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
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid