Rabat – The Trans-African Pipeline, one in a series of strategic partnerships between Morocco and Nigeria, has received Algeria’s scorn for denting its prospects in the continent.
The signing of the agreement on Monday in Rabat was a highly important event, highlighting African-African strategic partnership and Morocco’s policy to seek greater cooperation with its neighbors in the continent.
A Moroccan Checkmate
Monday’s agreement came only six months after the King Mohammed VI and President Muhammadu Buhari agreed signed a joint venture for the construction of a gas pipeline from Nigeria to Morocco.
“With the signing of the gas pipeline agreement with Nigeria,” writes Al Araby, “Morocco has drawn the curtain on a hidden competition, which started years ago, on which country will take over the monopoly of African energy, in search of access to Europe.”
Rabat had long been eying an energy agreement with Abuja. Nigeria has important gas reserves, which as of 2014 were 5.111 bcm.
Between 2002 and 2009, Nigeria had been negotiating a similar gas pipeline agreement with Algeria, hoping to get access to the European market. But when negotiations stumbled, Morocco jumped on the occasion.
The London-based Arabic news site explained that Algiers had put pressure on Abuja to know details of the agreement. “Algeria’s losses will not be limited to its failure in winning the race over the Nigerian gas pipeline or the revenues that could have been generated thanks to the project, but it will also suffer from the competition with Nigeria’s gas exports.”
The Wonder of Africa
The Morocco-Nigeria Gas Pipeline project, which will pass through several West African countries on its way to Morocco, has been nicknamed “The Wonder of Africa.”
“The pipeline project has historical significance because it is designed by Africans for Africans with a direct impact on 300 million people through the speeding up of electrification projects in West Africa”, says Premium Times Nigeria.
The Nigerian news website explained that the project will serve as a “basis for the creation of a competitive electricity regional market.”
The giant pipeline, which will run about 4000 kilometers along the West African coast, has major strategic importance. In addition to Morocco and Nigeria, it links other African countries by including Benin, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Senegal, and Mauritania.
The project intends to improve access to energy across West Africa, thus helping address the lack of affordable energy in the region.
Other benefits include the creation of industrial hubs to attract foreign investment, improving exports competitiveness among African countries, and facilitating the expansions of other sectors such food processing and fertilizers.
The Trans-Atlantic Pipeline crowned a series of bilateral agreement between Morocco and other African countries in the last few years.
Strengthening cooperation between African nations has been the core of Morocco’s foreign policy, which has made the continent a top priority.
“This South-South open platform will accelerate the structural transformation of the national economies of the region, thereby putting the entire region on a higher growth path,” said Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, following the signing of the project in December.
The two countries presented their collaboration as “a model for South-South cooperation and act as a catalyst for African economic opportunities”.
In recent years Morocco grew to become the second investor in the continent, after South Africa.
In 2016, a total of $ 600 million of investments in Africa were earmarked by Morocco.
Now, with the Kingdom’s reintegration of the African Union (UA), Morocco will surely work for cooperation with its African counterparts.
Other major projects, such as the Trans-Atlantic Pipeline, will certainly see life.