Niger and IMF reached agreement on review of ECF-supported program

The Nigerien authorities and the IMF team reached staff-level agreement for the completion of the fifth review of the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) – program.

It could be considered by the Executive Board of the IMF in early-January 2020.

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff team led by Christoph A. Klingen visited Niamey from October 29 to November 12, 2019 to conduct discussions on the fifth review of the program supported by the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement. Niger’s program was approved by the IMF Board on January 23, 2017.

Klingen said at the end of the visit that the government of Niger remains strongly committed to the reforms in its PDES 2017-2021, supported by the ECF arrangement. It is making commendable reform efforts, implementing its program with the IMF in a satisfactory manner.

“Macroeconomic stability remains firmly in place on the back of prudent fiscal policy and solid growth. Economic activity is benefitting from the government’s success in attracting foreign investors and the scaling-up of donor support, as well as favorable harvests, despite a tense security situation and the closure of the border with Nigeria. Growth should reach 6.3 percent this year and average more than 7 percent over the next five years. The construction of the pipeline for crude oil and the expected onset of oil exports in 2022 are an important boon for the economy. The mission will continue to work closely with the authorities with a view to devising policies that maximize the benefits from the large-scale projects for the Nigerien economy.

“The fiscal situation remains broadly satisfactory, with the overall deficit on track to improve this year and comply with the WAEMU deficit ceiling of 3 percent of GDP in 2020. While revenue mobilization remains an uphill battle, especially considering the Nigeria border closure, the government’s unrelenting reform efforts and prudent expenditure management keep public finances solid. The 2020 budget marks an important step toward generating fiscal space for priority expenditures. High quality and transparency in public spending remains imperative to make the best of limited resources.

“The IMF team congratulates the authorities on securing the construction of a pipeline for the export of crude oil and the associated oil field development. Fiscal revenues should rise by at least 2 percent of GDP from 2022 and local suppliers and employees of oil-related activity should benefit as well. It will now be important to carefully design the contracts and institutional arrangements governing the petroleum sector to make Niger’s impending oil exporter status an unqualified success.

“Persistently seeking to improve conditions for the formal local private sector is critical, not least to allow it to benefit fully from the dynamism surrounding the large-scale projects. In this context, the government’s efforts to improve the readings of business environment indicators is commendable. Improving access to financing is rightly high on the agenda. Formalizing the informal sector simultaneously levels the playing field and spreads the tax burden more widely. The mission welcomes ongoing efforts to improve governance, including the strengthening of HALCIA, the application to rejoin the EITI, and plans to upgrade the asset declaration regime for high-ranking public officials.

“The team met with the Prime Minister Brigi Rafini, Minister of State for Petroleum, the Ministers of Finance and Justice, the Minister Delegate for the Budget, the Special Presidential Advisor in charge of the business environment, as well as other senior government officials. Staff also exchanged views with representatives of the private sector and the donor community.”

UN-AU Joint Task Force on Peace and Security Holds Sixteenth Consultative Meeting in Addis-Ababa

The meeting explored prospects for cooperation in support of the upcoming electoral processes on the continent and discussed the situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Central African Republic (CAR), Burundi, Mali and the Sahel region including the security situation in Burkina Faso and Niger. They also exchanged views on the situations in Libya, South Sudan and the Lake Chad Basin region.

The African Union (AU) Commission and the United Nations (UN) Secretariat were represented respectively by Commissioners Smaïl Chergui (Peace and Security), Minata Samaté-Cessouma (Political Affairs); and the Under-Secretaries-General Rosemary DiCarlo (Political and Peacebuilding Affairs), Jean-Pierre Lacroix (Peace Operations) and Hanna Tetteh (Special Representative of the Secretary General to the African Union).

They were accompanied by other senior officials from the two Organizations including Under-Secretary General Bience Gawanas, Special Adviser on Africa to the United Nations Secretary-General and Ambassador Fatima Kyari Mohammed, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations.

The meeting reviewed the status of the partnership between the UN and the AU. The Joint Task Force took note of the considerable progress achieved in the UN-AU partnership including the holding of the Second African Union-United Nations Annual Conference in Addis Ababa on 9 July 2018, the 12th UN-AU Consultative Meeting on the Prevention, Management and Resolution of Conflict (Desk-to-Desk) to be held in Addis Ababa on 11-12 March 2019, as well as the upcoming Third UN-AU Annual Conference.

