18 july 2014

Access to water: Veolia's number-one priority in Niger

Veolia’s CEO Antoine Frérot joined French President François Hollande during his state visit to Niger on July 18 for a tour of the Goudel drinking water plant in Niamey alongside the President of the Republic of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou. Veolia has been active in the African country since 2001 and now supplies drinking water to more than 2.3 million people in Niger.

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Carte du Niger
During the tour, Antoine Frérot spoke with the two heads of state about the challenges of access to water in the region and Veolia’s activities in Niger. The drought-plagued Sub-Saharan nation is home to 17.2 million people and has long suffered from an unreliable water supply.

Since 2001, when Veolia signed its first public utility concession contract in the country, its subsidiary, Société d’Exploitation des Eaux du Niger (SEEN), has been producing and distributing drinking water for 54 urban centers nationwide.



 
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Rémi Bourgarel, Director of Veolia in Niger, explains the company's role in developing access to water in the country.

 49% of SEEN shareholders are local investors. The private-sector Nigerien company supplies drinking water to more than 2.3 million people, which represents annual sales of around 70 million cubic meters. 

 

"1.5 million more people in Niger have been given access to water since 2001," says Rémi Bourgarel, the company's CEO.





There has been significant progress in providing new infrastructure. The network has grown by nearly 77% since 2001. Up to 87% of people are connected to the water supply in urban and semi-urban centers managed by SEEN. Veolia has also taken steps to improve the working conditions of employees, notably through a drive to develop their skills and provide better healthcare.

 
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"This is an exemplary contract, not only in terms of its technical achievements and employee training but also in terms of its staying power. It is very rare to see public utility concessions run their course in Africa. Niger's government recently renewed the contract for another ten years," says a satisfied Patrice Fonlladosa, Director of the Middle East/Africa Zone at Veolia.


Buoyed by its achievements in Niger, which have been widely recognized by international investors, Veolia is seeking to export the model to other countries in the region facing the same challenges.

 
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As Mr. Fonlladosa notes, François Hollande's visit to the Goudel water treatment plant is "a reflection of the successful, sustainable partnership between Niger and France in providing access to essential services, with water as its first priority."