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AfDB approves US$127mn package to open up agricultural areas in Niger

In Abidjan on 16 March, the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) approved funding of US$127.8mn to Niger

The funds approved by the board of directors of the African Development Fund, the Group's concessional arm, will be used for a project to open up access to farming and pastoral lands in the east of the country, along its border with Nigeria.

The approved package has a loan of US$71mn and a grant of US$56.8mn. AfDB director general for West Africa, Marie Laure Akin-Olugbade said, "This is one of the priority projects within the national transport strategy. It is intended to maximise the benefits gained from the wealth of resources and opportunities offered by this region, which will amplify its impact on development, improve the resilience of those living there, and contribute, through the growth it generates, to the transformation of the rural setting."

The integrated project to open up the production areas of Hamdara-Wacha-Dungass on the Nigerian border has the primary goal of improving a 110-km road. This is a key route joining inter-state areas that will contribute to improving transport links to areas with considerable potential for agriculture, forestry, and livestock farming. The project also entails improving the Hamdara-Wacha-Dungass-Nigerian border road, including environmental protection measures, associated improvements, particularly the restoration and construction of socioeconomic infrastructure.

The Zinder region in eastern Niger, where the project will be implemented, is an area of mixed farming where stock breeding is combined with widespread crop cultivation. It encompasses the rural communities of Hamdara, Wacha and Dungass and has a population of over 360,000 (180,000 women) as of 2021. The project will also benefit people living along the border with neighbouring Nigeria.

The AfDB's current portfolio in Niger comprises 13 active operations with a total net commitment of US$631.7mn.