The ambition of Mauritania is to develop its considerable energy resources, including renewables and the game changer – hydrogen. The challenges it faces include its limited experience in the sector as well as the lack of trained personnel. But the new sources of energy will be a good substitute for more polluting products.
The north of the country has plenty of sun and wind and Mauritania has been exploiting iron since its independence. Our aim is to use green energy to develop the country, electrify it and suppress poverty.
We will be also fighting climate change. Mauritania will be an integrated regional hub with a low carbon contribution. Gas will be used for industrialisation, in partnership with international companies. Gas will serve for electricity, transport, green steel, and exports.
Africa is a big exporter of oil and gas. But this is a capital-intensive industry which requires a lot of investment and generates little employment and industrialisation.
However, it has a big impact on financing governments and infrastructure.
Our first target is to generate economic growth of 10%, which will enable us to create jobs, industrialise and transform the national economy. Development is a cumulative process, step by step. Our vision of integrated energies – renewables, gas, iron, phosphate – will enable us to bring electricity to all Mauritanians.
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We need price stability. We subsidise petrol prices in order to help the consumers. We have adjusted prices by taking into account our financial budgetary means. We have resisted the effects of Covid-19, but we are worried by the increase in the prices of food and petrol.
We can plan for all of this, but we need to be lucky in order to succeed and for everything to take shape. We need to accelerate the transition. We are starting from zero. Our country is attracting competing international companies who are obtaining oil permits. We need all the natural resources and above all the human resources. To train people requires a considerable time.
Having good partners is essential. Having local companies who can contribute to the economy is as essential. We are helping them.
Mauritania has a bright future in the oil & gas sector. We have BP, Shell and Total as partners. Our country is very attractive to the majors. They are intensifying their prospection. Europe is our big partner.
After gas, hydrogen represents a big step forward. We benefit from the engineering expertise of Total Eren through Chariot. We have a great advantage: the sun and the wind. Our huge iron reserves will be exploited using green hydrogen. We will transform the Mauritanian economy. We will industrialise and electrify at a much cheaper cost.
We are attracting international investors to build the huge infrastructure needed to make all this happen. We will build new motorways, new ports and new infrastructure, which will require huge investments.
Our fundamental objective is to use all the means at our disposal to give universal access to energy to all Mauritanians in 2030.
Abdessalam Ould Mohamed Saleh is Minister of Petroleum, Mines and Energy of Mauritania.
This article was produced in association with the Ministry of Petroleum, Mines and Energy of Mauritania.