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