Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline Is Paramount to Regional Economy, Politics

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The Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project is of critical importance for inter-Africa development and integration as it would significantly address regional energy security issues, according to Mohamed Bowden, Head of the Atlas Center for the Analysis of Political and Institutional Indicator maintains.

The 3700-kilometer-long pipeline has the potential to equally address mounting energy security concerns in Europe stemming from the ongoing war in Ukraine, Mohamed Bowden wrote in an article published in the Senegal portal

The project’s primary goal is not to cut distances, but rather to stimulate regional development by serving the energy needs of close to 400 million people.

Adding to its significance for regional development, the pipeline is of strategic importance to many international players, Bowden wrote.

Morocco and Nigeria could have made the pipeline shorter by opting for a land road that carves its way from Nigeria to Morocco through only three countries: Niger, Mali, and Mauritania, or through Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Mauritania.

But the Morocco-Nigeria vision for the pipeline factors in regional security, stability, and sustainable development extending to 11 countries located in Western Africa, the analyst argued.

The vision underlying the pipeline is the first of its kind on the continent as Africa now is only home to pipelines linking two countries or four at a time, Bowden noted.

Recent developments in world affairs and their implications on global energy security have cemented the economic and strategic significance of the Morocco-Nigeria pipeline, the expert explained.

The pipeline will diversify Morocco’s energy sources while bolstering the Gross Domestic Production (GDP) in Nigeria, especially as the lifespan of the projects is set at 25 years.

As for other countries benefiting from access to the pipeline, they will be capable of generating sufficient electricity to power homes as well as industrial and agricultural activities.

Based on access to the green transition energy source, the 11 countries in Western Africa are projected to witness a rise in employment levels and improved livelihoods as the question of electricity penetration is of critical importance to regional politics given the frequent blackouts.

After detailing the immediate implications of the gas pipeline, the Moroccan expert moved to list the macro implications of the project.

The pipeline may accelerate the rate of the implementation of the cross-continental road, Tanger-Lagos, and consolidate efforts to tackle the underlying reasons for irregular immigration.

On the environmental level, gaining access to gas will substantially reduce emissions and stimulate the adoption of green manufacturing, as manufacturers turn from charcoal to natural gas.

Dedicating African resources, skills, and cooperation for the wellbeing of the continent will definitely “boost the continent’s confidence in its potential,” argued Bowden.

Network of international stakeholders

Given its long-term vision, the project will inevitably require a large network of international collaborators from the public and private sectors.

The recent investment from OPEC, a regional alliance of oil-exporting countries, and the Islamic bank to fund the technical studies ahead of the construction will contribute to raising international interest in the venture, the Moroccan expert added.

The gas pipeline may become of strategic importance to the west, especially the European Union as it attempts to break free from its severe dependence on Russian gas.

The recent spike in high-level meetings between Nigerian officials and the American energy department signals the US’s interest in supporting the project.

As China has already invested $16 billion in the Nigerian oil industry, the Asian giant also has a deep interest in making the pipeline cross with its Road and Belt global initiative, Bowden explained. As for Russia, its growing interest in the pipeline comes as the country seeks to bypass west-imposed sanctions by diverting its investments toward Africa.

The gas pipeline represents the backbone of the African Union Agenda, including the African green wall and the African trade zone (AfCFTA), as well as infrastructure development programs.

According to Bowden, the pipeline will strengthen regional security as international stakeholders will have an interest in maintaining regional stability to preempt possible shocks to the global energy supply chain.

By providing access to energy, the pipeline will significantly boost the 11 African countries’ prospects of attracting investments, reducing extremist and criminal activities in the region, as well as curbing the tide of Europe-bound irregular immigration.

The project will go a long way in fostering bilateral and multilateral relations through the mutual cooperation mechanisms like the African Union, and regional economic alliances.

Accordingly, Bowden concluded, gaining international investment will help the project reach its long-term objectives and become more sustainable.

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