File image: IOL

SENEGAL - Senegal’s new International Blaise Diagne opened early in December, will improve regional connectivity, drive down costs of transportation, grow and transform the economy, co-funders of the project- African Development Bank said.

A statement issued by African Development Bank said, "With a 42,000m2 (square meter) passenger terminal and a 12,800m2 cargo terminal building that is designed to handle 50,000 tons of cargo and 80,000 aircraft movements annually, the new airport resolves a lingering terminal capacity challenge; offers a long-term solution to intra-African economic activity; and resolves a perennial problem of low levels of aviation connectivity in West and Central Africa".

It is said that during the construction of the project, 3,000 local jobs were created and 427 full-time jobs for the operational phase.

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This airport will also open up job opportunities in the engineering, maintenance, information technologies and security fields in the next few years.

African Development Bank vice-president for private sector, infrastructure and industrialisation, Pierre Guislain said, "Africa must be ready to capitalize on this opportunity. We are delighted that our efforts to fund critical quality infrastructure across the continent are showing results. The new Airport brings us closer to winning the West African aviation connectivity and logistics hub battle."

Approximately 3 million passengers are expected to go through AIBD annually.

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It is expected that the facility will trigger emergence of small and medium enterprises; attract regional and foreign investors, while boosting tourism potential for the country.

African Development Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina has complimented the leadership of President Macky Sall. "He is a visionary with a clear commitment to the delivery of transformative projects".