In 2010, a political coup opened the way for transition in Niger, culminating with the April 2011 democratic election of President Mahmadou Issoufou. But in 2013, the country was still confronted with several threats and challenges. Conflict in Mali threatened to spill over into the country, while the Libya conflict and instability caused by Boko Haram in Nigeria challenged national stability.
The country itself experienced rebellions by groups from the North claiming increased political and socio-economic participation in the country’s affairs. While those rebellions were successfully mitigated by the authorities, the spread of violent extremism in neighboring countries poses new challenges. Niger has also become one of the main transition roads for migration to Europe, causing increased human trafficking and abuse cases. With deteriorating living conditions in crisis countries, migrants often are at risk of being exposed to radicalization and recruitments on their path to Libya and Europe.
PBF Investments in Niger
Total allocation: $18 million invested since 2013
Current portfolio: $15.5 million
Security sector reform
Partners: UNDP, UNHABITAT, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNESCO, UNIDO, OHCHR , ACORD
Since 2013, the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) has supported the Government of Niger in the implementation of its SaheloSaharan strategy. The strategy intends to tackle root causes of instability, including poverty, exclusion and inter-community conflicts around access to natural resources. PBF programs are therefore focused on socio-economic empowerment of youth and women at risk of conflict, mainly in border regions with Mali, Nigeria and Libya.
While the development of village committees contributed to the peaceful management of conflicts around access to natural resources, PBF projects also set up dialogue structures between the population and the defense and security forces to strengthen collaboration and build trust. Moreover, PBF also supported youth and women participation in the last elections in 2016 to foster political inclusion of marginalized groups.
More recently, PBF financed a risky and innovative project in December 2017 to support socio-economic reintegration of former Boko Haram combatants alongside victims in the Diffa region.