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The corporate logo of DP World, at Jebel Ali Port, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Dec. 27, 2018.HAMAD I MOHAMMED/Reuters

Dubai ports giant DP World and Britain’s development finance agency CDC Group on Tuesday said they planned to jointly invest up to $1.72-billion in logistics infrastructure in Africa over the next several years, starting with modernizing three ports.

The investments will initially focus on expanding ports operated by DP World in Egypt’s Ain Sokhna, Senegal’s Dakar and Berbera in Somalia’s breakaway region of Somaliland, CDC said.

State-owned DP Word has committed to investing $1-billion over the next several years, while CDC has committed $320-million and potentially investing up to a further $400-million.

The joint investments will eventually be expanded to other regions in Africa, in what DP World and CDC hope will accelerate inbound and outbound trade for the continent.

“We have an aligned vision with DP World in that we wanted to do this across the continent in as many ports as possible,” CDC’s Head of Africa Tenbite Ermias told Reuters.

The partnership plans to invest, along with ports, in infrastructure like container depots and business parks.

CDC will own minority stakes in the three ports, Ermias said, with DP World handing over some shares in each.

The expansion of the three ports would improve access to vital goods for 35 million people, including in neighbouring countries, support 5 million jobs and add $51-billion to total trade by 2035, CDC said.

The partnership between DP World and CDC, who were both already active across Africa, is among a growing list of international and multilateral groups investing in the continent.

In July, the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) approved its first project in sub-Saharan Africa, announcing a $100-million loan to Rwanda.

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