Lake Chad-Transaqua

UN Supports Nigerian Conference to Save Drying Lake Chad

The support of the United Nations for this conference being sponsored by the Nigeria government is important to the entire continent and should be supported by all African nations and the African Union. Refilling Lake Chad  will not only transform the Lake Chad Basin, but with the Transaqua inter basin water transfer project, the economy of 12 African nations will be affected. For Africa to development its agriculture and manufacturing sectors it requires great infrastructure projects in water, rail, and energy, which is what I have been advocating for many years. 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

By Hussein Yahaya

The Federal Government of Nigeria on behalf of other Heads of States and Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission is planning an International Conference to proffer solutions on saving the drying Lake Chad. The Conference is scheduled for next month in Abuja.

Nigeria’s Water Resources Minister, Engr. Suleiman H. Adamu, disclosed this in Abuja when the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Mrs. Amina Mohammed, paid him a courtesy visit.

Adamu stated that the main objective of the Conference was to find workable solutions in recharging the drying up of the basin. “In the next 50 to 100 years from hydrological perspective, if nothing is done now, the lives of the people of that region that depends on the lake as their source of livelihood would be in danger as the Lake faces extinction,” he said.

The Minister proposes for cheaper and workable solutions to saving the Lake from extinction. According to him, the MoU signed between, the Lake Chad Basin Commission and the POWERCHINA International Group Limited in April 2016 to save Lake Chad from drying up, can be actualized by the transfer of water from the Congo Basin to the Lake Chad Basin.

Adamu said that study done by POWERCHINA, shows that it is technically feasible to transfer water from river Congo to Lake Chad thereby increasing the level of the Lake. This, according to him, would halt the receding of the Lake and the drying of the north basin due to climate change.

Earlier, the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mrs. Amina Mohammed, said that the purpose of the high-level mission which was an informal consultation on political, human rights, humanitarian and development issues will help scale up UN presence in the North East in particular and Nigeria in general.

She said UN is more committed in the re-integration process ongoing in the North East as well as in the planned Conference of Saving Lake Chad that is scheduled for February, 2018. She charged Heads of States and Governments of the Lake Chad Basin Commission to consider passing the resolutions of the Conference in a communiqué to the African Union (AU) for further action

Pres. Buhari Approves Nigeria’s Hosting of Lake Chad Conference

Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, and Lake Chad Basin Commission Executive Secretary, Eng. Sanusi Abdullahi should be congratulated for the planning of this important conference to save the shrinking Lake Chad. I have been advocating for two decades the urgent need to transfer water from the Congo River Basin to refill Lake Chad with TRANSAQUA; a mega infrastructure project to develop Africa, which will also be discussed at this conference.

Johnbosco Agbakwuru-Vanguard News
December 26, 2017

ABUJA – PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has approved Nigeria’s hosting of an international conference on saving the Lake Chad. The conference according to the statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu is to revitalize the basin’s ecosystem for sustainable livelihood, security and development.

Shehu said it was the first time an international conference on Lake Chad was being organised the six-member countries of the region. He said, “The three-day conference will consist of two days of technical sessions and one day high level meetings between February 26-28, 2018 and it will take place in Abuja.

“The high level meeting is expected to have in attendance all of the Presidents and Heads of government of the member-states, namely Nigeria,Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic and Libya “The key partners coming together in hosting the conference are Nigeria, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, the Lake Chad Basin Commission, LCBC and relevant donors including, prospectively, the African Development Bank, AfDB, the World Bank and the governments of Germany, China, Canada and the European Union, EU.

“The main objective of the international conference is to create global awareness on the socio-economic and environmental challenges arising from the shrinkage of the Lake Chad, threat to livelihoods including insecurity with a view to developing a comprehensive program for action to save the lake from extinction.

“Specically, the conference is expected to discuss and develop consensus on the different options to restore Lake Chad, including the Inter-Basin Water Transfer project from  the Ubangi River in Central Africa to the Lake Chad. “Experts, researchers and resource persons are expected to exchange knowledge and share information on water resources development and management in a crisis environment and to garner political and financial support for the restoration option identified for the restoration of the lake.

“Among the expected outcomes of the conference is a roadmap for the implementation of the recommendations of the conference that should lead to the restoration of the lake; restoration of fishing and irrigated farming as a way of alleviating poverty, strengthening climate resilience in the basin, creating employment,leading to reduction of terrorist activities and increasing the revenue of the population and that of the Lake Chad basin countries.

“The lake Chad Basin, which is shared by Algeria, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Libya, Niger, Nigeria and the Sudan is about eight percent of the size of the African continent, with a population of about 40 million inhabitants. “Its surface area has shrunk from 25,000 square kilometers to just 2,500 sq.kms, roughly 10 percent of its original size.“This development has adversely affected the economic, social and cultural environment of the area.

