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




India has extended USD 15 million assistance to Niger for organising the African Union (AU) summit scheduled to be held in Niamey early next month.

The summit is scheduled to be held in Niamey from July 7-8. It will also be the first time that Niger is scheduled to host an AU summit.

The assistance in the form of grant was symbolically handed over to Niger’s Deputy Foreign Minister Lamido Ousseini Bala Goga Salamatou in the presence of Minister and Special Advisor to the Niger President Mohammed Saidil Moctar, by Ambassador of India to Niger Rajesh Agarwal at a ceremony held on June 17 in Niamey, a press statement by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Tuesday.

The support of grant assistance was in response to a specific request made by the Niger government.

The forthcoming AU summit in Niamey is also expected to launch the historic African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the statement said.

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

India has provided Lines of Credit worth USD 96.54 million to Niger for projects in transport, electrification, solar energy, and potable drinking water, according to the MEA statement.

India is also establishing the Mahatma Gandhi International Convention Centre (MGICC) in Niamey under grant assistance.

“The Centre honours the memory of Mahatma Gandhi whose 150th birth anniversary is being observed in 2019,” said the statement.

The Centre is likely to host some meetings associated with the forthcoming AU summit.

“India’s grant assistance for organising the AU summit will further contribute towards enhancing of bilateral ties. The grant assistance is also a reiteration of India’s firm commitment towards Africa,” the statement further said.

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