Chinese firm suspends $800m Niger’s power project over ECOWAS sanctions
By Njadvara Musa, Damaturu
The Chinese Gezhouba group has suspended the construction of the $800 million (N640 billion) Kandadji hydroelectric power project in Niger.
The halting of the electricity project; was in compliance with the 15-member Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) financial and economic sanctions against the July 28, 2023 coup-data.
According to the Gezhouba firm, most of its funds to complete the ongoing project have been frozen due to the current sanctions after the recent coup in the country.
These were disclosed, yesterday (Sunday), in Maiduguri, in an August 7, 2023 letter of the Chinese firm handling the hydroelectric power project.
The firm: in the letter said: “We would halt constructions and lay off our workers at the project sites,” stating that they will re-call workers again if finances are secured to complete the power project.
“This dam, upon completion, is expected to boost the Niger’s electric grid by 50 per cent,” said the letter, noting that the country depends on Nigeria’s electricity for over three decades.
Niger’s 26 million population has, however, experienced very low electricity supply from Nigeria with only 4.3 million people or 16.5 per cent having access to electricity.
It lamented that about 90 per cent of Niger’s population has resorted to charcoal and firewood as sources of energy since the coup-data.
The recent sanctions of ECOWAS; has cripple Niger’s economy with donor and other multinational organizations cutting off their links.
The suspended dam project; was also expected to control and manage the flow of River Niger, including downstream irrigation projects during the prolonged dry seasons.
The hydroelectric project was expected to be completed in March, 2026, with the capacity of producing over 130MW of electricity.
According to the firm, the electricity generated from the Niger dam project, would be distributed to all parts of Niger, and the neighbouring countries of Benin, Mali and Burkina Faso.