New Delhi: India has extended a grant of $15 million dollars to the Republic of the Niger to assist in organising the African Union (AU) summit. The summit will take place on July 7 and 8 in Niger capital city Niamey. The grant assistance was handed over to Niger Deputy Foreign Minister Lamido Ousseini Bala Goga Salamatou by Niger Rajesh Agarwal, the Indian Ambassador to Niger.
The AU Summit is expected to launch the historic African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
This is the first time that Niger is hosting the AU summit. India's financial support was in response to a specific request made by the Niger government.
India's assistance comes amid its increased engagement with the other nations of the African continent. In October 2015, New Delhi hosted the India Africa Aummit that a high participation by African head of states and governments. Niger President Issoufou Mahamadou had participated in the 2015 summit and also visited India in March 2018 to attend the Founding Conference of International Solar Alliance.
India and Niger relations have expanded significantly since the opening of the Indian Resident Diplomatic Mission in Niamey in 2009. India provided Lines of Credit worth $96.54 million to Niger for projects in transport, electrification, solar energy and potable drinking water. New Delhi is also establishing Mahatma Gandhi International Convention Centre (MGICC) in the country and is likely to host some meetings associated with the upcoming AU Summit.