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Cablegate: Government of Niger (Gon) President Tandja Hosts the Niger

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RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHNM #0481/01 1281419
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 071419Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY NIAMEY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4286
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0673
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEHLMC/MCC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 NIAMEY 000481

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ACCRA FOR USAID
DAKAR FOR USAID
PARIS FOR AF WATCHER
AF/W FOR Dennison

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON PREL EAID EINV SENV EAGR TPHY NG XY
SUBJECT: GOVERNMENT OF NIGER (GON) PRESIDENT TANDJA HOSTS THE NIGER
BASIN AUTHORITY HEADS OF STATE/GOVERNMENT SUMMIT

NIAMEY 00000481 001.2 OF 003


1. Summary. On April 30, 2008, GON President Mamadou Tandja hosted
the Niger Basin Authority (NBA) Eighth Heads of State and Government
(HOSG) Summit (much of it held behind closed doors) in Niamey.
Three presidents (Benin, Chad and Mali), a prime minister (Burkina
Faso), senior government officials from two member states (Nigeria
and Guinea) and France, representation from the governments of
Cameroon and Cote D'Ivoire and the World Bank headed delegations to
the Summit. GON cabinet ministers, diplomatic corps, traditional
chiefs, non-governmental organization representatives and members of
civil society attended the opening ceremony. Tandja announced a
June 23, 2008 donors' roundtable to take place in Niamey to secure
needed funding for a priority five-year plan (2008-2012), the first
of four five-year plans for the period 2008-2027. He called for
acceleration of work on the Taoussa and Kandadji dam projects,
respectively, in Mali and Niger. Tandja closed the summit with the
announcement that Government of Nigeria President Alhaji Musa
Yar'Adua would assume the NBA Presidency for the next two years and
that the next HOSG Summit would be scheduled to take place during
the first half of year 2010 in Nigeria. Beyond the Summit, the
French Development Agency and Islamic Development Bank signed
substantial assistance packages for water projects in Niger. End
summary.

2. On April 30, GON President Tandja welcomed counterparts and
other visiting officials to the Eighth HOSG Summit in Niamey. He
expressed gratitude to partner nations and partner organizations for
their support in implementing NBA projects. Senior officials
participating in the meeting included Benin President Dr. Boni Yayi,
Mali President Amadou Toumani Toure, Chad President Idriss Deby
Itno, Burkina Faso Prime Minister Tertius Zongo, Nigeria Minister of
Agriculture and Water Resources Demola Seriki, Guinean Minister of
Energy and Water Affairs Ninaga Komata Goumou, Government of France
(GOF) Secretary of State for the Francophonie Alain Joyandet and
World Bank Director for the Department of Sustainable Development
Inger Anderson.

3. Tandja remarked that the massive attendance at the Summit was a
mark of friendship for Niger and a mark of confidence in the new
path being charted by the NBA membership. Tandja acknowledged the
presence of GOF Francophonie Secretary Alain Joyandet (as the
personal representative of French President Nicholas Sarkozy) and
the following institutions: World Bank (WB), African Development
Bank (ADB), Islamic Development Bank, West African Development Bank,
West African Economic and Monetary Union, African Union, European
Union, Economic Community of West African States, Canadian Agency
for International Development, United Nations Executive Secretariat
for the Fight Against Desertification, Executive Secretariat for the
Sahara and Sahel Observatory, World Meteorological Organization,
Saudi Development Fund, U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization and
the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CENSAD).

4. Summarizing concerns about the basin, he noted that over the
course of the past 40 years the Niger River basin has seen
reductions of water flow ranging from 20 to 55 percent and has
suffered decreases in rainfall from 20 to 30 percent. He attributed
both phenomena to climate change and demographic pressure. He noted
the increased level of silt, invasive plant life (notably water
hyacinth) and other menaces to the ecosystem and local populations.
He stated that nations sharing the basin have taken individual
initiatives to preserve the basin as a natural resource, but that
such initiatives have not succeeded in guaranteeing the effective
exploitation of basin resources, making the challenges and issues
related to development of the basin that much more critical. He
cited as challenges/issues: poverty reduction, improving quality of
life, protection of the environment and ecosystems, food security,
sustainable and equitable use of water resources, and fair
distribution of profits.

5. Tandja emphasized that the NBA member states' "shared vision" and
8th Summit work require review and approval of a 2008-2027
investment program and a Water Charter to guarantee equitable,
peaceful and sustainable use of basin resources. He said the
proposed investment program, in line with the Action Plan for
Sustainable Development of the Niger Basin, is structured around
four five-year plans amounting to a global need of 3.645 billion
FCFA (approximately 8.67 billion USD). (Note: The exchange rate
used is 420 FCFA = 1 USD. End note.) He said the first five-year
plan would be presented at a June 23 donors' roundtable in Niamey
and projected the funding needed to execute the plan at 905 billion
FCFA (approximately 2.15 billion USD). He reported a shortfall of
565 billion FCFA (approximately 1.32 billion USD. He stressed that
while basin countries need to once again turn to donor partners for
financial assistance, the basin countries must also work on their
own efforts to advance basin initiatives. He urged basin states to

NIAMEY 00000481 002.2 OF 003


make regular payments of dues to the NBA Executive Secretariat, but
noted that measures need to be taken to determine assessments
according to the realities of the moment.

