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Designing the development of the Nouadhibou free zone (Mauritania)


The Mauritanian economy is based on exports of iron ore, fishing and port activities. The government has made the Nouadhibou Bay a free zone. Created at the start of 2013, the zone extends over more than 1000 sqkm and is home to a population of 100,000 which could rise to 400,000 by 2030. Egis, under its “My City by Egis” banner, has been tasked with establishing a vision for the region and with expediting its development. As part of this project, Egis put forward a development plan for the next 15 years based on an Operational Master Plan (OMP) and a Multi-Annual Development Plan (MDP).

Zone franche de Nouadhibou, Mauritanie

The aim? To strengthen existing economic activity, develop tourism and service-sector functions and to design an urban development project to catalyse attractiveness for tourists and contribute to the well-being of the inhabitants. Egis’s main proposals were:

  •  neighbourhoods well connected to a public transport system (dedicated public transport corridors),
  • neighbourhoods that combine shops and facilities for a mix of various uses
  • Business areas directly connected to travel hubs (port and airport) with minimum environmental disturbance.
  • Urban growth will happen preferentially via increased density, whilst preserving outside areas that are important for the inhabitants.
  • The creation of a green belt acting as a windbreak for the city will also allow urban market gardening and livestock rearing under palm plantations, both of which are in line with local tradition.
  • And lastly, water is at the heart of this project with the introduction of facilities for desalination and generalisation of wastewater treatment which will then be partially used for irrigation.