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West Africa secures $19 billion in infrastructure projects with mostly Arab Gulf companies

This handout photo made available by Dubai Media Office shows the UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, center, and Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimi, Minister of State, on his left, as they receive the Presidents and the presidential  delegations from the eight UEMOA nations: Benin, Burkina-Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea- Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo at the West African Investment Forum in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Dubai Media Office)

This handout photo made available by Dubai Media Office shows the UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, center, and Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimi, Minister of State, on his left, as they receive the Presidents and the presidential delegations from the eight UEMOA nations: Benin, Burkina-Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea- Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo at the West African Investment Forum in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Dubai Media Office)  (The Associated Press)

Eight West African nations have secured $19 billion worth of infrastructure projects at a conference held in the Gulf country of the United Arab Emirates.

The lion's share of the spending will go toward a $16 billion railway and road project spearheaded by Abu Dhabi's Trojan General Contracting, whose parent company Royal Group is owned by Emirati businessman and Abu Dhabi royal family member Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The president of Benin described the the projects as "a Marshall Plan" for West Africa.

The investment forum held in the emirate of Dubai on Tuesday brought together the heads of state of the West African Economic and Monetary Union, which includes Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo and Guinea-Bissau.