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

In a letter addressed to its members, the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM) encourages them to participate in several major structural projects launched by the Mauritanian government. Opportunities abound. Here they are in detail.

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

In its letter, CGEM indicates that these are public-private partnership (PPP) projects and that Mauritania intends to support and encourage potential investors. The Mauritanian Ministry of Economy and Development of Industrial Sectors also invites economic actors to show dynamism. Thus, Moroccan companies are forced to apply for participation in tenders for these projects. As part of active economic diplomacy, experts have been mobilized at the Moroccan embassy in Nouakchott to guide and advise interested Moroccan companies.

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

With an area of ​​more than a million km2, Mauritania is a country 1.5 times the size of Morocco, with almost 4.5 million people. The country has the funds for its new strategy. Rich in recent gas discoveries set to come online in 2023, this southern neighbor also has large reserves of uranium, iron, copper and gold. Added to all this is a coastline full of fish offering sea fishing prospects with endless potential (see box below).

The 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, 8the The meeting of this commission also led to the signing of 13 new cooperation agreements relating to sectors such as agriculture, livestock, fisheries, tourism, regional planning, urban planning or even vocational training. As a sign of Moroccan employers’ enthusiasm for the southern neighbour, over 100 business leaders visited the country in 2019 and all strategic sectors of Morocco were represented.

Here are the detailed development projects launched by Mauritania in which Moroccan companies are encouraged to participate under PPPs:

Plant for the production of drinking water 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.

Highway connecting Nouakchott with Boutilimit.

Construction of a toll motorway connecting Nouakchott and Boutilimit on a two-lane (2×2) route of 136.95 km with multiple ramps. The total cost of investments is estimated at $379 million.

Integrated Sugar Production Complex at 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 the production of refined sugar from brown sugar (110,000 tons/year), the production of electricity and the production of animal feed and fertilizers.

Renovation and expansion of oil depots in Nouakchott and Nouadhibou

This project aims to compensate for the limited capacity at Nouakchott and Nouadhibou, as well as the shallow draft at these two sites. The cost of the project is 160 million dollars.

Deep water port of Nouadhibou

The project aims to meet the import/export needs resulting from population growth and economic growth, provide port logistics resources necessary to implement the fishing sector development strategy, and improve the supply conditions of the mining sector. The investment cost is $323 million.

Exploitation of agricultural land 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 Senegal Valley region has water resources and vegetation that can support the development of agrosilvopastoral activities.

Mauritania: huge development potential and valuable resources

Mauritania produced 12.5 million tons of iron ore in 2020, mainly exported to China, Japan and Germany. The sector represents on average 15% of GDP, 32% of export earnings and 30% of budget revenues. Operated by the National Industrial and Mining Company, in which ONHYM (Morocco) holds a 2.3% stake.

Mauritanian gold is being developed by the Canadian group Kinross, the fifth largest gold producer in the world and a 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, with production costs falling to $584 per ounce of gold when the price per ounce exceeds $1,800. Revenue is greatly underestimated due to the fact that most of the products are sent outside the country through unofficial channels.

Mauritania also has one of the richest fish coasts in the world. This 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 lack of shore surveillance due to foreign plunder ships.

From early 2023, Mauritania will join the circle of gas producers and exporters with the launch of the Grand Tortue Ahmeyim liquefied natural gas (LNG) project. The investment cost is $4.8 billion. 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, and others.