Niger President, Mahamadou Issouffou on Friday inaugurated a completed section of a railway line in the capital Niamey.
Built by the French investment and the private industrial holding group Bolloré, it is aimed at providing access to the sea via a railway connecting to the capital of the country which shares its port with Benin.
Mahamadou is proud about the project.
“Niger is the only country in West Africa not to have so far not even one meter of rail. Today, this gap is overcome,” he said.
Construction began in April last year on a 574 km railway to join Niamey to the eastern town of Parakou, which already had an existing rail link to Cotonou.
The link forms part of a planned 2,800 km networks joining up Ivory Coast, Benin, Burkina Faso, Togo and Niger.
The French group owns 40% stake in the operator BENI rail, in which the two countries will each own 10%. Private investors from the two countries own the remaining stake.
The railway will transport passengers at the initial stages and later transport goods.