West Africa is rapidly emerging as a global energy hub, and the development of its logistics sector is a key driver behind this transformation. International partners, such as China and the UAE, are spearheading investments in the region, while also supporting the competitiveness of West African port infrastructure.
Several countries in West Africa are undergoing a modernization drive, aiming to position themselves as logistics and energy hubs by capitalizing on port transformation. These efforts are attracting global attention and investment, paving the way for economic growth and development.
An example of this transformation can be seen in Togo’s Port of Lomé, a deep-water port located on the Gulf of Guinea. The port serves as a transshipment center for West Africa, providing access to landlocked nations such as Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, and northern Nigeria. Its high-quality infrastructure and advantageous regulations have attracted numerous companies, making it an international trading hub with a large industrial free zone.
In 2013, the Togolese government awarded Terminal Investment Limited a 35-year concession to build and manage a container terminal within the Port of Lomé. Since then, the port has experienced exponential growth, from handling 300,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2013 to a staggering 2.2 million TEUs in 2022. It has become the busiest port in West Africa within a few short years.
In Ivory Coast, the Port of Abidjan has also undergone significant enhancements, thanks to the opening of its second container terminal in 2022. This project, carried out by Bolloré Ports and APM Terminals, has transformed the port into one of the largest and most modern harbors in West Africa. With an annual capacity of 2.5 million TEUs and various berths dedicated to different types of cargo, the port plays a crucial role in the country’s economy, generating more than 50% of its yearly GDP. It also serves as a vital link for landlocked nations in the region.
Ghana’s Port of Tema, the largest port in the country, has also undergone significant developments. A joint venture between Bolloré and APM Terminals raised funds to upgrade the port in 2015, allowing it to accommodate next-generation ships. The port, located in the industrial city of Tema, serves as a logistical hub for various sectors, including mining. In 2022, it processed 1.2 million TEUs of containers, contributing to the country’s economic growth.
In Nigeria, the Lekki deepwater seaport, which commenced commercial operations in 2023, has become the country’s largest port. Built to relieve the overcrowded Apapa and Tincan ports, the Lekki port is designed to handle ships with capacities exceeding 18,000 TEUs. Its strategic location makes it a transshipment center for the oil and gas industry in West Africa, reducing the reliance on neighboring countries’ ports.
In Senegal, the first phase of the Ndayane port was launched in 2022 by President Macky Sall. Spearheaded by Dubai Port World, the project aims to create the biggest multipurpose port in West Africa. With a capacity of 1 million TEUs and plans to expand further, the Ndayane port is set to become Senegal’s largest private investment to date, positioning the country as a major player in the region.
The development of these ports, including the Port of Lomé, Abidjan, Tema, Lekki, and Ndayane, is propelling the West African region’s transformation into a thriving energy and logistics hub. These advancements are attracting significant investments and putting West Africa on the global map as a key player in the energy industry.
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