NIAMEY, Niger, March 7 (Reuters) - China’s Sinolight said on Wednesday it plans to build a 100,000-tonne per year sugar refinery in Niger, a project that would allow the West African state to add value to its raw sugar cane production.
It would be the latest investment by a Chinese state-run firm in Niger, after China’s CNPC helped make it Africa’s newest oil producer in late 2011 and as China National Nuclear Corporation helps it develop a uranium mine.
“We are in the process of putting in place a factory that will produce 100,000 tonnes of refined sugar per year and will also create nearly 10,000 jobs,” Ma Jiang, vice president of Sinolight, said on state television.
Jiang made the announcement following a meeting with Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou. He said the plant will be located 140 km outside the capital Niamey, but he did not give details on the cost or when it would begin operations.
Sinolight is a diversified industrial group with businesses ranging from electricity generation to bio fertilizers.
Niger, one of the world’s poorest states, produces about 200,000 tonnes of raw sugar cane per year, almost all of which is consumed domestically.
The country, which struggles to contain Al Qaeda-linked operatives in its vast northern desert, is also a top supplier of uranium to France’s nuclear industry, and recently started up oil and oil refining operations. (Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Mike Nesbit)