Three months after the military coup in Niger, is the international community ready to reintegrate the country?
The World Bank has restarted aid to Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries, after suspending donations in the wake of a military coup in February, the bank said on Wednesday.
It said it would give $40 million in budgetary assistance to Niger, which despite being an exporter of uranium and target for billions of dollars of investment in oil, faces severe food shortages, according to United Nations humanitarian agencies.
France on Tuesday invited the leader of a February 18 military coup in Niger to its Africa summit later this month, welcoming his promise to hand over power of the uranium-producing state within a year.
Separately, a Nigerien delegation will travel to Brussels next week to seek to persuade European Union officials to lift a Tandja-era suspension of some $450 million of development aid.
With plans in motion to transition back to civilian rule, Niger’s military rulers seem to be back in the international community’s good graces. That’s no surprise, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing – would it be better to have Tandja still in office? Still, this kind of recognition sends a signal to other would-be coup leaders in Africa and elsewhere: if you conduct the coup and manage the transition in a certain way, the penalties from the outside will be light. That could have unfortunate consequences.