Nexus Dialogue in the Niger Basin // EU-Niger Business Forum 2023
Mar 16 2023
The Business Forum: strengthening EU-Niger cooperation for development
The first edition of the EU-Niger Business Forum was held on February 7 and 8 2023, in Niamey, Niger. The event can be considered one of the most important business meetings in the economic history of Niger. It hosted more than 400 Nigerien, European and sub-regional companies, economic decision-makers, politicians, development actors and investment experts with the aim of stimulating Niger’s economic growth.
The forum was hosted by the Minister of Commerce of Niger, Mr. Alhada and the EU Ambassador to Niger, Mr. Salvador Pinto Da França, and inaugurated by the President of the Republic of Niger, Mr. Mohamed Bazoum. It brought together investors and political figures, including a European delegation represented by Spain, France, Greece and Portugal, several companies based in Niger and in the EU, as well as national and regional organisations.
The main objective of the Forum was to attract long-term European investments to increase private stakeholders’ interest in the country and strengthen relations between the European Union and Niger. It specifically aimed at highlighting the economic opportunities offered to European investors in priority sectors: renewable and fossil energies, crafts, agri-food, and livestock farming. The Forum also sought to inform European companies about Niger’s priorities in agro-industrial clusters, ongoing investments in human capital and the business environment development through public-private dialogues. Likewise, it advised Nigerien enterprises and authorities on the preconditions for attracting European companies.
The exchanges during the forum encompassed investment opportunities regarding different fields, particularly: creation of agro-industrial hubs; energy, oil and mining; crafts and tourism in Niger; infrastructure; new information and communication technologies.
The Joint Vision 2030 from last year’s European Union–African Union (EU-AU) Summit recognises Africa as the heart of tomorrow’s global recovery, setting the inspiration to the EU-NIGER Business Forum launch. Through fruitful dialogues, the Forum envisions to stimulate the creation of an investment platform to strengthen all fields of value creation in Africa, thereby contributing to consolidate trade, stimulate economic growth, and create jobs, in line with the Global Gateway Initiative.
German Pavilion at the Forum
The GIZ-Niger office coordinated the German representation at the Business Forum through a pavilion jointly organised by the German Embassy in Niger along with KfW, the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), and GIZ.
There, Nigerien entrepreneurs supported by different German cooperation companies were introduced. It further provided the opportunity to present several projects in the fields of employment, decentralisation, agro-industry, the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Security Nexus, and information and communication technologies (ICT). President Mohamed Bazoum, Head of State of the Republic of Niger, and the Delegation of the European Commission visited the pavilion and contemplated the diverse activities carried out.
Side-event on the Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus
As part of the different panels, GIZ and RES4Africa foundation organised a joint session: “Accelerating businesses related to the water, energy and food sectors in Niger”, on February 8. The main objective was to discuss the Water Energy Food (WEF) Nexus and its added value, with reference to the efficient and sustainable use of limited natural resources. Two young entrepreneurs presented their technologies and business models that seek to create synergies between these vital resources.
Zakari Idrissa Abdou, CEO of Green Business Consulting and winner of a regional Nexus start-up accelerator competition, produces biochar and organic fertilisers from water hyacinth to combat deforestation and improve the capacity of soil water storage. Seybou Ali Ousseini, CEO of Sahel Electronique, presented his solution on smart solar agriculture, including the installation of solar refrigerators and irrigation systems. The side-event concluded with a fruitful discussion on the main obstacles faced by private companies and financial institutions to invest in WEF-oriented enterprises and support innovative young entrepreneurs in Niger.