By Alaattin Dogru
Turkish contractors in Africa have an edge for their quality work, including the first railway project in the West African country of Senegal, said the head of one of the Turkish firms doing the project.
“Turkish contractors in Africa are competing with especially Chinese firms. Turkish contractors are being chosen mostly for doing fast and quality work,” Volkan Okur Yilmaz, the CEO of subcontractor Yapiray, told Anadolu Agency.
“We employ almost 2,000 people in Dakar, including nearly 1,500 locals,” he added.
Turkey’s Yapi Merkezi Group was selected in 2016 to build the railway project along with France’s Eiffage and Senegal’s CSE.
The project will put the city center of the capital Dakar just 45 minutes away from the future Blaise-Diagne international airport.
The Regional Train Express (with the French acronym TER) project is being developed under a social and economic development plan launched by Senegal’s government in 2014. The line is to have 14 stations along with a maximum speed of 160 kilometers per hour and estimated daily ridership of 115,000.
The project began in 2017 and will conclude in 2019, according to Yilmaz.
Senegalese President Macky Sall will attend the official opening ceremony of the project’s first stage.
“The project is worth €400 million in total. We work as subcontractors for railroad installation. We produce our materials in Turkey,” said Yilmaz.
Turkish companies in Senegal
Last October Turkey’s Tosyali Holding sealed a $2 billion iron and steel investment pact with Senegal’s Mines and Geology Ministry during a Turkey-Africa Economy and Business Forum.
The Dakar Arena, financed by Turk Eximbank, was inaugurated last August.
Senegal's army bought 25 Turkish-made Ejder Yalcin armored vehicles and four Turkish Ejder TOMA riot control vehicles and displayed them during an Independence Day parade in the capital Dakar last April.