6. Tandja named ongoing regional projects funded by a few partners:
Program of Water Resource Development and Sustainable Management of
the Niger Basin Ecosystem (WB), Program to Fight Against Silt in the
Niger Basin (ADB), Project to Reverse Soil and Water Degradation
Tendencies in the Niger Basin (WB and World Environment Fund) and
Project-Hycos to study basin surface water (GOF and ADB).

7. French Francophonie Secretary Joyandet stated at the Summit
opening ceremony that the Niger River is an inheritance to bordering
countries and populations along the span from Fouta Djalon in Guinea
to its mouth at the ocean in Nigeria, a treasure that must be
preserved and developed to meet people's current needs and those of
their children and grandchildren. He reminded the audience that
four years earlier former French President Jacques Chirac at the
Paris Conference and in the Declaration of Paris had called for a
development program to finalize a "shared vision" for use of the
Niger Basin water resources under sustainable and responsible
management by the NBA. Joyandet expressed joy that some four years
later a NBA Plan of Action and Water Charter would be submitted for
validation during the current HOSG Summit. He reiterated that GOF
engagement would complement other technical and financial partners'
support to Niger Basin countries and their 110 million people that
he added is projected to grow to 180 million people over the next 20
years. He confirmed that the GOF will be seated at the donors'
roundtable in Niger in June.

(Note: GON Minister of Finance Ali Lamine Zeine and Joyandet, the
latter on behalf of the French Development Agency (FDA), signed a
9.825 billion FCFA (approximately 23 million USD) water assistance
package. (Note: It was reported that about 3 million USD of the 23
million USD package is for use as part of the GON Food Crisis Cell
(CCA) Fund to procure food and/or support food security activities.)
Zeine remarked that the assistance would fund potable water projects
for 24 villages, eight water towers, six thousand water connections
and 25 fountains to serve 90,000 people and improve the quality of
water access to more than 281,000 persons in the targeted areas.
Zeine stated the FDA assistance would complement the more than 16
billion FCFA (approximately 38 million USD) provided by the ADB
over the last six years. End note.)

8. WB Director of Sustainable Development Anderson, on behalf of WB
President Robert Zoellick, saluted the NBA's progress since 2002.
She said the Niger River Basin is a vital inheritance for West and
Central Africa, making it necessary to urgently act on its
development. She added that the basin offers enormous
opportunities, from hydroelectricity to irrigation, fishing and
management of the environment. She offered assurances that
development partners remain disposed to continue support to the
NBA.

9. GON Minister of Water Resources Tassiou Aminou read the final
communique at the HOSG Summit closing ceremony. He cited the
following decisions:

a) adoption of a 2008-2027 Niger Basin Investment Program;
b) adoption of the Niger Basin Water Charter and acceleration of the
timetable to put it into effect;
c) organization of a June 23, 2008 donors' roundtable in Niamey to
secure funding for the 2008-2012 Priority Five-Year Plan;
d) acceleration of work on the Taoussa Dam (Mali) and Kandadji Dam
(Niger) projects;
e) acceleration of studies on sustainable and autonomous funding for
the NBA and Executive Secretariat work;
f) acceleration of the Executive Secretariat and NBA member states'
planning for and exploitation of irrigation potential to improve
food security along the basin, in synergy with subregional, regional
and specialized international organizations;
g) reinforcement of exchange mechanisms in agricultural production,
complementary to work of individual members states; and
h) the extension of Mohammed Bello Tuga's (from Nigeria) mandate for
two years (non-renewable) as NBA Executive Secretary.

10. Tandja's remarks at the Summit closing ceremony emphasized that
the Niger River is a rich natural resource that offers real
opportunity for development in the subregion, provided measures are
taken to manage the various threats to the basin. He stressed that
human ingenuity is essential to overcome challenges in the basin's
development. He urged the NBA Executive Secretary and Technical
Committee to persevere in their efforts to generate interest among
partners. He said both the human and natural resources of the basin

NIAMEY 00000481 003.2 OF 003


must serve as a springboard for durable economic development in the
subregion. He commended Mohamed Bello Tuga for his good work that
resulted in reelection to another term as NBA Executive Secretary
and congratulated Government of Nigeria President Yar'Adua on his
election as the new NBA President through year 2010.

Note: On May 6, 2008, Islamic Development Bank Vice President Amadou
Cisse signed a 25 billion FCFA (approximately 50 million USD)
assistance package for the GON's first phase of the Kandadji Dam
project. End note.)

ALLEN

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