On August 13th, for the construction and exploitation of the infrastructures of the railway line connecting Niamey to Cotonou, in Niamey.
The agreements were cosigned by the Prime Minister of Niger, Brigi Rafini, his Beninese counterpart, Lionel Zinsou, and the head of the railway division of the Bolloré Group, Thierry Ballard.
Bolloré Group owns 40% of the Benirail Company. Benin and Niger each hold 10% of the company’s capital. The remaining 40% are open to private investors from both Benin and Niger.
This is an important milestone in the construction and development of the major West African Rail Loop project, through the strategic partnership set in place by the Bolloré Group and the relevant countries. Upon completion the project will link five countries (Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Niger, Benin, and Togo) and help further open up the sub-region.
“Projects to link Niger to the coast have been initiated since the colonial era. For instance, the Abidjan – Niger project halted along the way, precisely in Ouagadougou; the Benin – Niger project faced a similar fate by halting in Parakou. Niger, a trackless country, now, all of a sudden, is in the process of being linked to the coast through the hundreds of kilometers of track currently under construction. We have been handicapped by the landlocked position of our country and its distance from the coast over the years. But through this project, Niger is like a patient who cannot breath and suddenly regains use of his lungs.”
Brigi Rafini, Prime Minister of Niger.