Executive Intelligence Review


Italian Ambassador to Nigeria Pontesilli Addresses the Final Plenary of Lake Chad Conference

March 3, 2018 (EIRNS)—After the formal greetings to authorities and dignitaries, Italian Ambassador Stefano Pontesilli read the following speech:

“We know the problem, we know the time to act is now, we have a possible solution. It is called Transaqua.

“It is an idea for a water, transport, energy and agro-industrial development infrastructure for west-central Africa. It is a simple idea: to explore the possibility of collecting enough water from the northern tributaries of the Congo River, in order to refill Lake Chad and eventually develop hydroelectric power and irrigation. Bonifica calculated that refilling Lake Chad to its original dimensions would require an annual addition of approximately 50 billion cubic meters of water. Bonifica engineers envisioned the construction of a 2,400 km system of reservoirs and canals that would collect twice this amount, totaling approximately 5-8% of the Congo River water.

“The Transaqua canal would start in the south-eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, intersects all tributaries upstream, across the D.R.C. and the Central African Republic, and reach the watershed between the C.A.R. and Chad at approximately 500 meters altitude. Here, it pours into the Chari River, Lake Chad’s tributary, having carried 100 billion cubic meters water per year only by gravity in a 10-by-100-meter canal. It will be a really new man-made river, with dimensions and flow comparable to the Nile at the Aswan Dam.

“Along its path, Transaqua will create systems of reservoirs, water regulation, and hydropower production, benefitting every basin of the Congo tributaries, without negatively affecting their carrying capacity, fisheries, or navigability. Furthermore, a road will be built as necessary to serve the construction of the canal-dam system, which will remain as a modern transport connection in central Africa. The canal itself will be a magnificent waterway; and plans envision building at least one major inland port and economic development area in the C.A.R.

“We all know the benefits for the countries surrounding the Lake Chad basin, but let me dwell for a minute with the benefits for the C.A.R. and D.R.C., which are not directly affected by the drought in the Sahel.

“Transaqua will provide a significant infrastructure. These two countries will indeed be major beneficiaries of the project, as they will have a waterway, hydropower, a road, and the benefits of productive employment and work experience for a large workforce over several years.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the Italian government has expressed interest in the project. This is why we believe that Transaqua addresses the root causes of the economic desperation that forces people living in the area to emigrate to Europe. It also gives a very concrete meaning to the proposals of launching a ‘Marshall Plan’ to create jobs and development in the immigrants’ countries of origin, some of them coming from the Sahel region.

“To this effect, the Italian government has decided to pledge up to €1.5 million for the feasibility study for the Transaqua project. Thank you.”

The coverage and the video of his remarks are posted to the website of the Movisol, the International Civil Rights Solidarity Movement, the co-thinkers of Lyndon and Helga LaRouche in Italy, under the title: “L’ambasciatore italiano in Nigeria: l’Italia crede nel progetto.”