Published on 01 September 2016

The Kandadji dam, the evil eye and a whiff of scandal

Will the hydro-electric dam due to built in the Kandadji region on the River Niger in south western Niger ever see the light of day? Construction of the dam, which was supposed to increase the country's energy production and advance the fight against malnutrition, had been due to get under way in 2011 but work has still not begun. It is not now expected to start, moreover, until 2021 at the earliest. The main cause of delay has been the lack of transparency surrounding the project. This served to justify its unilateral withdrawal by President Mahamadou Issoufou's for failure to respect contractual specifications after it had been attributed by his predecessor, Salou Djibo, to Russia's Zarubezhvodstroy (ZVS). The Issoufou administration has been very conciliatory towards the former junta chief, who was in power in 2010 and 2011, and has not been zealous to the point of seeking to cast light on the shady aspects surrounding this $127 million contract. It preferred rather to bury the investigation into the conditions in which it was attributed.

With a new executor still to be designated, other issues, including uncompleted studies and financing problems, are adding further complications, as this joint special report by West Africa Newsletter and Africa Energy Intelligence demonstrates. A new environmental impact study, which had not originally been planned, now obliges Niger to seek the approval of neighbouring Burkina Faso and Mali before starting any work.

The only infrastructure of its type in Niger, the 130 MW barrage was to be the emblematic project of Mahamadou Issoufou's first 2011-2016 five-year term with its "3Ns" programme – "Nigeriens Nourish Nigeriens". It looks very unlikely, however, that Issoufou, who was re-elected for a second term in March, will ever officially inaugurate it…

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NIGER 24/08/2016

Kandadji dam presents new hurdles for Mahamadou Issoufou 

Already five years behind schedule, the pet project of Niger’s president is facing fresh setbacks. [...]

NIGER 09/12/2015

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NIGER 18/03/2015

Kandadji missing millions 

A probe into the causes of the Kandjaji dam fiasco seems to have been quietly set aside. [...]

NIGER 24/09/2014

Kandadji delays dog Issoufou 

The Kandadji dam project, one of the flagship programmes of Mahamadou Issoufou’s presidential campaign in 2011, is fraught with problems. [...]

NIGER 12/03/2014

Russia's ZVS still burning issue 

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NIGER 04/09/2013

ZVS contract probed by Niamey 

Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou has discreetly ordered the government's audit [...]

NIGER 31/07/2013

Russia's ZBS shown the door 

Economic planning minister Amadou Boubacar Cisse has persuaded president Mahamadou Issoufou to cancel the contract of Russia’s ZBS to build the Kandadji dam. [...]

NIGER 21/05/2013

Watch on Russians at Kandadji 

The government is taking strong measures because of setbacks encountered by a Russian firm building the Kandadji dam. [...]

NIGER 03/04/2013

Kandadji still waiting for dam 

The construction of the Kandadji dam by Russia’s Zarubezhvodstroy, which was launched with much fanfare by Mahmadou Issoufou in May 2011, is still waiting to happen. International lenders and the government are fuming. [...]

NIGER 24/07/2012

Major loan for Kandadji 

The World Bank will decide in October whether to invest [...]

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