As at today, the lake is a source of insecurity, instability, and the loss of livelihoods. Since coming to office, President Muhammadu Buhari has used every available speaking opportunity at the international level to raise awareness of the need for action to save the Lake Chad.

_______________________________________________________________________

 Saving Lake Chad with Transaqua: An Inter-Basin Water Transfer Project

The excerpts below are from a speech by Mr. Franco Persio Bocchetto, Foreign Director for Bonifica, S.p.A., Italy, the engineering firm that designed the Transaqua proposal in  the 1980s. It is an excellent presentation on a transformative infrastructure project to save the shrinking Lake Chad and develop the African continent.

We can be very optimistic, but due to the growth of the population, the long-term measures cannot be other than to think how to transfer large volumes of water from the  Congo River Basin to Lake Chad.

Well, water transfer to drying up endorheic lakes is not merely a “nature conservation measure.” Environment and wildlife deserve to be protected—human beings, too. A drying endorheic lake is proof that the water resources in its catchment area are overexploited with respect to incoming run-off. transferring water from adjacent river basins that have surplus water flowing into the sea, is a way of increasing water availability, especially for agriculture, in the context of the increasing population and declining rainfall, and to restore wildlife.

When water is in short supply in a given place, either you bring it there, or people will migrate elsewhere. Near Lake Chad, there is an immense, scarcely populated
river basin, which discharges into the Atlantic Ocean an average of 40,000 cubic meters/second—the equivalent to 1,250 billion m3 /year. That discharge is 200 times the discharge of the Main River [in Germany], or 14 times that of the Rhine at its mouth. How much of this volume could be possibly and safely discharge of the Main River [in Germany], or 14 times that of the Rhine at its mouth. How much of this volume could be possibly and safely diverted into Lake Chad has yet to be studied.

Can we think of a “win-win” project, where all countries involved have their advantages, which is perhaps, one of the basic conditions for developing this project?
Bringing water from the Congo River Basin to the thirsty Chad region and increasing irrigated agriculture, restoring the lake, producing hydropower and improving inter-African transport and commerce, is the vision of this Transaqua Project.

A canal would have to intercept part of the discharge of the right-hand tributaries of the Congo River, and convey them across the watershed between the Congo Basin and the Chari Basin. The diverted flow would reach Lake Chad through one of the Chari tributaries, properly reshaped. A very preliminary estimate gives an amount up to 100 billion m3 /year could be diverted. That this less than 8% of the Congo discharge, ensuring thus the restoration of Lake Chad and irrigation of up to 3 million hectares.

In its fall toward Chad, the diverted flow could be used for hydropower production. Along the canal, a road should be built which would become the backbone of inter-African land transport. The hypothes is that the canal could also be suitable for navigation has been made. Those ideas stemming from the early 1920s, have been studied by Bonifica, and are presently being considered by the Lake Chad Basin Commission as a possible project for the future.

The idea of Bonifica is to transfer about 100 million cubic meters of water per year from the Congo River Basin to the Lake Chad and Sahel district. This is the Congo Basin as you can see in red, which is the alignment more or less of the canal. You cross the watershed and you go into the water catchment area of the River Chari.

What is important to note is that the Transaqua formula is not simply to replenish Lake Chad, but to give access to drinking water, revive agricultural activity, irrigation, fish farming, a navigable waterway, trade, transport, regulate flows, produce electric power, river ports, commerce, and road connections—thus creating an economic development system along the Transaqua waterway

continue reading

___________________________________________________________________________

Nigerian Water Minister Adamu, Announces Conference to Replenish Lake Chad

UNESCO Backs Campaign to Save Lake Chad

November 11, 2017 Nigeria’s Water Minister Suleiman Adamu announced that UNESCO is backing an international campaign to save Lake Chad from drying up. UNESCO is sponsoring an international conference in February in the Nigerian capital of Abuja, where the solution advocated by Nigeria and by the Lake Chad Basin Committee will be presented.

Adamu said that the commission had proposed inter-basin water transfer from Congo Basin to the evaporating lake as a measure of saving it from total extinction. “This is a huge infrastructure project that will change the dynamics of the region and it is a long- term project with a lot of consensus to build on, as well as diplomatic issues having to do with different countries,” Adamu said according to PM News Nigeria media outlet.

“We therefore need to do a lot of advocacy to make the members of the Congo Basin understand that we are not taking away their water but taking only 5% of the natural resource to keep the Lake Chad alive,” he said. “We hope that at the end of the conference in February next year, we will have an international consensus on what to do, leverage on and how to get a lot of resources and funding.”

Adamu, who was attending a UNESCO General Conference in Paris, said that they considered the inter-basin water transfer as the most suitable option, but that they would not, however, insist on it, and “allow the UNESCO experts to advise on any cheaper available alternatives, if any,” as PM News reported. Adamu told PM News that the initial study on the project costed the water transfer project at $14 billion.

“We have a 60,000 hectares irrigation scheme under the South-Chad Irrigation scheme, which was designed to depend on intake of water from the Lake Chad to irrigate the 60,000 hectares for the production of wheat. That irrigation scheme is not working now because the water is not available. We need the water to revive that investment. All the efforts the administration had been making to boost food production and reduce food imports stands to benefit if the Lake Chad is revived,” he said.

Adamu said that a lot of other economic activities would be revived and the general livelihood of the people in the area would improve with the revival of the lake.  The lake, on which the lives of 30 million people depend, is bordered by Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger; it has shrunk by 90%. “Clearly, the major factor of the Boko Haram insurgency is that there are lots of young people that are living in that area without any opportunity whatsoever because of the shrinking lake. Herdsmen had been forced to move southward and eastward and you can see that crises are getting increased between farmers and herdsmen,” he said.

 

“The Ministry has also championed the signing of an MOU between the Lake Chad Basin Commission and a Chinese company, who are presently undertaking further feasibility study on the proposed Interbasin Water Transfer Project from the Congo River into the Lake Chad. Furthermore, in an effort to arrive at the best solution in saving the Lake Chad, an International Conference on the Lake is now scheduled to hold in Abuja from 26th -28tln February, 2018 in collaboration with LCBC and UNESCO. “In addition, the Ministry has completed the engineering design and is set to commence in 2018 the Hawal InterBasin Transfer from River Hawal to River Ngadda. Phase 1 of the project is to augment water supply to Alau Dam so as to provide more sustainable source of water supply to Maiduguri and environs. Phase 2 of the project aims to resuscitate the 60,000Ha South Chad Irrigation Scheme, which became moribund following continuous drying up of Lake Chad over the years.”

____________________________________________________

Chinese, Italian firms reach deal to refill fast-shrinking Lake Chad

By Kimeng Hilton Ndukong (People’s Daily Online)    17:51, August 21, 2017

Fishing is a major source of livelihood for millions of people in the Lake Chad Basin. Photo: LCBC

Hopes have been revived for the 40 million people who depend on Lake Chad for their livelihoods following the signing last June in Hangzhou, China, of a deal between Chinese construction giant, PowerChina and the Italian firm, Bonifica Spa. However, the news was only made public at the beginning of this month.

Huge water transfer project

The agreement concerns the carrying out of feasibility studies on transferring 100 billion cubic metres of water per annum from River Congo in the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, to replenish the fast shrinking Lake Chad, a distance of 2,500 km. The project is also known as Transaqua. According to the website of Executive Intelligence Review, EIR magazine, the letter of intent was signed at a meeting between the executive of the two companies in the presence of the Italian Ambassador to China, Gabriele Menegatti

The recent deal between PowerChina and Bonifica Spa is sequel to the Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, signed between PowerChina and the Lake Chad Basin Commission, LCBC in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, on December 13, 2016. LCBC is made up of Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria and the Central African Republic, CAR. The MOU is for a period of four years, but can be extended after renegotiation by both parties.

The Transaqua project seeks to transfer water from River Congo to Lake Chad. Map by Schiller Institute

The agreement is “with a view to setting forth the principles of a technical and financial assistance arrangement towards the actualization of water transfer from the Congo Basin to Lake Chad,” LCBC website reported. PowerChina will fund the studies at the cost of 1.8 million US dollars, while LCBC will provide all necessary information and assistance.

Linking Central and West Africa

The MOU is to establish the basis on which the parties shall carry out further research on the Lake Chad Basin Water Transfer Project and other future projects in accordance with the Lake Chad Basin Water Charter, national legislations, regulations and practices of member countries. Additional research will be needed to strengthen climate change resilience in the Sahel and to raise the project into a continental infrastructure by opening up a new development corridor to link Central and West Africa.

The terms of the agreement between PowerChina and LCBC include the potential transfer of 50 billion cubic metres of water per annum to Lake Chad through a series of dams in DRC, Republic of Congo Brazzaville and the Central African Republic. There is also the possible generation of 15,000-25,000 kilowatts of hydroelectricity through the mass movement of water by gravity.

Other benefits are developing irrigated land for crop and livestock farming covering 50,000-70,000 square km in the Sahel zones of Chad, north-eastern Nigeria, northern Cameroon, and Niger; and providing new infrastructure platform for industries and water transport.

The core idea is to increase the water quantity in Lake Chad, improve water flow conditions, alleviate poverty within the basin through socio-economic activities, meet the energy needs of towns and surrounding areas in DRC and Congo Brazzaville, and conduct in-depth environmental impact assessment studies.

