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Great analysis that shows there is a lot to do in Niger. I don't know much about what is going on there but I have serious concerns about the review process of the contract.
1. How to end the secrecy surrounding the deal when the contract under negotiation was tagged defense secret? Why and how did they get there with former Niger authorities?
2. How can a private company (and not a country) be granted a defense secret contract in a natural resource deal?
3. Is the contract negotiation based on an independent audit of the companies operations? what are the ToR for the review and who are the people involved ?? Are CSOs there? If not are they strategizing consequently? In case they are there are they really prepared to play a thought leadership role?
Can Niger PWYP guys trow some more light into these questions?? In case of language barrier I can help for the French translation.

On a different note, I have a say on the Africa Progress Panel recommendation on the use of auctions and competitive bids in mining licenses sale. It is only possible and relevant when a country conducts and discovers valuable mineral finds by itself. Which most African countries do not; instead, minerals rights is wide open to foreign direct investment from the mere prospective stage to extraction. And once the deposit is found, the investor systematically has the full rights to exploit. In the next report, it would be worth recommending that African countries use part of minerals deal money to put exploration first so that oil and other minerals finds exploitation licenses/ concessions can be sold through a competitive process.

Could you please touch base with Niger people?