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Nigeria, Niger, Algeria, Mali, Mauritania, Tunisia, and Chad are now building one of Africa’s largest road projects called the “African Unity Road”, linking the seven countries over a length of more than 9,000 kilometers.
Financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the project aims to improve South-South trade, as well as open up certain previously isolated Saharan areas.
It is planned that the Trans-Saharan will cross Algeria over 3,400 km, Mali over 1,974 km, Niger over 1,635 km, Nigeria over 1,131 km, Chad over 900 km, and finally Tunisia over 900 km. Algeria, Niger, Tunisia, and Nigeria have completed their sections covering a total of 7,066 km, Nigeria has innovated by developing half of its section as expressways. Mali has completed 1,236 km of asphalt road on a 1,974 km paving program, while Chad is still far from completing its section.
The question of profitability arises, it is relevant to look at the volumes of trade between the 7 countries. If we note a low volume of trade between the Sahelian countries and those of the Maghreb, it is important to note that Niger records 20% of its trade with Nigeria, and Mali is the main exporter of cotton and rice of the Sahelian countries.
Mauritania is a major supplier of fishery products (20% of its total export volumes) and iron ore (55% of its total export volume).
Algeria and Tunisia, for their part, trade mainly with each other (about 80% of their mutual export volumes), but hope to diversify their imports and exports thanks to this new opportunity.