India extends $15 Million assistance to Niger for holding AU summit

India has for the first time extended $15 Million financial support to Niger as a support for organising African Union (AU) summit scheduled to be held in 7-8 July 2019 in Niamey (Capital of Niger). This will be the 1st time that Niger will be hosting an AU summit.

Key Highlights

The assistance in form of grant was symbolically handed over by Rajesh Agarwal, Indian Ambassador to Niger to Lamido Ousseini Bala Goga Salamatou, Niger’s Deputy Foreign Minister, in presence of Minister and Special Advisor to Niger President Mohammed Saidil Moctar at a ceremony held in Niamey.

The support extended by India was in response to a specific request by Niger government.

Significance: India’s grant assistance to Niger for organizing AU Summit will further contribute towards enhancing bilateral ties between two countries. This grant assistance is also reiteration of India’s firm commitment to its developmental partnership with Africa. This is more important at a time when India is competing for influencing the continent with China.

AU Summit: is also expected to launch historic African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The AfCFTA is the largest free trade area in world in terms of participating countries since formation of the World Trade Organization (WTO), outlined in African Continental Free Trade Agreement among 52 out of 55 African Union (AU) nations.

India-Niger

Bilateral relations between India and Niger have expanded significantly since the opening of Indian Resident Diplomatic Mission in Niamey in 2009.

Both countries enjoys close relations and India has extended Lines of Credit to Niger worth $96.54 million, for projects in transport, electrification, solar energy and potable drinking water.

As per Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Niger, India is also establishing Mahatma Gandhi International Convention Centre (MGICC) in Niamey under grant assistance. The MGICC will be a landmark for Niger-India friendship and also a symbol of India’s firm commitment towards Africa.

This convention Centre by India in Niger is part of India’s plan to build chain convention centres across 20 African states as signature infrastructure projects which was until now an expertise for China.

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