The President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, reiterated the French support of the EITI during his visit to Niger on 27 March. At an EITI roundtable meeting, Niger and France confirmed their commitment to the EITI criteria for transparency as a guiding principle for their long term trade relations. At the roundtable (reported by AFP) EITI Chair Peter Eigen underlined how the meeting displayed the importance of the multi-stakeholder partnerships that make the EITI work, bringing together government, business and civil society.
President Sarkozy argued that following the EITI standard is good for business and also necessary to ensure the sustainability of trade relations. Recognising that France depend on Nigerien uranium as much as Niger did on French investments, he called for a strategic partnership based on mutual benefits and transparency, calling it "the only sustainable business practice in the 21st century". Stating that Nigeriens should have the right to know how much was paid for uranium and how revenues were utilized, Sarkozy hailed the EITI as the ideal mechanism to leverage a transparent Franco-Nigerian trade relationship. He stressed the importance of Niger undergoing EITI Validation and called compliance with the Initiative "a means to the broader end" of reducing poverty and ensuring growth.
In his opening speech, the Nigerien Prime Minister confirmed the importance of the EITI to ensure that revenues from the uranium trade will benefit the Nigerien population and lead to development in his country.
Also participating at the event was the Nigerien Minister of Mines, the French Minister of Finance, the French State Secretary for Human Rights, the President of Areva and representatives of the stakeholder groups in the Nigerien EITI national committee for consultation.