NIAMEY Dec 18 Niger has secured $172 million from the World Bank and others to finance a hydroelectric dam and will resume construction soon, its President said, after ending a contract with a Russian firm earlier this year.
The Kandadji hydroelectric project, located about 180 kilometres northwest of the capital Niamey along the Niger River, is expected to produce around 130 MW of electricity.
Niger, a poor, landlocked country with uranium reserves, had previously awarded the Kandadji project to Russia's Zarubezhvodstroy OJSC but it broke off the contract in July alleging the firm had not met its commitments.
Zarubezhvodstroy did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
"A round table discussion...enabled us to address the project and to raise 172 million dollars for the additional costs following the termination of the contract," President Mohamadou Issoufou said in a statement late on Tuesday.
"Work will begin soon," he added.
He did not say whether the project would reach its previous target to be operational by 2017.
Planning minister Amadou Boubacar Cisse said the World Bank, the Saudi Fund for Development, the French Development Agency and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa were among the lenders.
The government is in the process of choosing a new partner for the project and it hopes to resume construction again in the first quarter of 2014, a government official said. (Reporting by Abdoulaye Massalaki; Writing by Emma Farge)