In the review of the status of implementation of the UN-AU Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security, the Joint Task Force welcomed the cooperation between the two organizations in Madagascar and CAR as models of cooperation which offer useful lessons to inform future joint endeavours in the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts.

The Joint Task Force acknowledged the increased mutual support to peace operations in Africa. In furtherance of this mutual cooperation, they explored the “Action for Peacekeeping” initiative to enable missions to be more effective, better equipped, safer and more robust. The Joint Task Force also underlined the need to jointly promote the full participation of Women in electoral and peace processes as well as peace operations, including at the leadership level.

The Joint Task Force welcomed the signing of the peace and reconciliation agreement in the Central African Republic on the 6 February 2019 by the Government of the Central African Republic and the 14 armed groups and congratulates all stakeholders for the successful conclusion of the talks that took place in Khartoum, Sudan. The Joint Task Force commended the leadership role of the African Union in the talks, which were carried out with the support and collaboration of the United Nations, within the context of the African Initiative for peace and reconciliation in the Central African Republic. The Joint Task Force underlined the need for continued engagement by all parties and called on neighbouring countries and all relevant international and regional partners for support in the implementation of the agreement reached for the stability of the Central African Republic and the region.

On the situation in the Great Lakes, they welcomed the peaceful elections and transition of power in the Democratic Republic of Congo whilst appreciating the need to redouble efforts to resolve the persistent security challenges in the eastern parts of the country. They welcomed the readiness of the Government of the DRC to work in collaboration with the UN to address the challenges facing the DRC. On the situation in Burundi, the Joint Task Force took note of the recent Summit of the East African Community (EAC) held in Arusha, Tanzania on 1February 2019, and reiterated its support to the EAC-led mediation.

On the situation in Mali, the Joint Task Force was encouraged by recent progress in the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement, including the launching of an accelerated DDR process. The Joint Task Force called upon all stakeholders to sustain their commitment and accelerate the implementation of the measures under the Agreement. The Joint Task Force equally expressed concern about the deteriorating security situation in the centre of Mali and urged the Government to augment its efforts in addressing the increasingly complex situation, with the support of partners. The Joint Task Force noted the need for all international partners to continue to support MINUSMA. The issue of the establishment of a joint group to work on residual issues including inter communal violence was raised and can be a topic for further discussions.

On the Sahel, the meeting agreed to seek to enhance collaboration between AU High Representative for the Sahel, Mr. Pierre Buyoya, and Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas to explore ways of jointly supporting initiatives to prevent and resolve conflict and sustain peace in the Sahel. Regarding the G5 Joint Force, the meeting welcomed the resumption of its operations and called on international partners to provide it with necessary resources to implement its mandate. The meeting further appealed to the international community to honour the pledges made at the donors conference held in Nouakchott, Mauritania in December 2018 to address development needs.

The Joint Task Force expressed its continued engagement in support of the implementation of the peace agreement in South Sudan. The senior officials discussed the need for increased political and financial support to the peace process and underlined the importance of creating conducive conditions for the return of opposition groups before the commencement of the interim period of April 2019. They called for support of the international community to the R-JMEC and CTSAMVM to safeguard compliance with the R-ARCSS, especially the ceasefire. The senior officials welcomed the role played by IGAD in the peace process and took note of the holding of an upcoming IGAD Summit.

The senior officials also discussed the situation in the Lake Chad Basin region and expressed concern at the persistent attacks by Boko Haram, which continue to exert a heavy impact on civilians. They welcomed the endorsement by the AU Peace and Security Council of the Regional Strategy for the Stabilization, Recovery and Resilience of the Boko Haram-affected areas of the Lake Chad Basin. The AU and the UN reaffirmed their commitment to support the efforts of the Lake Chad Basin Commission in the implementation of the strategy and called on donors to honour the pledges made during the High-Level Conference on the Lake Chad Basin region in Berlin in September 2018.

The next statutory meeting of the Joint Task Force will take place in New York in September 2019, on the margins of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

500 People Participate in IOM’s Fourth Cross-Border Crisis Simulation Exercise in Niger

More than 500 members from communities, local authorities, civil society and security forces participated in IOM’s fourth crisis simulation exercise this week (17/10) in Tillabéri, Niger.


