The opening ceremony of the China-aided Niger Third Bridge Project was held on February 18. About 200 people attended the ceremony, including President Isoufou, Prime Minister Rafini, His Excellency Zhang Lijun - Chinese Ambassador to the Niger, His Excellency Gao Tiefeng - Economic Counselor, and Deng Xigui - Deputy General Manager of the CHEC West Africa Regional Center.
In his speech, His Excellency Zhang Lijun highlighted that the China-aided Niger Third Bridge Project is the largest project in the history of the Chinese government’s aid to the Niger. Since its launch, CHEC has braved many difficulties such as the COVID-19 epidemic and successfully completed the project’s major construction tasks, with the full support of the Chinese and Nepalese governments, and the Nepalese people. Once the project is completed and put into service, it will significantly relieve traffic pressure in the capital of the Niger and spur economic development in the region. He stressed that the mutual cooperation between China and the Niger is the product of the “Belt and Road” Initiative and a successful example of building a “community with a shared destiny for mankind” as well. He believed that the friendship between China and the Niger would be as long lasting as the length of the Niger River.
In an interview with the media, President Issoufou spoke favorably of the partnership between China and the Niger, saying that the successful implementation of the China-aided Niger Third Bridge Project is another major achievement of pragmatic cooperation between both countries, and on behalf of the Niger, he thanked China for assisting Nigeria in its economic and social development. Mr. Diop - Acting Minister of Equipment of Nepal, the Secretary General of the Niamey Region and the representative of General Kountché’s family also expressed their gratitude in their speeches.
President Issoufou and his Excellency Zhang Lijun both cut the ribbon and inaugurated the project. Afterwards they examined the project along the road by car under the guidance of the project vehicle. Major Nepalese media, including Nepalese National Television, Le Sahel and Niger National News Agency, reported on the scene. Xinhuanet covered the ceremony as well.
The China-aided Niger Third Bridge Project, also known as the General Seyni Kountché Bridge, is named after the famous military and political leader of the Niger, Seyni Kountché. This bridge is the highest-grade bridge across the river in the Niger and fully adopts Chinese standards. It is also the first China-aided project of CHEC in Africa and the largest project assisted by the Chinese government in the Niger’s history. Thus, it is of great political significance.