Satellite maps show how fast Lake Chad waters have receded over the past decades. Maps by NASA

New Silk Road to Lake Chad

The Lake Chad Basin Commission resolved the issue of funding studies on water transfer by creating a new Silk Road to Lake Chad. PowerChina, one of the country’s largest multinationals that built the Three Gorges dam, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with LCBC last December.

PowerChina committed to finance the feasibility studies for the initial stages of Transaqua and eventually to build the infrastructure. The water transfer canal will be a navigable facility 100 metres wide and 10 metres deep, stretching from southern DRC to CAR’s northern border. The waterway will be flanked by a service road and eventually a rail line.

Fast-receding lake

Lake Chad, once one of the greatest in the world, has receded fast in recent years as a result of less rainfall and harmful irrigation practices. Other unforeseen phenomena like the exodus of refugees and displaced populations fleeing the atrocities of the Boko Haram terrorist group have since arisen.

The recent deals between PowerChina,  LCBC and Bonifica Spa have raised hopes for the 40 million people in the Lake Chad Basin. Photo: LCBC

According to experts, only a robust measure like replenishing the lake’s water could spare the wetland – a food basket located between Central and West Africa – from total disappearance. Meanwhile, the impoverishment of the Lake Chad Basin has made it fertile ground for recruiting terrorists for Boko Haram. Although Transaqua offered a viable solution to the lake’s problems since the 1970s, Western nations and institutions showed little interest in funding the project.

Push by President Buhari

A shift occurred in May 2015 with the election of Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari. He came to power with a programme to develop national infrastructure, including implementing the water-transfer project for Lake Chad. At several international gatherings, President Buhari made the case for resolving the problems of Lake Chad and requesting Western nations to deliver on promises for financial assistance. He has also strongly oriented his government towards cooperation with BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) nations.

Discussing the groundbreaking water agreement in The Nigerian Tribune newspaper last July 25, Nigeria’s Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, noted that a similar project to move water from southern to northern China where some areas are semi-arid has been undertaken by the authorities. The Minister added that Nigeria is working with UNESCO to organize an international conference on Lake Chad in Abuja before the end of 2017 to rally support for Transaqua.

Role of LaRouche

Thanks to the fight taken up by LaRouche organization over the years and the initiators of Transaqua, the project is today becoming reality within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. Executive Intelligence Review magazine and Schiller Institute in 2015 arranged the first meeting between LCBC and the brains behind Transaqua. This was followed in December 2016 by the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between LCBC and PowerChina, and subsequent contacts between Bonifica Spa and the Chinese company.

The Boko Haram insurgency has led to the displacement of thousands of people, thereby aggravating the problems in the Lake Chad Basin. Photo: Nigerian Tribune newspaper

Origin of Transaqua project

Transaqua was first developed by the Italian engineering firm, Bonifica, in the late 1970s.

River Congo is the second largest river in the world with an average 41,000 cubic meters of unused water emptied at short intervals into the Atlantic Ocean. Bonifica then estimated that 3-4 per cent of this quantity of unused water will be enough to replenish Lake Chad.

The project involved building of a 2,400 km canal from the southern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, (then Zaire) to intercept the right bank tributaries of River Congo through dams and reservoirs, and move 100 billion cubic metres of water per annum by gravity to Lake Chad. The project was given consideration by various stakeholders without much progress because of lack of interest or insufficient funding.

Several meetings were held between PowerChina and LCBC officials. Photo: LCBC

Kimeng Hilton Ndukong, a contributor to People’s Daily Online, is Sub-Editor for World News with Cameroon Tribune bilingual daily newspaper in Cameroon. He is currently a China-Africa Press Centre, CAPC fellow. 

 ________________________________________________________________

Historic Italian-Chinese Agreement on Lake Chad

Lawrence Freeman

August 8, 2017

      Backed by their respective governments, the Italian engineering firm Bonifica Spa and the ChinaPower, one of China’s biggest multinationals, signed a letter of intent for cooperation in exploring the feasibility, and eventually implement the construction of the largest infrastructure ever envisioned for Africa, the integrated water-transfer, energy and transportation infrastructure called Transaqua.

   The letter was signed during a meeting between the executive leaders of the two companies in Hangzhou on June 6-8, in the presence of the Italian ambassador to China, but it was made known only at the beginning of August.

 

Fisherman on Lake Chad

 

The author travelling on Lake Chad with Mohammed Billa of the LCBC

          Transaqua is an idea developed by Bonifica in the 1970s, to build a 2,400 km-long canal from the southern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R.C.) which would intercept the right bank tributaries of the Congo River through dams and reservoirs, and carry up to 100 billion cubic meters of water per year, by gravity, to Lake Chad, in order to refill the shrinking Lake Chad, and in addition produce electricity and abundant water for irrigation. The canal would be a key transportation infrastructure for central Africa.