An exercise along the Niger river challenges the response of government and local communities to the sudden mass movement of people.

The exercise took place in close partnership with the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Humanitarian Action and Natural Disaster Management, and the Ministry of Health in Niger.

The exercise was organized under the project Engaging Communities in Border Management in Niger – Phase II, funded by the US Department of State. This was the fourth simulation exercise organized by IOM in Niger, having previously held similar exercises in 2017 and 2018 – two in Zinder region and one in Agadez region.

Tillabéri, site of this latest exercise, lies in a region covering southwest Niger which is regularly affected by population displacement flows. After the internal armed conflict in neighbouring Mali in 2012, over 50,000 Malians sought refuge in Niger. More recently, intercommunity clashes and the presence of terrorist armed groups in Niger triggered the internal displacement of more than 32,000 Nigeriens.

As with previous exercises, the simulation this week used a scenario conducted under real-life circumstances to test local and regional authorities’ ability to respond to a mass migration movement into Niger, precipitated by a crisis at the border.

This was the first time IOM Niger organized a simulation exercise on the Niger river, which entailed new logistical and coordination challenges. The new setting allowed for new actors to be involved in the exercise, such as the Gendarmerie’s River Brigade and the Environmental Services.

In addition to building the capacities of the authorities in responding to cross-border crises, the simulation exercise also enhanced community involvement in crisis management, as communities from the surrounding area played the roles of both displaced populations and of welcoming community.

“Such exercises provide a unique opportunity for local authorities and communities to be trained in crisis management, in real conditions, through a strong degree of realism,” said Arthur Langouet, IBM Project Manager with IOM Niger. “This is also a means to assess the needs in terms of equipment, training, and technical support for the development of crisis management tools,” Langouet added.

The exercise incorporates a strong community engagement component to foster communication between local communities and authorities. As communities are the first to directly encounter the signs of a crisis, communication with local authorities is crucial in both ensuring a quick and effective crisis response as well as preventing future crises.

The Governor of Tillabéri, Ibrahim Tidjani Katiella, expressed his gratitude towards IOM and stated that the exercise was extremely useful in building the capacity of the Regional Crisis Cell: “I look forward to our future cooperation with IOM for the development of a regional contingency plan.”

At the end of the exercise, IOM distributed 250 hygiene kits to participating community members, and handed over six tents to the Governorate of Tillabéri.

Throughout the next phase of the project, IOM will continue to support capacity building and community engagement activities in Tillabéri, building on the lessons learned through this simulation exercise. Additionally, a second simulation exercise will take place in the region of Tillabéri in 2019.

UN Migration Agency “Greatly Concerned” by Reports of Migrants Stranded at Algeria-Niger Border

William Lacy Swing, Director General of  IOM, the UN Migration Agency, said today that he was ”greatly concerned”  for the fate of migrants who find themselves stranded and left to fend for themselves in the no man’s land desert between Algeria and Niger.


In the open truck, migrants vainly tried to shade their bodies from the sun. Photo by Liberian migrant Ju Dennis. Photo: AP Photo/Ju Dennis

“Irregular migrants, including many pregnant women and minors, should not be left without food or water or expected to walk  for miles in blistering 30-degree temperatures to seek safety in the desert,” he said.

Media reports describe how thousands of migrants have made their way across a barren 15-kilometer (9-mile) stretch of desert between Algeria and Niger to the settlement of  Assamaka. IOM routinely sends search and rescue missions to pick up severely dehydrated and disoriented migrants who have been looking for shelter for days at a time. There are also credible reports of migrants dying in the desert after losing their way or succumbing to heat and exhaustion.

IOM officials in the remote desert outpost of Assamaka have described migrants emerging from the desert in the thousands. When every new group arrives, IOM organizes search and rescue missions to assist the vulnerable. Once in the border town IOM sends busses to those who wish to return home voluntarily. But the challenge is growing, as the number of migrants emerging after an arduous trek across the desert grows.

“Managed migration is the only answer,” said Ambassador Swing. “It comes down to ensuring that migrants everywhere are treated with dignity and in a way that is safe and orderly. These are the basics we ask of every country in the world.”

