West African Papers

The West African Papers series explores African socio-economic, political and security dynamics from a regional and multidisciplinary perspective. It seeks to stimulate discussion and gather information to better anticipate the changes that will shape future policies. The series is designed for a wide audience of specialists, development practitioners, decision makers and the informed public. Papers are available in English and/or French, and summaries are available in both languages. Initiated by the Sahel and West Africa Club (SWAC) to highlight and promote West African issues, the work presented is prepared by its Secretariat, Members and partners, other OECD departments, related international organisations, associated experts and researchers.

English Also available in: French

Defying the odds? Nigerien responses to foreign and domestic security challenges

The objective of this paper is to identify the manifold security threats confronting the Republic of Niger. It examines if and how various domestic and external actors may exploit Niger’s adverse structural conditions to their benefit and derives possible future scenarios and recommendations for policymakers. Foreign-based jihadist groups such as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Boko Haram will continue to threaten Niger’s domestic stability. However, these groups are unlikely to make further inroads into Nigerien territory. The Tuareg community and conservative Sunni groups are unlikely to rise up against the state as both are well integrated into the political and societal landscape. The most viable threat to Niger’s stability is the continued inability of the current administration to translate macroeconomic gains and donor support into pro-poor growth and social inclusion. The increasing use of authoritarian measures against citizens and journalists has the potential to escalate further and to undermine the legitimacy of the government in the long-term.


Keywords: Niger, jihadist groups, security, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, West Africa
JEL: D74: Microeconomics / Analysis of Collective Decision-Making / Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions; F5: International Economics / International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy; H56: Public Economics / National Government Expenditures and Related Policies / National Security and War; N47: Economic History / Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation / Economic History: Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation: Africa; Oceania; N57: Economic History / Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment, and Extractive Industries / Economic History: Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment, and Extractive Industries: Africa; Oceania
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