New Delhi : India and Niger on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the implementation of Mahatma Gandhi International Convention Centre (MGICC) in Niamey, Niger with the Indian government's grant assistance.
The agreement was signed by Secretary (Economic Relations), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) T.S. Tirumurti and Ambassador of Republic of Niger in India Ali Illiassou, in the presence of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Minister and Special Adviser to the President of Republic of Niger, Saidil Moctar Mohamed, a statement from the MEA read.
Mohamed, who is currently in New Delhi, called on Swaraj and thanked India for providing grant assistance to build MGICC. The two ministers also discussed other issues of bilateral and regional interest, including combating terrorism, development partnership among others. Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar also hosted a lunch in honour of the visiting Niger minister.
The Convention Centre, which would be a spacious, modern and eco-friendly facility, is being established in the context of the African Union (AU) Summit that Niger is set to host next year, which would witness high-level and wide-ranging participation from AU member states, the statement added.
The centre honours the memory of Mahatma Gandhi, whose 150th birth anniversary is also being observed in 2019. The establishment of the centre is a landmark for Niger-India friendship and also a symbol of India's firm commitment towards Africa.
In response to growing request from countries in Africa, India has offered to establish Mahatma Gandhi convention centres in more than 20 countries in Africa, of which the project are being taken up in the immediate phase in nine countries.
"India and Niger enjoy close relations. The bilateral relations have expanded significantly since the opening of the Indian Resident Diplomatic Mission in Niamey in 2009. India has provided lines of credit worth USD 96.54 million for projects in transport, electrification, solar energy and potable drinking water. India's grant assistance for MGICC will further contribute towards enhancing of bilateral ties," the statement concluded.