In past decades, the situation around Lake Chad has become more and more explosive and urgent. While the drying out of the lake has forced a mass emigration to Europe, the impoverishment of the region has become a fertile ground for recruiting terrorists to Boko Haram. Although Transaqua offered a solution to all those problems, Western nations and institutions had so far refused to accept it, on financial and ideological pretexts.

This project can now become reality in the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. This author along with other advocates made it possible for Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), under Nigerian leadership, and the Transaqua authors from Bonifica to come together, and agreed that Transaqua is the most comprehensive and realistic solution to preventing Lake Chad from completely disappearing, and reversing the abject poverty in the Lake Chad Basin. In December 2016, the LCBC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with PowerChina, and eventually organized contact between the Italian and the Chinese companies.

Speaking about the 2016 MOU to the {Nigeria Tribune} July 25, Nigerian Water Minister, Suleiman Adamu, noted that PowerChina is responsible for the inter-basin transfer. “China is doing exactly the same thing, they are transferring water from southern China to northern China. Just like Nigeria, southern China has more water than the north. In the northern part, some areas are semi-arid, so they are transferring water. The total canal that they built is about 2,500 kilometers, and that is Phase 1.”

The Executive Secretary of the LCBC, Eng. Abdullahi Sanusi, expressed his confidence that the new cooperation will succeed “to be part of good history, to bring hope to the voiceless.”

Lake Chad, a mega lake in prehistoric times, stabilized at 25,000 square kilometers in 1963. Since then it has contracted to as little as 2,000 square kilometers, and recently may have expanded up to as much as 4,000 square miles. Over 40 million Africans, the plurality Nigerians live in the Lake Chad Basin-(LCB) that has a drainage area of 2,439,000 square kilometers. Poor rainfall is a factor, but the precise cause for its diminished size of Lake Chad is unclear, given that the lake is reported to have almost disappeared in earlier times. With the area of lake having been reduced approximately to 10% of its size from a half century ago, the economy, which depends primarily of fishing and farming has been devastated. While travelling on the lake by motorized canoe in 2014, I witnessed fisherman standing in water barely above their ankles. Military professionals and analysts are now beginning to understand that the extreme poverty of Africans living in the LCB is a crucial factor in the increased recruitment to Boko Haram. These impoverished youths who see no future for themselves and are desperate to make money by joining this extremist movement.

Minister Adamu displayed his understanding of the relationship between security and economy concerning the LCB when he told the Nigerian Tribune: “It is not a climate issue, it is a security issue-the security issue we are having in the Northeast. I can guarantee you that substantially it has to do with the drying of up of the lake, because youth there have lost all opportunities of hope there.”

Nigeria is by far the largest economy of the six countries of the LCBC. President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria has stated publicly and privately that expanding Lake Chad is a priority of his administration. Eng. Abdullahi is also a strong advocate of restoring the lake to its previous size.  In the recent period, we have witnessed growing support for this project from some elements of the United States military, who realize this project is an essential component of countering violent extremism in the LCB.

If these efforts successfully lead to the transfer of water to save Lake Chad, it will be celebrated throughout the Africa continent.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Boko Haram: Exacerbating and Benefiting From Food and Water Insecurity in the Lake Chad Basin

While I do not support the entire analysis of this report on Lake Chad, it provides some useful information. In particular the conclusion highlights  an essential concept that is not properly understood: the shrinking Lake chad provides a fertile environment for recruitment to violent extremist groups like Boko Haram The larger point to be comprehended is that only with the economic development of North Africa (and the entire continent) poor, desperate Africans will either join terrorist groups or risk their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean. To transform the Lake Chad Basin, Lake Chad needs to be returned to its 1963 area of 25,000 square kilometers. This can be done by an inter-basin water transfer program called TRANSAQUA that was first proposed over 35 years ago. Now is the time for the nations of Lake Chad Basin assisted by China, Europe and the US ti finally begin working on this vital water infrastructure project.
For further information on TRANSAQUA
Mervyn Piesse,
Research Manager, Global Food and Water Crises Research Programme 
SEPTEMBER 19, 2017
Excerpts below
Long-term Threats to Food and Water Security

Lake Chad is the largest body of water in the Sahel, a semi-arid zone that stretches across the African continent from Senegal to Eritrea, dividing the Sahara Desert in the north from the grasslands of the south. The Lake Chad basin extends across the boundaries of eight countries – Algeria, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Libya, Niger, Nigeria and Sudan. Lake Chad, the waterbody into which the basin drains, lies at the intersection of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.

