Detailed list: CGEM encourages its members to invest in structural projects in Mauritania

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This is the real slogan that the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM) has just launched for its member companies. The message is very clear: they will take advantage of the countless business opportunities offered by Mauritania, a neighboring country that is closer than ever to Morocco, either politically or economically. A country that has also just launched a portfolio of major structural projects, with a strong desire to see them through and the necessary means.

In its letter, CGEM clarifies that these are public-private partnership (PPP) projects and that Mauritania intends to support and encourage potential investors. The Ministry of Economy and Promotion of the Development of Production Sectors of Mauritania also calls on business entities to show dynamism. Moroccan companies are therefore encouraged to submit unsolicited tenders for these projects. As part of active economic diplomacy, consultants were mobilized at the Moroccan Embassy in Nouakchott to guide and advise interested Moroccan companies.

The President of the Moroccan-Mauritanian Business Council at the same CGEM, Abdelaziz Taarji, explains that the option that Moroccan companies should make regarding Mauritania is quite natural. “This is a friendly and fraternal country, the state power of which is now in harmony with the Kingdom. It is also a country that looks to the future and has great needs in terms of development projects,” he explains. For him, the priorities are clear: “the current trend is aimed at the development of agriculture and agro-industry, areas where the national production structure has proven experience. There are also infrastructure and sectors such as water supply that Moroccan companies can invest in,” he describes.

With an area of ​​over a million km2, Mauritania is a country 1.5 times the size of Morocco, home to almost 4.5 million people. The country has the funds for its new strategy. This neighbor to the south, rich in newly discovered gas fields due to come on stream in 2023, also has large reserves of uranium, iron, copper and gold. Added to all this is a coastline full of fish that offers sea fishing prospects with limitless potential (see box below).

A framework for cooperation between Morocco and Mauritania has already been developed and is materializing, in particular, thanks to the regular work of the Joint Commission that unites the two countries. Held in March 2022 in Rabat, 8d The meeting of this commission also led to the signing of 13 new cooperation agreements in sectors such as agriculture, animal husbandry, fishing, tourism, regional planning, urban planning or even vocational training. A sign of Moroccan employers’ enthusiasm for their southern neighbor is that more than 100 business leaders visited the country in 2019, and all of Morocco’s strategic sectors were represented.

Here are the detailed development projects launched by Mauritania and in which Moroccan companies are invited to participate in the framework of PPPs:

Drinking water production station in the northern part of the country

Construction and operation of a plant for the production and supply of drinking water with an estimated investment cost of 3.5 billion dollars.

Highway connecting Nouakchott and Butilimit

Construction of a toll highway connecting Nouakchott and Butilimit with double lanes (2×2) with a length of 136.95 km with several entrances. The total cost of investments is estimated at 379 million dollars.

Integrated complex for the production of sugar in Foum Gleita

This project aims to partially meet Mauritania’s national sugar needs, strengthen the country’s food security and create about 7,000 jobs. It includes a workshop for the production of refined sugar from brown sugar (110,000 tons/year), a workshop for the production of electricity, and a workshop for the production of animal feed and fertilizers.

Reconstruction and expansion of oil depots in Nouakchott and Nouadhibou

This project aims to compensate for the limited capacity in Nouakchott and Nouadhibou and the low draft at the two sites. The cost of the project is 160 million dollars.

The deep-water port of Nouadhibou

The project is aimed at meeting import/export needs resulting from population growth and economic growth, provision of port logistics resources necessary for the implementation of the fisheries sector development strategy and improvement of supply conditions for the mining sector. The cost of investments is 323 million dollars.

Exploitation of agricultural lands in the south of the country

This project will take the form of a park dedicated to agribusiness in the south of the country. The region of the Senegal River Valley has water resources and vegetation capable of allowing the development of agro-forestry-pasture activities.

Mauritania: huge development potential and precious resources

In 2020, Mauritania produced 12.5 million tons of iron ore, mainly exported to China, Japan and Germany. The sector accounts for an average of 15% of GDP, 32% of export revenues and 30% of budget revenues. It is managed by the National Industrial and Mining Company, in which ONHYM (Morocco) is a 2.3% shareholder.

Mauritanian gold is developed by the Canadian group Kinross, the fifth largest gold producer in the world and the leading private investor in Mauritania. In 2020, the gold production of Tasiast Mauritania Limited SA, a subsidiary of the Canadian group, was 12.6 tons of gold, and production costs fell to $584 per ounce of gold when the price per ounce is above $1,800. Strongly underestimated revenue due to the fact that a significant part of the products is sent outside the country through informal channels.

Mauritania also has one of the most fish-rich coastlines in the world. It is a strategic sector with 1.4 million tons of fish caught for 65,000 jobs and a contribution to GDP of about 5%. The sector suffers from over-exploitation and a lack of coastal surveillance in the face of foreign pirate ships.

From early 2023, Mauritania will join the ranks of gas producers and exporters with the launch of the Grand Tortue Ahmeyim liquefied natural gas (LNG) project. The cost of investments is 4.8 billion dollars. The proven discoveries relate to the 425 billion cubic meters shared by Mauritania and Senegal.

Mauritania also has many other natural resources, including copper (4.7% of export earnings), gypsum, uranium, etc.