Egypt-based cable manufacturer El Sewedy Electric plans to invest around USD350 million in fibre-optic and power transmission projects in the West African nation of Niger. News agency Reuters cites a government statement as saying that Sewedy has signed an accord with telecoms operator Sonitel to help the state-owned incumbent modernise its infrastructure before a planned privatisation. ‘We aim to invest more than USD350 million in Niger, specifically on a proposed fibre-optic project and also on power transmission,’ Sewedy’s Hazem el-Haddad said on Niger state television.
Niger’s parliament voted to nationalise Sonitel in May 2012, abandoning a renewed attempt to privatise the company launched last year, states TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database. The government began looking for a new buyer for Sonitel and its mobile arm SahelCom in August 2011, after a deal to sell a stake in the company to Libya’s LAP Green Network for XAF31 billion (USD61.1 million) was scrapped the previous June. The state said it had decided to cancel the deal as the Libyan government investment vehicle had not been able to meet the terms of the transaction. Dataport, a joint venture between China’s ZTE and the Libyan Arab African Investment Company, previously held a 51% stake in the operator, but the deal was cancelled by the government in February 2009, due to poor management and failure to meet the terms of the privatisation.