An agreement setting out the terms of the construction and operation of the railway linking Cotonou to Niamey was signed on Tuesday 7th April. The agreement provides project financing by the Bolloré Group which, with 40% of shares in BENIRAIL, is the main shareholder. The states of Niger and Benin respectively hold 10% of shares; the rest is distributed among private investors from both countries.
“We have created the conditions to ensure harmony, diligence and effectiveness of this historic and ambitious project,” said the Niger Minister of Spatial Planning, Amadou Boubacar Cisse. Works of this railway line started in April 2014 on a first junction of 574 km that connects Niamey, Niger’s capital, to the city of Parakou in north of Benin. The rest of the segment, which consists of a railway line connecting Parakou in Cotonou, the economic capital of Benin, already, exists. It will be upgraded as part of this project. The line will transport goods but also passengers.
In an interview with the Niger government television, Vincent Bolloré, said “This contract is a guarantee that the railway will be completed and a guarantee that we will fund it.” This railway line should be part of the future rail loop of 2 700 km linking the Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Niger, Benin and Togo.