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Lake Chad, Transaqua Up-Front in Rome International Meeting

Oct. 29 , 2017 (EIRNS)— At a three-day international "Water and Climate Summit," which took place in Rome Oct. 23-25, the issue of Lake Chad and the Transaqua project were prominently addressed. On the opening day, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni spoke about

"The case of Lake Chad, a lake feeding a basin of 70 million people and several countries, whose very serious crisis in the last decades has produced major effects: They speak about two and a half million displaced people in that basin."

There are evident connections between the "water crisis of Lake Chad and the emerging of terrorist threats in some of those regions and in particular ... of Boko Haram." Gentiloni then said that "we must all be aware, all committed, and Italy is trying to help with its foreign policy to recover Lake Chad."

These words by Gentiloni offered the opportunity to Sanusi Abdullahi, executive secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), who spoke on the last panel of the second day, to ask concretely for help financing the water-transfer project.

First, Abdullahi thanked Gentiloni for having addressed the issue and then, answering to a question by EIR correspondent Claudio Celani on what kind of help he expects from the Italian government, Abdullahi said Rome should finance the feasibility study.

Abdullahi recalled that the first idea of a water-transfer plan, known by the name of Transaqua, was developed by an Italian firm, Bonifica, many years ago. The LCBC has now made a deal with PowerChina for an update on the situation of Lake Chad and

"I am also glad to mention that Bonifica, the initial team that conceptualized the dream ... of the Transaqua project—which was much more than transferring water from the Congo basin to the Sahel—is also partnering with PowerChina to actualize this project."

The two firms agreed to prove the feasibility of the entire Transaqua project, and within that study, the feasibility of a first section of "inter-basin water transfer."

"In this context, it is the right time, it is a good opportunity for us to solicit more support, especially ... to conclude the feasibility study, to make sure that the program ... is economically viable, sustainable and in this regard we want the government of Italy to support us financially and also to support us politically ... to actualize this dream, because ... we expect the beginning to be a project that will catalyze pan-African projects ... to link the Central Africa with West Africa, the Sahel and also to generate opportunities for industrialization in the context of ... job activities constituting a large scale irrigation program

"So, we are calling the government of Italy to support us financially to ensure that we conclude this feasibility study,"

the LCBC executive secretary concluded.