The Urgency of Transaqua for African and World Development
September 18, 2010 • 3:34PM

Make sure to watch: Extended NAWAPA: The Possibilities for Africa!

In a text forwarded to the upcoming NAWAPA conferences in Germany, Transaqua author Dr. Marcello Vichi addresses the urgence of African development.

"From the end of the Seventies through the Eighties, in our Country… there were firms and men convinced that the African continent would never be able to emerge from underdevelopment without the courageous implementation of a series of large pan-African international infrastructures."

"Thirty years ago began the promotion of Transaqua, whose transport network envisioned not only 2400 km of river 'highway', but also the 'crossing' with the Lagos-Mombasa road axis, connecting the two ports on the Atlantic and Indian oceans: a real future highway which was, in turn, connected to the Mediterranean through the Lagos-Algeri Transaharian road. In the general framework of such initiatives which Bonifica's UPS (Office of Special Projects) was developing in those years, Transaqua's Lagos-Mombasa was tob e called TA2 (Transafrian Two), because TA1 was being conceived and a first draft was ready. Also the BB (Beirut-Basra) was in an advanced stage of studies."

Why is Transaqua urgent today?

In Africa, "the scarcity of good and water resources per capita has become dramatic, and even more dramatic has been the absence or the modesty of economic development processes, which has led to an absolutely unsustainable level of youth unemployment. In many countries of sub-Saharan Africa, endemic hunger –sustained through an historically traditional farming of subsistance – has turned, especially for the youth, in unsustainable starving and despair, which pushes them to risk their life in order to try to reach Europe, where there is water and food. The 'quality of life' does not count any more: life counts."

"Didn't we know all this thirty years ago? Of course we knew it, but we waited until this would occur, so late as possible, hoping that the burden of solving politically such problems would lie not on the responsibles then, but on their successors. Thirty years ago, the 'Idea for the Sahel' [Transaqua] concluded its presentation: 'The units of measurement of the investment costs are not only millions of dollars, but the absence of wars, millions of human beings saved from starvation, social peace, and an international conscience.'"

New technologies make a feasibility study much cheaper today, Dr. Vichi explains, and goes in details through all the "terms of references" of such a study. He then concludes:

Transaqua "could become the largest African development pole – maybe one of the largest ones on the planet – which could employ, during its realization and following management, diversified local manpower and professional activities, coming from all contries of the continent. It could offer an enormous labor market to many generations of Africans, without forcing them to play the Europe card – where the labor market is very hard for Africans, uprooted from their natural and cultural environment – building in their continent, even through the inevitable differences due to different cultures and ethnics (but still African though!), a series of local development models generated by this grandiose continental infrastructure".