I was invited as Public Affairs visiting professor along with other speakers, journalists and experts from Niger and Nigeria to appear on the Egyptian television show, Alqahera News channel, (https://alqaheranews.net/) to analyze the evolving situation in Niger following the military coup that has plunged the country into complete uncertainty.
The situation there is very concerning, and at this stage, it is impossible to know how this situation will develop. Restoring the rule of law and constitutional order is, of course, an absolute priority for this country and its citizens, who rank 180th in the Human Development Index.
The country, which lacks stable agriculture, relies on imports for 40% of its needs and 75% of its electricity is provided by neighboring Nigeria. Currently, all of these exchanges have come to a standstill.
The stability of the region is at stake, with the menacing and active presence of jihadist groups and Wagner militias, assisted by Russia, ready to “pick up the pieces” and further exacerbate the institutional situations and populations. It is essential to do everything possible and hope for the situation to return to institutional calm, enabling sustainable economic and social development.
What is certain, however, is that envisioning a stable future for Niger can only be achieved if appropriate demographic policies are put in place, if the education system regains a central role, and if women and girls have access to education.
Additionally, a policy must be implemented to ensure that women’s rights are respected on an equal footing with men’s.
That being said, it is in the interest of all peoples for the situation in the Sahel to stabilize and for democratic regimes to regain their place, putting an end once and for all to the dangerous possibility that militias may overthrow democratically elected governments.