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Niger in Talks With South Africa’s IDC for Livestock Investment

Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Niger’s government is in talks with South Africa’s Industrial Development Corp. about investing in the West African nation’s livestock industry, Livestock Minister Mahaman Ehadji Ousmane said.

“We are meeting with the IDC and seeking their assistance,” Ousmane told reporters in Johannesburg today. “We are here to encourage South African investors to help us establish livestock-processing businesses in our country.”

Agriculture comprises about 41 percent of gross domestic product in Niger, a landlocked country with a population of about 16 million people, according to the CIA World Factbook. A drought from 2009 to 2010 left one in five of the nation’s children under five years of age malnourished, according to the World Food Programme. The country’s subsistence farming community has more than 35 million animals, including cattle, sheep, goats and camels, Ousmane said.

“There’s only one abattoir and very few butcheries,” said Ousmane. The abattoir was built in 1967, he said.

The state-owned IDC, based in Johannesburg, will offer 4.5 billion rand ($580 million) over the next five years to agro-processing projects that seek to promote rural economic development, Business Day reported on Oct. 18, citing Rian Coetzee, head of agro-industries. The IDC planned to increase the fund by a further 1 billion rand annually over the next five years, the Johannesburg-based newspaper said.

The company is in talks with Nigerien representatives, although “it’s still early days,” Coetzee said in a mobile-phone interview today.

Niger doesn’t have commercial farming even as 87 percent of the population owns livestock, there is no commercial farming, Ousmane said. Livestock contributes about 22 percent of the nation’s export revenue, he said.

There has been no investment in the country’s livestock and agricultural industries for the last 35 years, he said.

“We are providing a tax-free investment opportunity for a minimum of 2 billion CFA francs ($4 million) invested,” Ousmane said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Sikonathi Mantshantsha in Johannesburg at smantshantsh@bloomberg.net; Tshepiso Mokhema in Johannesburg at tmokhema@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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