NIAMEY, December 11, 2012 – The World Bank’s Managing Director for Africa, Sri Mulyani Indrawati will travel to Niger on December 13-14, 2012 to consult with government officials and youth leaders on key development issues facing the Sahelian nation, and also to sign the financial agreement for the Kandadji dam and the wider Niger Basin Initiative.
The Managing Director’s visit to Niger reinforces the close partnership between the World Bank and Niger which joined the World Bank in 1963.
Ms. Indrawati will meet with President Issoufou Mahamadou and senior government officials. Discussions will focus on how: to increase the country’s resilience to shocks such as drought and food shortages; to address gender inequalities; and to assess demographic pressures in a country with one of the world’s fastest-growing populations.
This visit will give her the opportunity to see first-hand the early stages of construction of the Kandadji dam on the Niger River which is a key part of the regional transformational project known as the Niger Basin Initiative.
The Bank recently approved the project to strengthen regional cooperation among Niger and its eight neighboring countries that share the river basin and also to generate more economic opportunities to communities
The dam at Kandadji will provide more irrigation, electricity, food, and jobs in the Niger Basin. Specifically it will provide a significant new supply of electricity with a 130 megawatt increased hydroelectricity generation capacity, increase the Niger Valley’s irrigated farmland from 10,000 hectares to 55,000, provide secure water storage, and will build resilience to climate change.
Only 12 per cent of Niger’s land is currently fertile enough to grow crops. As a result, the Kandadji Program will help to grow more food, reduce poverty, create economic opportunity, including the prospect of more jobs, especially for young people.
The Managing Director will also meet with youth leaders and discuss the challenges young people face in Niger in finding jobs and furthering their prospects. 47 percent of the country’s population is under the age of 15
Ms. Indrawati will hold a joint press conference with Mr. Amadou Cisse, Sr. Minister of Planning, Land and Community Development and World Bank Governor Bank on Friday, December 14, 2012 at the end of the visit.
The World Bank’s current portfolio in the country comprises 11 active projects for a total lending of US$428.5 million in zero-interest financing under the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries known as IDA or the International Development Association. .