Development of Today’s Niger

By | May 7, 2021

On August 3, 1960, after 70 years of colonial rule, Niger gained its independence under Hamani Diori. August 3rd is meanwhile also the day of the tree; the population is planting trees – which, for example, the city of Niamey distributes in order to work together to counteract desertification.

According to computerannals, the political landscape in Niger since independence has been marked by many changes in leadership, often initiated by a military coup. Authoritarian rule began as early as the last two years of formal French rule, which brought Hamani Diori’s repressive one-party system to power. Democratic practice has only developed since the 2000’s.

Hamani Diori was overthrown by the military under Seyni Kountché in 1974 in the context of a major economic crisis. After his death in 1987 there was a formal return to civil government under the unity party MNDS (former (PPN / RDA). President Ali Saibou)convened a national conference based on the model of Benin in 1991 – he had come under regional and internal pressure to democratize. In 1993, relatively free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections were held: the Second Republic was proclaimed and the multi-party system was promoted. Mahamane Ousmane (CDS) was the first freely elected president. After early parliamentary elections in 1995, Ousmane was forced to appoint the opposition Hama Amadou (MNSD) as prime minister, with whom he immediately got into a violent conflict. This political situation led to Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara’s military coup on January 27, 1996 – this also reflects the continued claim to power by the armed forces. Under pressure from abroad Maïnassara announced a constitutional referendum and new elections. He emerged victorious from these in July 1996 – with unequal electoral conditions. Major opposition parties boycotted the elections. In February 1999 Mainassara was in the military coup under Daouda Malam Wanké killed.

Since December 22, 1999, Mamadou came to Tandjain power; At the end of 2004, the first free elections took place under him. The President’s Party (MNSD) emerged as the winner. Hama Amadou was reappointed Prime Minister, and Mahamane Ousmane (CDS) was re-elected President of the National Assembly. It was agreed between Tandja and Hama that he and Hama wanted to “swap” posts for a “supposedly third” term. Only the agreement was not kept and Tandja changed the constitution with a referendum on August 4, 2009. The people then revolted and the military carried out a coup.

With the military coup on February 18, 2010, the “Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy” (CSRD – Conseil suprême pour la restauration de la democratie) deposed President Tandja, the constitution of the VI. Republic of August 18, 2009 and dissolved the parliament and all institutions based on this constitution. Salou Djibo became the interim president ; the Prime Minister for the transition period until free elections was appointed on 24 02 2010 Mahamadou Danda. After the referendum on the new constitution on October 31, 2010, Saliou Djibo proclaimed the VII Republic for Niger on November 25, 2010. For the first time the constitution was proclaimed with the sound of the national anthem. The referendum was accepted with 90% – with a participation of the population of 52.65%. Last but not least, there was also a fairly high turnout in the country.

Local council elections were held on January 11, 2011. The first round of the March 2011 presidential election was won by Mahamadou Issoufou (Targi from the Tahoua area) and prevailed in the runoff election with 57.95% against Seini Oumarou with 42.05% of the vote. Issoufou has been the new head of state since April 6, 2011. Mahamadou Issoufou is, so to speak, a “political veteran”: from 1993-1996 he was Prime Minister and variously candidate for the presidential election. He was re-elected in 2016 and confirmed in office on April 2, 2016.

Brigi Rafini became Prime Minister of Niger on April 21, 2011, and he was also confirmed for another term. He was the fourth Vice President of the National Assembly from 2004 to 2009. In the late 1980’s, Brigi Rafini held the post of Minister of Agriculture. He is Targi from the Iferouane region in the Air Mountains. The ministerial posts of the Government of the VII. Republic occupy about one quarter are women.

1958-1974 Hamani Diori I. Republic
1974-1987 Seyni Kountché II Republic
1987-1993 Ali Saibou III. republic
1993-1996 Mahame Ousmane IV Republic
1996-1999 Ibrahim Baré Mainassara V. Republic
1999 Daouda Malam Wanké
1999-2010 Mamadou Tandja VI. republic
2010-2011 Salou Djibo Transitional government
since April 6, 2011 Mahamadou Issoufou VII Republic

Transformation process

The poor socio-political and economic framework conditions in Niger are an important criterion for the difficulties in the transformation process (85th place out of 137 countries, BTI 2020). The unfavorable economic situation has been aggravated by droughts, desertification, state interventionism and “bad governance” since the early 1970’s at the latest. The uranium boom of the late 1970’s soon ebbed. The 1980’s brought another major drought that worsened the overall situation in the country. From the 1980’s, Niger had to undergo a structural adjustment program due to its enormous debt of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Social protests by civil society groups against the austerity measures imposed by the donors led to the program being suspended. Under Maïnassara, relations with the World Bank and IMF could be improved again. An ‘Enhanced Structural Adjustmend Facility’ (ESAF) from 1996 to 1999 was carried out to the satisfaction of the international financial institutions. The ‘Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) was launched in 2000. The PRSP (Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper) met with broad approval from the IMF and the World Bank. The satisfaction of the international financiers says nothing about the internal situation, the catastrophic conditions that prevail in all socio-economic areas and are exacerbated by corruption. The IMF’s structural adjustment specifications were extended by the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper PRSP 2012-2015. Hunger and supply crises, as in 2005 and 2010, occur again and again, as well as floods of the Niger are recurring factors that repeatedly lead to considerable difficulties and destabilization.

The ” Program de Renaissance du Niger ” initiated by President Issoufou (1st phase 2011-2015; 2nd phase 2016-2021) has important goals for the development of the country.

  1. Cultural promotion
  2. Support for democratic structures
  3. Security of people and goods
  4. Access to water for everyone
  5. Food security (over 3N)
  6. Development of the infrastructure in the field of communication and energy (e.g. solar energy)
  7. Social Sector Development: Education and Health
  8. Promoting the employment of young people

In early July 2019, Niger hosted the African Union heads of state summit. In the run-up, a lot was renovated and renewed in the capital Niamey.

Niger Agadez mosque