Irhazer agricultural development project: new agreement signed between AREVA and the State of Niger

July 13, 2015

End June 2015, the Minister of State and Minister of Land and Community Development of Niger, Mr Amadou Boubacar Cissé and the Director of the AREVA Mines Niger Facility, Mrs Bibata Nignon, signed the second agreement on the financing of the agricultural development project for the Irhazer-Tamesna-AÏR region. This step confirms the development of the crop irrigation structures and activities in the region, reinforcing the food security of the local populations and the long-lasting creation of jobs.

This agreement, for a total amount of 11.4 billion FCFA (almost 17 million €), falls within the framework of a Memorandum of Understanding signed on December 1st 2006 between the State of Niger and the AREVA group and ratified by a strategic partnership agreement between the two parties on May 26 2014.

As a reminder, a first financing agreement, for an amount of 2 billion FCFA (almost 300 k€) and a period of 2 years and covering the « pilot phase », was validated on April 10 2013. It confirmed the development and enhancement of areas irrigated over 120 hectares (against 100 ha as initially planned, or +20%) of the concerned region, with a disbursement rate of more than 98%.

For Mrs Bibata NIGNON, Director of the AREVA Mines Niger Facility, “the key success factors of this project indisputably lie in its ownership by the beneficiaries and the ultimate self-reliance of the production sites. The financed initiatives will need to rapidly show that they generate profits that will be immediately reinvested to ensure the long-term viability of the farms. It’s more than just an agricultural project: it is a project for the economic development of a whole region, which will only succeed if it makes a profit. The 11.4 billion FCFA form an investment whose profitability will fully benefit all the inhabitants of the region. We shall all work together to achieve this major objective”.

As the Minister of State and Minister of Land and Community Development of Niger M. Amadou Boubacar Cissé pointed out: “The main objective of the project is to contribute to food security through the development of irrigated agriculture; its final goal is to rebuild the foundations of the regional economy. Ultimately, this program will directly benefit more than 2000 households structured as producer organizations, together with private investors within the scope of a Public-Private Partnership. We hope to witness the development of an economic and social hub for our country, built around Irhazer-Tamesna-Aïr”.