By: Napoleon Ato Kittoe
It is called a project for peace, African economic integration and co-development. It also vibrates as a project for present and future generations. The Nigeria-Morocco Gas Project had a bilateral agreement on it in 2016 between leaders of Nigeria and Morocco. Certainly this is good news for stakeholders especially West Africans who have some challenges in the energy sector, evidenced by power cuts in some of the countries over the last 15 years as a surge in population and attendant activities have caused overwhelming demand For the product.
Though Nigeria is a member of OPEC, suggestive of its immense resources for oil and gas production, the West African powerhouse cannot boast a steady power supply. In fact in Nigeria almost every household and institution have a generator set as a stopgap measure in the predictable event that power sources snaps. The second largest economy in the subregion Ghana grappled with its worst episode of power crises between 2014 and 2016, which capsized the country’s economy from the highest growth rate to tottering levels. The least said about the rest of the region the better. Despite the hitches, Ghana has been committed to supplying Togo and Benin according to a binding agreement. Other well placed nations do the same for other nations on the basis of dissimilar comparative advantages.
The philosophy behind the transnational gas project and the pathway to the realization of the vision of the Moroccan Monarch, King Mohammed VI found a clear expression in his speech to mark the 47th anniversary of the Green March of Morocco. The occasion is symbolic of Moroccos liberation struggle to recover its Sahara from Spain, using a channel on the Pacific. Onwards, Morocco uses each step of the way for internal reorganization that ensures the development of the country and the betterment of citizens.
A speech read by the King in Rabat to commemorate the event indicated thus, “the continuing marches I have been spearheading aim to make sure our citizens lead a dignified life, especially in those Saharan regions which are dear to my heart”.
The foregoing paragraphs reveal a two-dimensional approach to development by Morocco which is its own internal development and external partnerships, especially with the burgeoning Sub-saharan region. The green march has integrated development program
with a well oiled budgetary mechanism to the tune of 77 billion Moroccan dirhams. Mostly targeted at its Saharan southern region, the ambitious program comes with modern highways and communication systems, construction of ports and industries, agricultural development as well as the proper management and utilisation of phosphate, water and other natural resources.
In all these, under the able direction of the King, Morocco wants the unleashing of the full potential in all Moroccans including the youth for self employment and as a shoulder to the wheels of national cause. Importantly, the direction to objectives is signposted by culture, the indigenous culture of Morocco for which the “hassani language and culture” are called into play for greater discipline.
Within the context of Morocco and Ecowas, the springboard is the memoranda of understanding signed in Rabat between Morocco and Nigeria and in Nouakchott with Mauritania and Senegal. These relate to the Gas Project for the common use of Morocco and the Ecowas region. The population size of the spectrum is estimated at 440 million or more.