Donor countries suspend aid to Niger


Niger coup

from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
Nigeria Bureau
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – THE suspension of aid to Niger could exacerbate humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable.

This past weekend, some European countries and the United States (US) suspended cooperation with the military administration of a troubled West African country in the wake of the July 26 coup.

The Dutch government is among the countries that have suspended cooperation until further notice.

This will affect funding for development cooperation and security programmes that are run through Niger’s central government.

Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Liesje Schreinemacher and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wopke Hoekstra, reached this decision last Friday, on the grounds that they did not wish to work with coup leaders. General Abdourahamane Tchiani is the leader.

Programmes that will see funding suspended include a healthcare project (€6 million) and a programme to improve the prison system (almost €4 million).

The Netherlands’ contribution towards the training of mobile border guards (€5 million), as part of the EUCAP Sahel Niger civilian mission, will also be temporarily suspended.

“The government is exploring which programmes funded through the United Nations, other international organisations or local partners can be continued in order to provide support to the people of Niger,” the Dutch government stated.

Canada also suspended cooperation, Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Ahmed Hussen, Minister of International Development, confirmed.

“We are concerned by the impact that this seizure of power by force will have on the people of Niger, particularly the most vulnerable. Respect for democracy is essential for stability and cooperation efforts in Niger,” Hussein said.

Since October 2020, Canada has had a bilateral development cooperation program with Niger, which was expected to reach an annual budget of US$10 million/year by 2026. The programme disbursed $2,71 million in 2021-22.

The suspension will encompass Canada’s direct budgetary support to the Government of Niger. Canadian health, education, economic and gender equality assistance to the poorest and most vulnerable populations will continue, the government assured.

In 2021-2022, Canada’s total international assistance to Niger reached $59,33 million, of which $8,7 million was for humanitarian assistance.

The US government is also pausing certain foreign assistance programs benefiting the government of Niger.

Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, said the interim measure did not impact all US foreign assistance programmes.

“Most importantly, the provision of life-saving humanitarian and food assistance will continue. Further, we are continuing US government activities in Niger where feasible to do so, including diplomatic and security operations, for the protection of US personnel.”

The countries are pinning their hopes on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) finding a solution to the crisis in Niger.

ECOWAS is demanding the release and reinstatement of the deposed president, Mohamed Bazoum.

Over 4,4 million people in Niger –out of a population of 25 million- are in need of humanitarian assistance.

– CAJ News










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