Nouakchott – The presidents of Mauritania and Senegal on Tuesday kicked off construction of a bridge linking the two countries, billed as a key link to boost trade throughout west Africa.
Trailed by the Senegalese government as “a tie between Europe and sub-Saharan Africa”, construction on the 1.4km (0.9-mile) bridge across the river Senegal is expected to take 30 months.
At present, ferries make multiple trips per day bringing passengers and vehicles between Rosso in Senegal and the town of the same name in Mauritania to the north.
In future, the bridge “will significantly increase economic and trade exchanges between our two countries and make them flow better”, said Mauritania’s President Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani, according to the country’s official AMI news agency.
The construction contract for the bridge was awarded to China Poly Group, at a cost of 88 million euros ($100 million) — split between the two countries, the African Development Bank, the EU and the European Investment Bank.
Earlier this year, Senegal’s government said the bridge was “essential infrastructure on the coastal corridor between Tangier and Lagos, passing through Casablanca, Nouakchott, Dakar and Abidjan”, according to the official APS news agency.