Turkish construction firms to inform civil servants in Niger
Turkish construction firms at the heart of Niger's construction boom are planning to ratchet up their involvement in the West African nation by providing technical courses on the construction industry and related consulting services for Niger's civil servants, the head of a leading Turkish construction union told Today's Zaman this week. Sukru Kocoglu, head of the Turkish Construction and Installation Contractors Syndicate (INTES), told Today's Zaman that his union of construction firms -- some of which are leading contractors for Niger's government -- had agreed to requests by Niger's minister of state for planning to help better educate civil servants on how to evaluate contracts and keep tabs on the country's booming construction industry. Kocoglu said the request had come from Minister Amadou Boubacar Cisse during a recent visit by an INTES delegation to the country. "They asked how we can strengthen our relations. We've taken a concrete step in that direction," he said. Kocoglu said that Turkish firms expect major growth in Niger, where an İNTES firm recently won a contract for the construction of a 483-kilometer highway between the cities of Arlit and Agades. He also said that Turkish construction firms might secure a staggering $400 billion in continent-wide contracts by 2020. Kocoglu warned, however, that foreign funding for massive construction projects in Niger -- such as a larger $4 billion national road network -- remain the largest obstacle to contractor and nationwide development alike.