Political situation The hopes of the Niger people rest on the President

Since 2011, the hopes of the Niger people have been resting on President Mahamadou Issoufou and his government. Issoufou is expected to bring the West African country back to the path of democracy, introduce political and economic reforms, and find effective solutions for the main social problems.

Shepherds with their goats near Niamey, Niger

Shepherds with their goats near Niamey, Niger

Shepherds with their goats near Niamey, Niger

Reform course mapped out

After being sworn into office, the President embarked on an encouraging course of reforms, initiating a national development strategy and restoring his country’s relations with its regional neighbours and the international community. Included in this agenda are stabilising democracy and the rule of law, and also fighting corruption. Issoufou has launched a food security initiative and has begun elaborating a long-term strategy to promote rural development.

High level of population growth

Sustainable development progress is massively hampered by the extremely high rate of population growth, measuring just under four per cent a year. The country’s economic achievements are not enough to offer the growing young population sufficient prospects for the future. Each year about 400,000 more young people need jobs, services and food.

Faced with a very high rate of population growth, President Issoufou is prepared to talk openly about the necessity of family planning and contraception – a taboo topic in broad sections of Niger society.

Difficult political situation in neighbouring countries

The Niger lies in a crisis region. The difficult political situation in neighbouring Libya, Mali and Nigeria makes meeting basic needs and upholding internal security a challenging task. Conflicts have caused many people from neighbouring countries to seek refuge in the Niger and have also led to internal displacement on a significant scale. Since the Islamist terrorist organisation Boko Haram began launching attacks from bases in Nigeria on targets in south-eastern Niger, too, the situation has deteriorated dramatically, especially in the region of Diffa.

In addition, the Niger is the most important transit country in West Africa for migrants. A significant percentage of the migrants from West and Central Africa pass through the Niger and Libya on their way to the Mediterranean and then to Europe.