Mauritanian leader, President Moktar Ould Daddah and his counterparts from Mali, Colonel Moussa Traore, and Senegal, Dr.
Mauritanian leader, President Moktar Ould Daddah and his counterparts from Mali, Colonel Moussa Traore, and Senegal, Dr. Leopold Senghor, held a summit meeting of the Organisation for the Development of the Senegal River (OMVS) in Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, last week (16 December).
The three countries are members of the Organisation, which is one of the most important riverain bodies in West Africa.
It was formed in March 1972, to replace the former Inter-States Committee for the Senegal River Basis, which ran into difficulties because of political disputes.
Under its convention, the river was declared an international waterway and can not be denounced by any of the members for ten years.
The main immediate aim of the O.M.V.S. is to control the river's waters by means of two vast dams, at Diama and Manantali. The importance of the development has grown for all three participating states because of recent poor rainfall.
Any new source f irrigated land is a high priority and the production of hydroelectric power would enable mineral deposits to be exploited.
Finance for the project would probably come from China ... and if so, it would be Peking's most important economic initiative in Africa since their agreement to build the Tanzam railway.
After the summit meeting between the three leaders, it was announced by President Traore that work should begin next year. he said the project would include the study of the dams at Manantali and Diama and the river ports of Kayes and Saint Louis.
President Senghor spoke to the Organisation's ministerial council and thanked Mali for the "African" welcome.
He said the conference marked a crucial stage in the project's development. The three states had agreed on the aims of the Organisation but some controls of spending and personnel were still needed, he said.
In a restructuring of the Organisation, M. Mamadou Aw of Mali was nominated for the newly created post of High Commissioner. He and the new Secretary-General, Mr. Ely Ould Allaf of mauritania, now form the Organisation's executive. The deliberative power rests with the Ministerial Council and the conference of the heads of States.
SYNOPSIS: The leaders of mauritania -- President Moktar Ould Daddah, Mali -- Colonel Moussa Traore, and Senegal -- President Leopold Senghor, gathered in the Mauritanian capital of Nouackchott last week for a summit of the Organisation for the development of the Senegal River. The Organisation is one of the most important river bodies in West Africa.
After the meeting, President Traore announced that work will begin next year. Current Organisation head, President Senghor, said the conference marked a crucial stage in the Organisation's history, after their host, President Ould Daddah, had made a brief welcoming address.
The Organisation's plans include building two dams on the river, and extending river ports. The development's essential to provide irrigated land and hydro-electricity for all three countries.