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sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
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Old 9 Jun 2008
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Mauretania Highway built by who?

Hi,

does anyone know who has built the new asphalt road in Mauretania from Nouadhibou to Nouakchott (which company/country, and financed by who)?

What may be the economic or (geo-)political motivation behind it?
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any help

Its an interesting area of the world, for sure...

BBC NEWS | World | Africa | Building a road across the Sahara
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Mauritania of course. It funded earlier road building projects borrowing money from the World Bank.

The new road linking Nouadhibou and Nouakchott was costed at $72 million and was funded by the Mauritanian government borrowing money from the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development.

Main benefits are said to be tourism, and transport of fish and iron ore. Didn't see much sign of any traffic on the road when I was there.

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The fish trucks come down from Spain, saw a few whilst I was there & was told to keep quiet by police & not take pics of fish being unloaded into the back of a pick-up which should have been part of the Spanish consignment ... as for iron ore, maybe some of it does go south by road but I'd be suprised with the port at Kansando (NBD) and the train link up to Zouerat etc

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Didn't see any truck, while I was there. Only Senegalese transiting/selling cars. Or overland travellers.

Don't know of any tourist developments further South in Mauretania. Neither in Nouakchott nor along the Route de l'Espoir.

Fish usually stays onboard the fishing vessels and goes straight to Europe.

Iron ore takes same route.

That is why I was wondering.

There must be a bigger picture of someone "developing" the region: US with Morocco. Cementing West Sahara. Against Islamism. Etc.

Edteamslr's BBC article points in that direction.
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I don't know specifically in the case of the Mauritanian road but countries such as China are investing heavily in Africa. The rational is

1) they are seen to invest aid in poorer nations but the work is often carried out by foreign contracts - eg Chinese aid invested in Chinese companies to carry out the work thereby keeping the money in Chinese companies even through its on a project in for example Sudan.

2) In return, they get access to contacts for raw materials that are desperately needed in China.

3) Re the previous suggestion that the Mauritanians borrowed it to generate trade / tourism etc - the fact that this maybe isn't successful doesn't mean that wasn't the rational for doing it. Mongolia has had huge amounts of aid which its used to build things like a flashy new international airport- its hard to see how this will create further income but its still where lots of the investment went.
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Good points, Toby2.
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