Niger’s ambassador to China: China helps Niger embark on fast lane of development

By Wu Huimin (People's Daily Overseas Edition) 16:26, September 26, 2022

Garba Seyni, ambassador of Niger to China (Photo/Lu Ningyuan)

The General Seyni Kountché Bridge, the Niger Third Bridge project , the Kandadji hydroelectric dam project…As multiple projects contributing to Niger’s economic development have been under way, China-Niger practical cooperation has yielded fruitful outcomes and served as bridges of friendship between our two peoples. Garba Seyni, ambassador of Niger to China, said in an interview days ago, “The Nigerien people highly appreciate Chinese-funded projects in their country. And many developing countries, including Niger, benefit from China’s economic strength and development experiences.”

“China is taking on a look of peace and stability everywhere”

It was the first time that Garba Seyni had come to China this July when he assumed his post of the ambassador of Niger to China. Talking about the first impression of China, Seyni mentioned three key words, “flourishing”, “stable” and “peaceful”.

Although Seyni started to work as the ambassador to China not long ago, he has visited many places around the country, such as Beijing, Xinjiang and Guangxi. Seyni has been deeply impressed by China’s robust development during the journey, “I can’t say that I know China very well,but what I have seen is that China is taking on a look of peace and stability everywhere.”

Nigerien participants perform traditional Chinese martial arts at the 4th National Kungfu Championship of Niger which took place at the Academy of Martial Arts in Niamey this July. (Photo/Embassy of China to Niger)

Seyni said that China’s prosperity and development could not be achieved without the leadership of the CPC. The CPC has led China to embark on the path of prosperity, and it has developed into the largest Marxist party in the world. “The CPC has played a decisive role in China’s economic and social development and made China shine on the international stage.”

The upcoming 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China offers an important window for the world to know more about China. “It is a significant event for both China and the whole world at large. The CPC strives for the well-being of the Chinese people as well as the progress of mankind,” Seyni said.

Young Nigeriens in national costume.(Photo/Embassy of Niger to China)

China’s development brings opportunities to landlocked African countries

China, with its rapid growth, has brought about opportunities to Niger, a landlocked country in Africa. With the implementation of multiple China-Niger cooperation projects, outcomes have benefited both countries. For example, the General Seyni Kountché Bridge --- a straight and wide four-lane two way highway bridge constructed with the help of China, runs across the flowing Niger River, connecting the densely populated Goudel in the west of Niamey, capital of Niger, with the country’s traffic hub, Lamoudé. This river-crossing bridge is called a Gem on the Niger River by the locals.

With the pouring of the last truck of stones, Niger's Kandadji hydroelectric dam project has completed damming recently, and officially started the construction of its main structure. The hydroelectric dam, known as the "Three Gorges Project" in Niger, can be taken as another example of the win-win cooperation between China and Niger. As the first hydroelectric station in Niger, the local people have great expectations of it. “The Kandadji hydroelectric station, once completed, promises to improve Niger’s capability of power supply and promote agricultural production. And 45,000 hectares of farmland will be better managed.”

In addition to China’s assistance to build roads and bridges there, Niger could not become one of the world’s major oil producers without China’s support. A landlocked country in West Africa, Niger has three fourths of its land covered by desert. The country also lacked the capacity of oil production for a long time and its refined oil totally relied on imports. All these have imposed serious restraints on promoting Niger’s economic development and improving people’s wellbeing. In the depths of desert, where camels are used for transportation, generations of Nigerien people continued to conduct oil exploration while major international oil companies came and left one after another. The Nigerien people’s desire to develop the oil industry had grown even stronger as time went by.

The coming of Chinese companies has lightened the Nigerien people’s dream of developing the oil industry again. As the Agadem oilfield project contracted by China National Petroleum Corporation was completed in 2011, Niger has become one of the world’s producers of petroleum and refined oil. In addition, the country has basically realized self-sufficiency of refined oil and built its own oil industry system covering the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors; the construction of the Niger-Benin Oil Pipeline by Chinese companies has started since 2021. This project, after completion, will enable Niger to export its crude oil and help the country embark on a fast track of development.

Seyni said that with the technological support of Chinese companies, Niger’s oil industry has gone from strength to strength within ten-plus years. Now Niger’s oil production not only meets its domestic demand but also is used for exports to neighboring countries. The ambassador added, “China has become the largest source of investment for Niger, and many developing countries, including Niger, benefit from China’s economic strength and development experiences.”

Handicrafts of Niger (Photo/Embassy of Niger to China)

A thumbs-up to Chinese doctors

The ever-lasting China-Niger friendship has made itself more sincere in difficult times. On March 19, 2020, the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Niger and medical supplies were in urgent need; on April 30, the government of Niger received the first batch of medical supplies from the Chinese government; on June 10, the second batch of medical supplies from China arrived in Niamey, capital of Niger…China’s assistance has built a line of defense for the Nigerien people. “Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China was the first in the international community to provide vaccines and medical supplies to Niger and help our fight against the pandemic. Niger thanked China for its acts of friendship and selflessness,” the ambassador said.

Seyni said that our joint response to the pandemic is an epitome of the China-Niger medical and health cooperation, which dates back a long time. Built with China’s participation, the General Hospital of Niger was completed in August 2016, and is one of the largest hospitals in Niger and even the West Africa. The hospital now serves as an important base for medical and health cooperation between China and Niger. Over the past 46 years since the two countries signed the cooperation agreement on medical technologies in 1976, batches of Chinese medical teams have continued to bring with them advanced medical equipment and sophisticated technologies to Niger to whom the Nigeriens give their thumbs-up to. “Members of Chinese medical teams fulfilled their duties with excellent performance, saving tens of millions of Nigeriens from illness,” the ambassador said emotionally.

From infrastructure building to medical and health cooperation, from cultural exchanges to economic and trade cooperation…a series of bilateral cooperation has helped Niger increase its oil production, build new bridges and fight against diseases. As a result, bridges have also been built between the hearts of our two peoples. Seyni said, “As friendly countries, China and Niger have set an example of cooperation between nations. The Chinese and Nigerien people are closely connected with each other by our solid cooperation.” 

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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