Lake Chad Basin

 

Lake Chad was once the centre of the second-largest wetland in Africa and provides freshwater to riparian communities, breeding grounds for fish and fertile soil for crop production. In 1963, the lake covered 25 thousand square kilometres, but has since shrunk by 90 per cent.

The decline of the lake’s surface area is attributed to a decrease in rainfall across the Lake Chad basin and a simultaneous increase in the use of irrigation in the region. Irrigation began to be used in the region in the 1960s and 70s, but had a minimal effect on water levels during this time. Rainfall in the Lake Chad basin has decreased since the 1960s, mainly due to a decline in the number of large rainfall events. The use of irrigation increased across the region as a response to this change, and particularly after two severe droughts in the 1980s.

As Lake Chad is a relatively shallow lake – the average depth is about four metres – its size has fluctuated dramatically in the past. The US Geological Survey estimates that it has dried up many times in the last millennium and it is possible that it will be completely dry by 2030.

Never have so many people relied on the water of the lake. There are more than three million people living within 200 kilometres of Lake Chad and more than 46 million living within the larger basin. Most of the people living in the basin are concentrated around Lake Chad with 26 million Nigerians, ten million Chadians and six million Nigeriens and Cameroonians living within the basin. Population growth rates across the region are high and are likely to remain elevated, leading to a natural increase in the population by 2030. Larger populations will increase food and water stress in the Lake Chad basin and, unless socio-economic programmes are adopted, will further exacerbate the security threats discussed in this paper.

Conclusion

Environmental changes in the Lake Chad basin are not solely responsible for regional insecurity. These changes, however, have increased conflicts over limited land and water resources and provided NSAGs with a powerful rhetorical tool that attracts disenchanted individuals to their cause. Improving access to food and water in key parts of the Lake Chad region will deprive Boko Haram of a powerful recruitment tool, counteract the popular belief that the state is incapable of improving the lives of citizens and contribute to a better security situation in the r

 ________________________________________________________________________

 Now Is The Time US and China Must Collaborate to Save Lake Chad

Lawrence Freeman

April 18, 2017

Over recent weeks, there has been considerable, long-overdue international attention given to the horrific conditions for the people living in the nations of the Lake Chad Basin (LCB). Following last month’s visit by members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), on March 31, they issued a first-ever resolution respecting the state of the crisis of the LCB. Now, the most important challenge to be addressed is what long-term strategic policy will be adopted to transform the LCB region, to reverse its downward spiral of abject poverty, famine, and displaced persons from the conflict with Boko Haram. For those of us who understand the root causes of the crisis, it is clear that without a project design to refurbish the shrinking Lake Chad, all other efforts will be insufficient. Unfortunately, but all too consistently, the lack of strategic visionary thinking by policymakers in Washington DC and other Western capitals has contributed to the failure to address the underlying causes for this ongoing tragedy in the LCB. For the very first time, the proposal to create a canal to transfer water from the Congo River Basin to the LCB is being studied by ChinaPower. Due to the tireless efforts of many of us over decades, and the extension of China’s One Belt-One Road (OBOR) into Africa, the possibility exists to provide tens of millions of Africans living in the LCB with a better future.

Inadequate International Response to Humanitarian Crisis

José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), reports the following conditions in the LCB nations: 11 million in need of food assistance, among them 6.9 million are severely food insecure, and 2.5 million people are displaced. In northeast Nigeria 5.2 million will be need of food, with 50,000 facing famine.
From March 2-7, the UNSC visited Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria. On February 24, a total of $1.458 billion was pledged ($1 billion by Nigeria), at the Oslo Humanitarian Conference for Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region. On March 31, the UNSC unanimously adopted resolution 2349 (2017), with 34 recommendations. These actions express a greater concern for the LCB region than previously, but avoid the supporting the most crucial requirement for long-term stability; replenishing Lake Chad. The resolution focuses primarily on defeating Boko Haram and ISIL, barely mentioning the effects of the shrinking Lake Chad in exacerbating the hardships in the region. It does little more than recognize that “promoting development and economic growth” is part of a comprehensive approach to combating violent extremism, while failing to make any recommendations of how to achieve such growth. Speaking on the resolution, Ambassador Tommo Monthe from the Cameroonian Mission to the UN does make the point that “regional countries understood that the military response, though essential, should be part of a holistic approach.” FAO Director da Silva notes that Lake Chad has lost 90% of its water mass since 1963, and has resulted in “devastating consequences on food security and the livelihoods of people” dependent on fishing and food production. His beggarly proposal is to save water through new irrigation techniques, but what is vitally needed is to create more water by recharging Lake Chad.

