UPDATE - Arab bank lends US$10 million to Niger's 125-MW Kandadji

The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) has agreed to lend US$10 million to Niger to help finance construction of the first phase of 125-MW Kandadji Dam.

Niger President Mamadou Tandja laid the first brick of the project August 3 on the Niger River, about 180 kilometers northwest of Niamey. (HNN 8/7/08) The dam is due for completion in 2013.

BADEA Director General Abdelaziz Khelef and Niger Economy and Finance Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine signed the loan agreement August 23 in Cairo. The loan is to be reimbursed over 30 years, including a grace period of 10 years, at an annual interest rate of 1 percent.

Kandadji Dam also is being funded by the Islamic Development Bank, which has pledged US$236 million. Financing for the hydropower station is due to come from a public-private partnership, the government has said.

Kandadji is the initial stage of a broader 300 billion CFA franc (US$709 million) project to improve food security through irrigation, provide electricity, and regenerate the environment. Kandadji is to protect the Niger River ecosystem and ensure the availability of year-round water supply for power generation and for irrigation of 2,000 hectares in the first phase. The irrigated area is to be increased to 31,000 hectares by 2034.

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