News / Africa

World Bank Restores Aid to Niger Following February Coup

People lining up for food distribution in Zinder, Niger
People lining up for food distribution in Zinder, Niger

The World Bank is restoring financial assistance to Niger that was suspended following a February coup. The military government says the aid will help fight hunger in a country where 60 percent of people are facing severe food shortages.

In a letter to military ruler Major Salou Djibo, World Bank regional director Madani Tall said the resumption of $40 million in budgetary assistance comes with it the expectation that the social, economic, and political situation in Niger will be explained to give the national and international community a better understanding of the way forward.

Thusands of people march in Niamey to back Niger's President Mamadou Tandja, who has obtained an extension of his mandate in defiance of his foes and by flouting the international community, 15 Dec. 2009
Thusands of people march in Niamey to back Niger's President Mamadou Tandja, who has obtained an extension of his mandate in defiance of his foes and by flouting the international community, 15 Dec. 2009

Soldiers took power in a February coup against President Mamadou Tandja, who had grown increasing unpopular since using a constitutional referendum to extend his time in office and sacking both lawmakers and judges who opposed him.

The military government has since vowed to restore Niger to civilian rule within one year.

Government spokesman Mahaman Laouali Dandah welcomed the resumption of World Bank assistance.

Dandah told VOA that the World Bank has always been there for Niger to help in the fight against poverty and the creation of sustainable socio-economic development.

Dandah says it is a decision that everyone in Niger appreciates, and it underlines the efforts of the ruling military council and the government to resolve political differences and restore Niger's place in the international community.

He says the resumption of World Bank assistance will help more than seven million people who need food assistance because of last year's poor rains.

Dandah says it is clear that food security is not forgotten as the World Bank provides assistance across many sectors including the exportation of food and livestock products, the promotion of private sector irrigation and the financial sector. This supports the fight against food insecurity.

This crisis affects more people than the last food shortages in 2005, but UN aid chief John Holmes says the country is better prepared, in part because of better cooperation.

Prime Minister Mahamadou Danda told foreign donors that the government is supplying cereal to the general public at lower costs while supporting free, targeted feeding programs for vulnerable groups.

Prime Minister Danda says these ongoing programs will help Niger fight food insecurity and establish mutual trust among the people to avoid the misunderstandings that were registered during the food crisis of 2005.

Then-president Tandja was hosting a meeting of the Francophone in December of 2005 and played down the severity of the hunger that year.

Prime Minister Danda says Niger needs so badly today the assistance of everyone to face this crisis. He says he hopes he can rely on international donors to allow the government, within a transparent framework, to get more assistance for people and livestock.

World Food Program director for Niger Richard Verbeeck says the change of government has vastly improved the international community's ability to respond to the crisis.  

"In the beginning when we prepared ourselves in response to the crisis, there were some words or some facts that were unsaid," Verbeeck said. "With the new government, I must say that I see a complete different attitude. More open. More eager to advice. More eager to work together. And if makes a difference, that's for sure."

Niger's military government is continuing to push for the resumption of more international assistance. It is sending a delegation to Brussels next week to ask the European Union to renew $450 million of development assistance that was frozen during President Tandja's rule.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs