Abu Dhabi Fund for Development has signed an MoU with the Islamic Republic of Mauritania to finance a major refurbishment and modernization project valued at around AED24 million (US$6.5 million) for the Tanit Fishing Port, an artisanal fishing port that through this renovation and development of an ice factory will better enable local fishermen to benefit from the country’s fisheries economy, increase export capacity and contribute to the nation’s food security strategy.

The project also aims to increase operational efficiency and improve services for fishermen and providing cooled storage spaces and fish processing service, enabling them to better benefit from the fish-rich coasts of Mauritania.

The agreement to finance the port renovation was confirmed with the signing of a memorandum of understanding by His Excellency Mohamed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of ADFD and HE Ousmane Mamoudou Kane, Minister of Economic Affairs and Promotion of Productive Sectors in Mauritania. The signing took place at ADFD and drew the participation of His Excellency Khalifa Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Deputy Director General of ADFD, and several senior officials from both sides.

His Excellency Mohamed Saif Al Suwaidi said: “ADFD and Mauritania have partnered to support the financing of a wide range of high-impact economic and social development projects going back to 1977. The modernization of the Tanit Fishing Port represents an opportunity to directly impact the livelihoods of local fishing families while contributing to national economic growth and a number of national strategic priorities, including environmental preservation of the Tanit fishery as well as the Mauritania food security strategy.”

HE Ousmane Mamoudou Kane said: “Our partnership with ADFD has been pivotal for our goals to develop and improve strategic infrastructure in Mauritania. This funding will help improve the facilities and service at Tanit Fishing Port, which in turn will contribute to socio-economic development, increase and export capacity, and achieve sustainable development.”

The ADFD-funded upgrade will provide local fishermen with access to refrigeration storage and rapid freezing units required to operate the Tanit fish processing plant, which improves access to the fish export market. The project will also enhance safety of maritime navigation into and out of the port, add a 150-square-meter boat repair and maintenance workshop as well as a range of equipment and facilities designed to improve port services and efficiencies.

Artisanal fishing is strategically important to Mauritania for its economic contribution and support of local fishing families. Fish represent as much as 58 percent of the exports of Mauritania and 10 percent of the nation’s GDP. The country averages 900,000 tons of fish exported annually and is the largest Arab exporter of fish. Tanit Fishing Port is a traditional fishery that serves fishing-reliant households to earn their annual family income. The port is able to dock approximately 400 small and medium sized boats and includes a 1,740-square-meter fish market.

In addition to the Tanit Fishing Port project, ADFD has helped finance a wide range of strategic development projects in Mauritania with a total value of AED363 million (US$99 million). This includes projects in agricultural development, wind power, healthcare, industrial manufacturing and transportation.