Nigeria and Morocco sign gas pipeline deal to link Africa to Europe
ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria and Morocco have signed a joint venture to construct a gas pipeline that will connect the two nations as well as some other African countries to Europe, Nigeria's minister of foreign affairs said on Saturday.
The agreement was reached during a visit by the Morocco's King Mohammed to the Nigerian capital Abuja, Geoffrey Onyema, the minister, said, adding that the pipeline project would be designed with the participation of all stakeholders.
"In this agreement both countries agreed to study and take concrete steps toward the promotion of a regional gas pipeline project that will connect Nigeria's gas resources, those of several West African countries and Morocco," Onyema told reporters in Abuja.
Onyema said the project aimed to create a competitive regional electricity market with the potential to be connected to the European energy markets.
No timeline was given for when the pipeline construction work will start and how much it will cost.
Nigeria is rich in hydrocarbons but produces little electricity, making its industries uncompetitive. Its economy now faces a recession caused by a plunge in crude prices.
Militants in its oil producing heartland of the Niger Delta have also blown up pipelines in a quest for a bigger share of Nigeria's oil wealth, which has cut crude output this year.
"Nigeria and the Kingdom of Morocco also agreed to develop integrated industrial clusters in the sub-region in sectors such as manufacturing, Agro-business and fertilizers to attract foreign capital and improve export competitiveness" the foreign minister added.
(Reporting by Felix Onuah; Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Toby Chopra)
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