A new deal to increase commerce with numerous West African countries has been launched by an Emirati exporting arm.

The ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development and the Abu Dhabi Exports Office inked the financing deal in June. The agreement provides a $20 million credit line between the two institutions with the goal of increasing commerce between the UAE and the 15 ECOWAS member states in West Africa, according to a news statement from the Abu Dhabi Exports Office.

The UAE is seeking to increase its economic influence on the African continent and has become one of the world’s biggest investors there. Trade between the UAE and Zimbabwe, for example, has increased 300% in the past three years. Last year, the Dubai-based ports firm DP World pledged to invest up to $1.7 billion throughout Africa.

An African Development Bank delegation visited the UAE in April.

Several Middle Eastern states have sought greater involvement on the African continent in recent years. In 2020, Turkey and Qatar — along with the UAE — were among the biggest donors of coronavirus-related aid to African states.

Turkey is especially influential in Africa. Turkey-Africa trade has risen dramatically under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has visited 30 African states since the early 2000s. Turkey also has a military base in Somalia and is working to sell military equipment to African allies.

Israel also achieved observer status in the African Union last year.


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