The number of migrants walking through the desert from Algeria to Niger is on the rise. In May 2017, 135 migrants were left at the border crossing and the number of crossings reached 2,888 in April 2018. IOM calculates that some 11,276 migrants, among them women and children have made it over the border.

Lake Chad Basin: Areas reclaimed from Boko Haram must be stabilized, Security Council told

It is critical to shore up areas of Africa’s Lake Chad Basin freed from the grip of Boko Haram, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General told the Security Council on Thursday, as she also called for efforts to rebuild the lives of women and girls that have suffered at the hands of the terrorist group.

Lake ChadAmina Mohammed said recent joint efforts by the four of the region’s affected countries – Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria – have resulted in “considerable progress” in the fight against the extremists, including the liberation of hostages as well as territorial gains.

However, she reported that the group has stepped up the use of women and girls as suicide bombings, while children were deployed in 135 such attacks in 2017: a five-fold increase over the previous year.

“It is now key to stabilize the areas that have been reclaimed, and that we seize the opportunity to really promote sustainable development,” said the UN deputy chief, speaking via videoconference from Liberia where she is participating in celebrations to mark the end of the UN peacekeeping mission in that country, known as UNMIL.

Ms. Mohamed was joined by Mohammed Bila, a representative of the Lake Chad Basin Commission based in the Chadian capital, N’Djamena, and Senior Conflict Advisor at Adelphi, Chitra Nagarajan, in painting a picture of the factors behind people’s suffering in the Lake Chad Basin and driving some to terrorism one year after the Council adopted its first resolution on the activities of Boko Haram in the strife-torn region.

Boko Haram, an Islamist militant organization based in north-east Nigeria, has carried out raids, suicide bombings and kidnappings across the Lake Chad region over the past decade.

Their operations have led to displacement, insecurity, destruction of infrastructure and what Ms. Mohammed described as a “complex and dire” humanitarian situation, with nearly 11 million people requiring assistance.

The group gained international notoriety in 2014 after abducting more than 270 girls from a Government school in Chibok, Nigeria.

It is believed to be behind the kidnapping last month of 110 schoolgirls from the Nigerian town of Dapchi, most of whom were safely returned this week.

Overall, Boko Haram has abducted more than 4,000 women and girls, according to the UN deputy chief, who added that those who return to their communities are often stigmatized.

CANAN demands Nigerian government takes immediate step to disarm herdsmen in Nigeria

Christian Association of Nigerian Americans, CANAN, has raised concern over the recent killing of people by herdsmen in several states in Nigeria, particularly in Benue and Nasarawa.


“We observe that there have been mix messages from the presidency pointing to the fact that the Herdsmen marauders are foreigners from the neighboring countries namely Niger republic and Chard. Nigerian citizens are being told that our nation is being overrun in broad daylight by foreign militia with our Military looking helpless in utter bewilderment. Our trusted Commander in Chief who was elected with the credential of a gallant fighter seems not to be getting the right advice from the service chiefs,” said Dr. James Fadel, CANAN President & Chairman, CANAN Board of Trustees.

Dr. Fadel said in a press statement that it is appalling that the Federal government has not followed through with the disarming policy by giving a section of the citizenry monopoly of violence.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the Special Adviser to Governor Umaru Al-Makura on Security Matters, Mohammed Adeka, disclosed that over 18,000 people were displaced in Nasarawa State due to spill-over of the killings in Benue.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the briefing had in attendance all the security chiefs in the state; the Tiv Development Association, TIDA; and Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN; among others.

He calls the attention of the government of Nigeria to the Firearms Act, Chapter 146, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1990, which prohibits carrying of firearms and prescribed due punishment for offenders.

“CANAN recalls that most of us Nigerians grew up in highly diverse communities in Nigeria where people of different ethnicity cohabited peacefully. The Fulani that we knew are law-abiding amiable people who because of their nature have always been welcomed to graze open lands,” Dr. Fadel said, adding that never in the history of Nigeria have been a section of the citizenry carrying highly sophisticated weapons like AK47 just because they are rearing cattle.

“We recall that on April 2016, the Nigeria Police Force outlawed carrying of weapons by the herdsmen as reported in Thursday Newspapers published on April 20, 2016.

