Roma, Italy – 16 October 2018 – A MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) for the initial funding of the feasibility study for the Transaqua project was signed in Rome by the Italian government and the Lake Chad Basin Commission. Francesco La Camera, Director General of the Italian Environment ministry, and Mamman Nuhu, Executive Secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, signed today a document that certifies an Italian government grant of 1.5 million Euros to finance the feasibility study for the project refill Lake Chad and build a water, transport, electricity and agro-industrial infrastructure in central Africa, developed by the Italian firm Bonifica more than 35 years ago.
The formal signature is following the decision announced by the Italian government in February 29, 2018, at the International Conference To Save lake Chad, held in Abuja, Nigeria. Though, there will be further bureaucratic steps before the grant can be delivered and the feasibility study can start, the specific purpose of this MoU is to coordinate and complete a feasibility study for the water transfer from Ubangi-Congo basin to Lake Chad basin. It will serve to:
(i) Assess, at feasibility level, the technical possibility of transferring water resources from the Ubangi-Congo basin to the lake Chad;
(ii) Examine the additional outcomes of the project, especially in terms of renewable power production and inland navigation;
(iii) Identify the issues to be dealt with to ascertain the environmental, social and economic impacts directly or indirectly possibly caused by the implementation of the water transfer, and the relevant remedial and mitigation measures;
(iv) Carry out a preliminary cost estimate and project implementation phasing; and
(v) Provide the required project justification, including evaluation of alternatives and identification of risks.
In order to ensure the efficient implementation of the provisions of the MoU, the parties will establish a Joint Committee composed of two representatives from the Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea of the Italian Republic, and two representatives from the LCBC. The Joint Committee will provide general direction and guidance for the co-operation activities, approve the Terms of Reference and the work plan, supervise and support the cooperation activities and take financial decision.
“It is a historic step”, said Bonifica CEO Romina Boldrini. “Italy is giving money for Transaqua. Everybody is expecting Bonifica to start the feasibility study now”.
“The success of this Pan African infrastructure project, will be bring peace stability to the Lake Chad Basin Commission member states and to the other states of West and Central Africa, and as well create new levels of economic wealth. It will greatly contribute to the integration and the unification of the continent, as scheduled in the African Union’s “Agenda 2063”, said Ambassador Mamman Nuhu, LCBC’s Executive secretary.
It is worth recalling that the carrying out of these feasibility studies will be jointly made by Bonifica and the Chinese construction giant, PowerChina, that already concluded a deal with Bonifica in August 2017, as is sequel to the Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, signed in December 2016, between the LCBC and this Chinese enterprise, and thanks to the one million eight hundred thousand dollars earlier granted for this purpose by the Chinese government.