamniadio with the airport and is expected to open as early as 2121.
(Contract Signing at Ministry), l-r: Seydou Sy Sall, Minister, Managing Director; Robert Scharar; Ibrahima Mbodji, Administrative Advisor
Diamniadio will be adding another hotel to its ambitious plans. Robert Scharar, president of Houston-based FCA Corporation and head portfolio manager for Commonwealth Funds, recently signed a deal to acquire a piece of land for the future hotel. Scharar, making his nearly 100th trip to Africa since the 1990’s, has personally seen the emerging development that’s taken place in this region over the past 20 years, and is excited about the opportunities it’s creating for the Senegalese. “Diamniadio is a spectacular city, and we’re excited to be involved in a project that will contribute to the quality of life it offers visitors and residents,” Scharar noted. “It also illustrates the innovation and economic opportunities that continue to emerge in this region.”
(Site Inspection), l-r: Robert Scharar; Dr. Mbaye Dieng, Property Advisor