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 comprises a loan of $71 million and a grant of $56.8 million.
African Development Bank 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 maximize 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-kilometer 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 construction of 150 kilometers of associated rural roads, and five kilometers of roadways in the town of Dungass.
It will support farming value chains (construction of a farmers' center and stock-vaccination centers, installation of dairy units, etc.) and will support women and young people.
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 neighboring Nigeria.
The African Development Bank's current portfolio in Niger comprises 13 active operations with a total net commitment of $631.7 million. ■