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Big boost for Senegal as World Bank sign deals to finance four key projects worth $495m

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The economic fortunes of impoverished West African country, Senegal, is set to take a monumental leap after the World Bank on Tuesday, signed deals to finance four key projects worth a total of $495 million.

The deals, according to the global banking institution, will help improve education, electricity, economic development and road access to rural areas in the country which is undergoing serious economic downturn.

The World Bank considers the West African nation with a population of16.7 million as a lower-middle-income country, with its economy hit hard by border closures during the pandemic that affected tourism and delayed oil and gas extractions, while job opportunities and industries are only concentrated in the capital, Dakar, and a few other cities.

World Bank Director for Senegal, Nathan Belete, who announced the deals, described them as record breaking.

“One of the projects to improve the quality of the education system will be awarded $100 million and will benefit over 600,000 students.

“Another $45 million will fund a project to help develop the economy of the impoverished southern Casamance region, focusing on rural areas and including the construction of infrastructure resistant to the impact of climate change.

“Another $150 million will be disbursed to improve electricity access across the country, connecting 200,000 households to the grid and improving power services in schools, health facilities, and small and medium enterprises.

“The fourth project, worth $200 million, will focus on developing better road links to rural food producing areas in the northern and central regions,” Belete said.

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World Bank predicts Mozambique economy growing at 5.7% on average

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The World Bank has predicted that the economic growth in Mozambique is expected to accelerate in the medium term averaging 5.7% between 2022 and 2024, as a result of demand recovery and economy benefits from the start of liquefied natural gas production this year.

In a report released Thursday, the World Bank said the start of LNG production at the offshore Coral Project and the expected resumption of other LNG projects would help spur the southeast African nation’s growth in the intervening year.

The World Bank said a three-year extended credit facility arrangement agreed by Mozambique with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and budget support from other partners would further help to strengthen its economic recovery.

The IMF’s executive board had, in May, approved a $456 million program for the country, the first since the global lender suspended support to Mozambique six years ago.

However, the World Bank warned that risks remained for Mozambique’s growth, especially from rising import prices due to the conflict in Ukraine, a possible surge in COVID infection waves, and insurgency in the north.

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Nigeria, Algeria, Niger to revive Saharan gas pipeline talks

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The governments of Nigeria, Algeria and Niger Republic have held talks to revive a gas pipeline project across the Sahara which had been put on hold for over 40 years, with the potential opportunity for Europe to diversify its gas sources as the world faces a short fall as a result of the Russian-Ukraine war.

The three countries, represented by their various Petroleum Ministers, met in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital on Wednesday and resolved to set up a task force to revive the project and designated an entity to update the feasibility study.

A statement by Niger’s Oil Ministry after the two-day meeting stated that the Trans-Saharan gas pipeline project estimated at $13 billion, could send up to 30 billion cubic metres a year of supplies to Europe.

The statement added that the energy ministers of the three countries will meet again in Algiers at the end of July to “validate the proposals of the newly installed task force.”

“The pipeline should allow Europe to diversify its sources of natural gas supply but also allow several African states to access this high value energy source,” the statement said.

“With a length of 4,128 kilometres (2,565 miles), the pipeline would start in Warri, Nigeria, and end in Hassi R’Mel, Algeria, where it would connect to existing pipelines that run to Europe,” it said.

The gas pipeline idea was first proposed more than 40 years ago with an agreement signed between the three countries in 2009, but progress stalled stalled following a lack of follow through by the countries.

Earlier this month, Nigeria also took steps to revive another gas pipeline project that would pass through West Africa, Morocco to Europe.

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