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The Morocco-Nigeria gas pipeline, an example of renewal and integrity in East Africa

Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita affirms that this project will serve as a clear example of territorial unity between the regions through which the pipeline will run
PHOTO/MAROC DIPLOMATIE – Geoffrey Onyeama, ministro de Asuntos Exteriores de Nigeria, junto a Nasser Bourita, ministro de Asuntos Exteriores de Marruecos

PHOTO/MAROC DIPLOMATIE  -   Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, with Nasser Bourita, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Morocco.

The 1st Ministerial Meeting of the Atlantic African States is giving a glimpse of the major projects that will be carried out on the continent in the near future. One of the most discussed topics was the upcoming Morocco-Nigeria gas pipeline, which continues to make progress in its construction. Nasser Bourita, Morocco's Foreign Minister, spoke about the progress of the pipeline during a press conference, where he said it is a project that will greatly improve Africa's image.

"The Nigeria-ECOWAS gas pipeline project to Morocco and beyond is a model of regional integration that will change the face of Atlantic Africa," the Moroccan minister said. After a joint press conference with his Nigerian counterpart, Geoffrey Onyeama, the two sides concluded that this gas pipeline will change the vision of East Africa.

Fotografía de archivo, el presidente nigeriano Muhammadu Buhari (Derecha) estrecha la mano del rey de Marruecos, Mohamed VI, a su llegada al palacio presidencial en Abuja, el 2 de diciembre de 2016 AFP/PHILIP OJISUA
AFP/PHILIP OJISUA - File photo, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (R) shakes hands with Morocco's King Mohammed VI upon his arrival at the presidential palace in Abuja, December 2, 2016.

According to the ministers, the construction of the pipeline will lead to a union between all the countries where the gas will flow and that, therefore, an amicable congregation will be formed between all the countries of East Africa. "This is a project that is moving forward, that will be a model of regional integration and that will change the face of the Atlantic and East Atlantic Africa," Bourita continued. This will be possible because, through its construction and thanks to the entire route of the tube, the economies and industries of these nations will be boosted.

Both ministers also wished to highlight the bilateral relations between the Moroccan and Nigerian people. The two sides stressed that their good ties are thanks to the great friendship between King Mohammed VI of Morocco and President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria. The two rulers have a very personal relationship, and the two ministers agreed that it is based on "trust, friendship and fraternity". At the same time, the creation of a new unique model of cooperation between the two African countries was announced, which will allow for new beneficial agreements and new opportunities.

Un oficial de Policía se encuentra cerca de un camión de gas durante la presentación del Programa Nacional de Expansión de Gas, en Abuja, Nigeria 1 de diciembre de 2020 REUTERS/AFOLABI SOTUNDE
REUTERS/AFOLABI SOTUNDE - A police officer stands near a gas truck during the launch of the National Gas Expansion Programme in Abuja, Nigeria December 1, 2020.

The pipeline is still at an early stage, in the first technical design sketches, so there is still a long way to go before the project sees the light of day. Nevertheless, both parties have given the green light for the project to start as soon as possible and construction is expected to begin soon. The project will be carried out by several companies, such as the Australian company Worley, which is involved in the construction of sustainability projects, among others. Similarly, several institutions from both countries will be part of the plan, such as the Moroccan National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Once completed, the Morocco-Nigeria pipeline will become the longest in the world. It will be a channel for moving gas over 7,000 km long, connecting the two participating countries and crossing 13 African countries. These are: Benin, Ghana, Togo, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal and Mauritania, as well as Morocco and Nigeria, where it begins and ends its journey. Its final destination will be Europe, where the gas will reach Spain and be distributed to other countries on the European continent.

Imagen de gasoducto PHOTO/REUTERS
PHOTO/REUTERS - Once completed, this pipeline between Morocco and Nigeria will become the longest in the world

Thanks to its construction, the pipeline promises to solve several problems related to the gas crisis that is being experienced in the current situation of the war in Ukraine and the breakdown of relations between Morocco and Algeria. It should be recalled that, since October 2021, Algeria has decided to close the Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline in the midst of a diplomatic crisis with the Kingdom, so this channel would be a possible response to this problem.

On the sidelines of the 1st Ministerial Meeting of African Atlantic States, Bourita and Onyeama also announced the forthcoming joint plans to be implemented between Morocco and Nigeria. Among some of the projects announced was the construction of a new fertiliser plant. "It is a concrete-oriented cooperation that is beneficial to both peoples. We will continue to work in this spirit," the Moroccan minister concluded.