Construction of China Gezhouaba Group’s Kandadji dam in Niger suspended due to coup – company

NIAMEY (Reuters) – The China Gezhouaba Group Co Ltd has suspended the construction of its Kandadji hydroelectric dam in Niger after coup-related sanctions halted key funding, the company said in a letter seen by Reuters on Thursday.

The 500 billion CFA franc ($808 million) project, located about 180 kilometres northwest of the capital Niamey, is set to have a capacity of 130 MW and also provide irrigation and boost food security in one of the world’s poorest countries.

“We find ourselves forced to halt all our construction activities,” China Gezhouaba Group said in a letter to a local work inspection body dated Aug. 7.

The letter said the military takeover on July 26 and ensuing economic sanctions caused it to declare force majeure on the project.

Local contracts will be progressively terminated after due salaries are paid, the company added, promising to give redundant employees priority for re-hire once construction resumes.

($1 = 618.4900 CFA francs)

(Reporting by Boureima Balima; Writing by Sofia Christensen; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Estelle Shirbon)