The Time for Transaqua has Arrived

  Over 35 years ago, Engineer Dr. Marcello Vichi designed a farsighted, breathtaking proposal to bring water to the arid Sahel; he called it Transaqua. His proposal was to divert 5-8% of the waters from the tributaries to the Congo River, which are presently unused, through a navigable canal reaching the Chari River that empties into Lake Chad. According to his calculations, this inter-basin water transfer project would increase the depth and area of the lake to its proximate 1963 level. As importantly, the canal would also function as an essential feature of an economic corridor between the Congo River Basin and Lake Chad Basin that would include generation of hydroelectric power, an increase in irrigated farmland, and expanded trade. Thus, the full potential of this great water-transfer infrastructure project would affect a significant portion of the entire continent when realized.
It is well understood that poverty, lack of food, high unemployment, and lack of meaningful economic activity are drivers for conflict, yet for over three and half decades the international community has never bothered to make the smallest expenditure for feasibility studies to examine the potential of Transaqua. The international community willingly spent billions of dollars on military counter-terror measures, billions more on humanitarian aid, while millions of lives were lost in unnecessary bloody conflicts, but refused to even consider a revolutionary new concept to develop the nations of the Sahel and Great Lakes.
The flame for this novel idea of Transaqua was kept alive until, finally, in December 2016, when ChinaPower signed an agreement with the Nigerian government and the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) to conduct a $1.8 million feasibility study respecting a segment of the Transaqua design. Despite support by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, and Sansusi Abdullahi, Executive Secretary of the LCBC, to save Lake Chad by transferring billions of cubic meters of water, as opposed to the fallacious concept of simply conserving disappearing water, funding was not available until China’s intervention. ChinaPower’s actions regarding Lake Chad are paradigmatic of China’s approach to erecting infrastructure projects across the continent. Ask yourself: Who is funding and building the great expansion of railroads across Africa today?

The West Lacks Vision for Economic Growth

  Sadly, for the United States and the world, President Franklin Roosevelt was our last great leader who possessed the knowledge to generate new physical wealth by using American System methods of credit creation for funding great infrastructure projects. Perhaps surprisingly, it is Chinese Present Xi Jinping’s global development policy–OBOR or the New Silk Road–that most closely echoes Roosevelt’s commitment to economic growth. Western leaders, along with the citadels of global finance, are suffocating society with ideologically driven, narrow, short-term thinking, restricting their judgment of what is necessary and possible to transform the present into a better future.
The severe limitations of this ideologically attenuated mindset were revealed to this author at a day-long conference in Washington, DC on April 11. Sponsored by the US Institute for Peace (USIP), the Carter Center, and the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), the speakers and specialized audience explored the theme and title of the conference: “Can China and the United States Find Common Ground with Africa.” Ambassador Mohamed Ibn Chambas opened the day-long proceedings, discussing the need to address the root causes of insecurity, the vital importance of Lake Chad, and the need to transfer water via a canal from the Congo River Basin. However, it was in the final panel: “Cooperating to Counter Violent Extremism in the Lake Chad Basin and Beyond” that the sharp difference in outlook between this author and most of those participating became publicly evident.
Mohamed Yakubu, Nigerian Defense Attaché, made the germane observations regarding the LCB and Nigeria: that Lake Chad is the only body of water in the Sahelian desert; the desert is moving south at the rate .6 kilometers per year; and that in northeast Nigeria, where Boko Haram has been most active, rates of illiteracy and poverty exceed 70%.  Most relevant, were the comments by Yawei Liu, Director of the Carter Center’s China Program, who, in an earlier panel, emphasized that the OBOR was not a just a five- or ten-year program, but a fifty-year program, and that northeast Nigeria could be a place for US-China collaboration. While the representative from the US Department of State acknowledged that US-China relations are unexplored in the LCB, his main focus on collaboration was short-term humanitarian needs and countering Boko Haram. The USIP representative repeated that cooperation must be holistic, long-term, and provide stability, but did not provide an actual long-term strategic policy for such collaboration.
This author was able to challenge the conference attendees with a concrete proposal to advance China-US relations in Africa, which would alleviate the suffering of Africans in the LCB region. To wit: The US organizations present should support and collaborate with China for the realization of the Trasnaqua water-transfer project. This level of cooperation would solidify a strategic partnership by the two leading world powers to act for the “common aims of mankind” for the benefit of Africans. Since ChinaPower has already initiated the first step with its commitment to a feasibility study of Transaqua, it would be relatively easy for the US to advocate for and assist in bringing this transformative project to fruition, thus implicitly becoming part of China’s OBOR.
Regrettably, the moderator and panelists did not endorse this author’s proposal, or even respond. Their cold reaction displayed precisely the lack of vision that permeates the grossly deficient US policy toward the development of Africa. However, there is still time to seize this opportunity, if US policymakers adopt a new paradigm of thinking; one that is more closely aligned to China’s One Belt-One Road.

