Four more African countries, namely Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Guinea, and Benin, have signed memoranda of understanding with Morocco and Nigeria to participate in the flagship Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project.
The signing took place at the headquarters of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Lagos, Nigeria, in the presence of Amina Benkhadra, the Director-General of the National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines.
The signing of the new MoUs took place on the sidelines of the steering committee meeting for the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project, attended by representatives of ECOWAS and all the concerned countries.
The four new joining countries bring the total number of states involved in this project to ten, as these agreements are a continuation of the memoranda signed with ECOWAS, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, and Ghana last year.
The new MoUs confirm the commitment of the parties to this strategic project, which is expected to enhance the gas resources of African countries and provide a new alternative export route to Europe.
This project is expected to contribute to accelerating access to energy, improving living conditions for the population, and supporting the integration of regional economies.
Amina Benkhadra stated that “the alliance represents a progressive step towards ensuring social and economic development, by ensuring energy security and achieving comprehensive development for Africa by Africans,” according to a press release published by the Nigerian National Oil Corporation (NNPC).
NNPC chief on his part said that the Nigerian Corporation sees this project as an opportunity to monetize Nigeria’s abundant hydrocarbon resources, by expanding access to energy to support economic growth, industrialization, and job creation across the African continent and beyond.
ECOWAs Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy, and Digitization, Sediko Douka, underscored the importance of the gas pipeline project. It will help enhance electricity production and generation capacity, stimulate industrial and agricultural development, and contribute to achieving the energy transition by using a cleaner source of energy than other fossil fuels, he said.
In a speech in November last year, King Mohammed VI had described the project as “strategic and beneficial to all of West Africa.”
“This is a project for peace, for African economic integration, and for co-development: a project for the present and for future generations,” the King had said.
The pipeline will originate in Nigeria and end in Morocco, passing through eleven countries: Benin, Togo, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Senegal, and Mauritania.
The pipeline is expected to transport nearly 3 billion cubic feet of gas per day along the West African coast to Morocco and Europe, running over 7,000 kilometers, of which 1,672 km crossing Morocco, and will benefit over 400 million people in West Africa.
The Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project was announced in 2016 in Abuja by King Mohammed VI and former Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.