Abu Dhabi Fund Backs Mauritanian Fishing Port Upgrades

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In the latest of a string of ambitious memorandum of understandings (MoU) signed by the Mauritanian government spring boarding the nation’s development, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) has committed $6.5 million for upgrades to the Tanit Fishing Port in the nation’s capital of Nouakchott.

Notably, the funds will see to the development of an ice factory increasing export capacity, modernizing port service facilities with the addition of a 150m2 boat repair and maintenance workshop whilst enhancing maritime safety via navigation guides leading into and out of port. 

The MoU, agreed to in mid-September last year, was signed by H.E. Mohamed Saif Al Suwaia, ADFD’s Director General and H.E. Ousmane Mamoudou Kane, Mauritania’s Minister of Economic Affairs, with works on the artisanal fishing port expected to reach completion this year or next.

Across Mauritania, 900,000 tons of fish are exported each year, accounting for 58% of net exports and 10% of the country’s GDP. Indeed, Mauritania holds the title of the largest Arabic exporter of fish, the Tanit port and others of its kind supporting fishing-reliance households to derive subsistence income from the industry. Tanit itself can dock approximately 400 small to medium sized boats and includes a 1,740m2 fish market, helping to feed and support thousands in Nouakchott’s local communities. However, the significance of the development extends beyond the country’s fishing sector itself.

In the first instance, this is strong indication of Middle Eastern investment interest and enthusiasm targeting the MSGBC basin. Since 1977, the ADFD has helped to finance some $99 million in strategic development projects across Mauritania spanning agricultural production, wind power, healthcare, industrial manufacturing and transport. But taking a wider lens, the United Arab Emirates as a nation, its stakeholders, firms and financiers is showing a rapidly sprouting interest in the region, Africa’s fourth largest investor with $5.64 billion supporting 71 recent projects, ahead of the United States and United Kingdom. Not only the fiscal resources but the cutting-edge technological expertise held and harnessed by this nation as Africa’s largest Gulf region investor denote it special significance as an ally for the MSGBC basin as Mauritania and its neighbours explore world-class energy resources amidst a burgeoning multi-billion-dollar industry.

For Mauritania itself, this MoU success story bodes well for the country’s energy future, having signed three such agreements in the sector just last year. The first of these, with America’s New Fortress Energy (NFE), lays the groundwork for the country’s first industrial gas-to-power harnessing NFE’s ground-breaking modular liquefied natural gas technology and fed by the one trillion cubic feet of natural gas held in the Banda field just off Nouakchott’s coast, targeting a potential launch date in 2024. A further agreement greenlights the Africa-focused low-carbon power specialist Chariot Energy’s $3.5 billion 10GW green hydrogen development dubbed Project Nour, currently consolidating investment having passed pre-feasibility studies with flying colours, approaching a possible final investment decision next year.

The last Mauritanian energy MoU of 2021 brings in a remarkable $40 billion investment from CWP Global for its own 30GW green hydrogen development. This project Aman is expected to potentially halve the nation’s unemployment by 2035, revolutionizing its transport via a CWP-backed introduction of hydrogen vehicles to the market and securing the country’s universal electrification through the feed-in of surplus solar and wind power generation from CWP’s farms, bringing with it innumerable industrial payoffs domestically whilst opening up European market export routes, following Chariot’s lead in the Netherlands.

Convening with a view to developing an African energy future that develops Africa, MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power 2022 will feature key stakeholders from Mauritania’s budding energy sectors. Energy truly represents the most intersectional of industries, touching transport, infrastructure, trade, development, agriculture, and west Africa’s 422 million population’s basic needs. To register and attend, visit https://msgbcoilgasandpower.com/.

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Elliot Connor

Elliot Connor

Elliot Connor is Energy Capital & Power's Field Editor for the MSGBC region. He holds a PgD in Environmental Engineering and is currently pursuing a Masters in Business Administration. He is also a bestselling author, TED speaker and charity CEO, having priorly worked as a columnist for India’s largest newspaper: The Daily Pioneer.

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