________________________________________________________________________________

Transaqua: A Dream Is Becoming Reality

by Claudio Cellani

December 31, 2016

Over the past two years, this author [and Africa specialist Lawrence Freeman] has had the privilege of participating in high-level discussions and negotiations to build the largest infrastructural project Africa has ever seen, called “Transaqua.” As a result of this effort, on December 13, 2016, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed in Abuja, Nigeria, between the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) and the Chinese engineering and construction firm PowerChina, for a feasibility study and eventually the construction of the project.

continue reading

___________________________________________

Transaqua: How to Develop The Sahel and Central Africa

Dr Marcello Vichi

April 1, 2016

The Transaqua proposal—for the transfer of water from the Congo River basin to dying Lake Chad—is an exemplar of the Silk Road approach to developing the Sahel and Central Africa. Governments in the region are now prepared to undertake a feasibility study. The Transaqua project was a major subject of the March 23 Frankfurt conference on “Solving the Economic and Refugee Crises through the New Silk Road.” Dr. Marcello Vichi, author of the Transaqua concept, reviewed the history of the idea

continue reading

_________________________________________

Transaqua Presented to the Lake Chad Basin Commission

by Lawrence Freeman and Donielle DeToy

December 1, 2014

For more than 30 years,  the gigantic water project known as “Transaqua,” which would refill the shrinking Lake Chad, revitalizing a body of water on which 40 million Africans depend, has been placed before all international development agencies as well as the nations of the region. Yet, over all this time, not one feasibility study has been carried out. The de facto financial diktat against great projects, exercised through the international financial institutions and the mis-named environmentalist movement, has taken it off the agenda.

continue reading

___________________________________________________________________________

Lake Chad, Transaqua Basis for New Africa

by Lawrence Freeman

November 17, 2014

Below is the speech given by EIR Africa specialist Lawrence Freeman at the inaugural meeting of the International Scientific Committee of the Lake Chad Basin Commission in N’Djamena, Chad, Nov. 17, 2014. Freeman entitled his remarks “Implications for Saving Lake Chad in the New Strategic Dynamic.”

continue reading

____________________________________________________________________________

The Transaqua Project: Making Africa Bloom

The following report, which has been on the drawing boards for over 30 years, is an example of the kind of African development initiative that should be taken by European nations and companies, in the interests of their own economic recovery as well as that of the African continent. It was published in 1991-92 in Italy underthe title “Transaqua: An Idea for the Sahel,” by Bonifica, Iritecna, Gruppo IRI. Subheads and emphasis are in the original. It was published in EIR, Aug. 29, 1997, and in a 1997 EIR Special Report, “Peace Through Development in Africa’s Great Lakes Region: Proceedings of a Seminar in Walluf, Germany, April 26-27, 1997.”

continue reading

_________________________________________________________________________

Interview by Lawrence Freeman with Abdullahi Sanusi Imran , Executive Secretary of of the Lake Chad Basin C omission, in Washington DC on August 29, 2014

_

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Transferring Water from the Congo to Lake Chad: The Transaqua Project

Marcello Vichi is the engineer/architect of the Transaqua Project, and the former director of Bonifica, IRI Group of Italy. He spoke at the Schiller Institute Conference on July 3, 2011.

I want to talk about a story from 30 years ago, that for 30 years has been at a standstill, despite all of the initiatives taken to bring it to fruition.  First of all, I should bring the subject into focus, so you can be aware of the dimensions of the problem. The idea of transferring water from the Congo River basin to the Lake Chad basin originated with a comparison between the two contiguous catchment basins, and their respective water and climate characteristics.

continue reading

_______________________________________________________________________________________

The Congo-Chad Water Transfer: The Main Features of a Feasibility Study

     Dr. Vichi is the author of the Transaqua study and the former director of Bonifica SpA. His speech, reprinted below, was submitted in writing to the Sept. 25, 2010 Berlin conference on “Rebuilding the World Economy—NAWAPA, the Bering Strait, and the Eurasian LandBridge.” 

Rome,, Sept. 18, 2010—I think it is important to clarify that the idea of transferring an adequate amount of water from the Congo River Basin to the Lake Chad Basin originated at the end of the 1970s, and that I personally drafted the text of the project published at the time by Bonifica. Five hundred copies of that project were published in three languages, illustrated with maps, under the well-known name “Transaqua: An Idea for the Sahel.” I had been assigned the task by the CEO of Bonifica, and did a preliminary study, using the only cartography of Africa with contour lines available at that time: maps from the U.S. Air Force in 1:1,000,000 scale. This first major publication was sent in December 1982, with promotional aims, to all countries involved, and all international agencies, as potential funders of a feasibility study. This first publication was followed by “Transaqua-Zaire,” in April 1982 and “Transaqua-Centrfrique,” in February 1985.

continue reading