“We urge that the Federal government take immediate step to disarm the herdsmen and prosecute the culprit for illegal possession of firearms.

“As a matter of urgency and duty to our compatriots most of whom are vulnerable children and women, we ask that all the internally displaced persons (IDPs) from these dastard attacks should be treated with decency in accordance with the relevant United Nations Standard to which Nigeria subscribes. And at any rate as our fellow citizens, we hold them this sacred duty. They should be enabled to return to their homes with full protection of our government. It is equally important that they are fully compensated for all their needless losses.”


IMF commends Niger as macroeconomic performance remains satisfactory

The Nigerien authorities and the IMF team have reached staff-level agreement for the completion of the first review of the Extended Credit Facility supported program, subject to approval by IMF Management and the Executive Board, Niger could be entitled to a disbursement of SDR 14.1 million (about CFAF 10.97 billion). Executive Board consideration is currently scheduled for January 2018.

  • Staff-level agreement has been reached on economic and financial policies that could support completion of the first program review by the IMF’s Executive Board.
  • Economic activity is expanding, with growth of 5.2 percent expected for both 2017 and 2018.
  • Performance in implementing the government’s program supported by the IMF under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) has been satisfactory.

Niger’s program was approved by the IMF Board on January 23, 2017.

Niger.gifDuring the International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff team visit led by Christoph A. Klingen in Niamey from October 23 to November 6, 2017 to conduct discussions on the first review of the program supported by the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement, Klingen said Niger’s overall macroeconomic performance remains satisfactory, despite security challenges and unfavorable commodity prices, especially for uranium.

He said Niger is benefitting from a good crop year and a rebound in oil production and that real GDP grew by 5 percent in 2016 and inflation remained contained at 0.2 percent.

“The current account deficit improved substantially to below 16 percent of GDP, as several import-intensive investment projects wound down. Real GDP is expected to grow at 5.2 percent in 2017, driven mainly by the hydrocarbon and service sectors, and supported by strengthening credit growth. Inflation should remain well contained and the current account deficit will likely improve further in 2017. Growth is expected to remain at 5.2 percent in 2018, but over the medium run, government reform efforts should be rewarded by a pickup in growth. Inflation should remain below WAEMU’s convergence criterion of 3 percent and the international reserve position is projected to strengthen starting from 2017.

“All quantitative performance criteria for the June 2017 test date have been met. Fiscal deficit targets and the programmed reduction of domestic payment arrears have been achieved. But revenues continue to fall short of expectations, reflecting depressed trade with Nigeria, and delays in the implementation of some high-yield reforms, notably at customs. Considering the government’s strong commitment to prudent fiscal policy, the basic and overall fiscal deficits should decline this year to 4 percent of GDP and 5.4 percent of GDP, respectively. Progress was made in implementing structural reforms, although some structural benchmarks were not met in full on time due to capacity constraints.

“For 2018, the government has put forward a strong fiscal program underpinned by concrete measures to increase revenues, steps to contain domestically-financed spending, and plans to raise the quality of public spending. Programmed targets for the overall and basic fiscal balance keep public finances on a path to reach the WAEMU convergence criterion for the overall fiscal deficit of 3 percent of GDP by 2020, while expeditiously eliminating remaining domestic arrears. The 2018 draft budget also aims for fuller absorption of rising donor funds, providing a near-term boost to the economy and substantially improving long-term prospects. A fiscal reform agenda for 2018 has been agreed, centered on revenue mobilization and improvements in public financial management.

“The authorities and the team also discussed policies to develop a strong private sector and address fast population growth. They agreed that progress on both fronts is essential for a sustained improvement of living standards and poverty reduction. The agenda includes policies to grow the financial sector, improve the business environment further, and steps to diversify the economy inside and outside the mining sector.

“The team met with the President of the Republic, H.E. Mr. Issoufou Mahamadou, and held sessions with the Minister of Finance, Mr. Massoudou Hassoumi, Ministers in charge of Planning and Mines, the Minister Delegate for the Budget, the National Director of the BCEAO, as well as other senior government officials. Staff also met with representatives of civil society, the private sector, and the donor community.

“The team would like to thank the authorities for their hospitality and for the constructive discussions.”