“European Union” (EU) has announced the full resumption of development cooperation with its partner Niger, following the country’s “return to democracy”. Niger has a long history of political coups and ranks 167 out of 169 countries in the “Human Development Index”, placing Niger below the Sub-Saharan regional average.
In 2009, the “European Union” suspended its aid programmes to Niger after then president Mamadou Tandja tried to hold power beyond his mandate. The subsequent military coup that removed him from power only extended the EU sanctions. Nevertheless, following elections in March, then opposition leader Mahamadou Issoufou, acceded to presidency.
The “High Representative for EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy”, Catherine Ashton, declared that: “I am very satisfied with the return to democracy in Niger, through a very successful process of transition” (Europa, 2011).
Also, the “EU Commissioner for Development”, Andris Piebalgs, announced a series of new projects pending for approval focusing on development and security, amounting to € 87 million. Since the democratic transition from one political leader to another does not necessarily imply a transition to a democratic society, the effectiveness of such an approach can only be assessed when Mr Mahamadou Issoufou will himself have to step down at the end of his mandate.
1. EU Business: