President Mahamadou Issoufou has called on France to renew its commitment in fighting terrorist organization Boko Harm, according to Times Live. The Nigerien leader requested increased intelligence and other forms of military assistance. France intends to send more troops to the region to help African states counter terrorism.
France has increased its terrorism efforts in wake of numerous terrorist attacks on French soil, and Africa is the prime frontier in the war against terrorism. West African nations struggle against the growing tide of terrorism in the region, especially as ISIS makes incursions in North Africa.
Niger is on the front lines in the fight against Boko Haram, and Issoufou’s political legacy hinges on defeating the militant group. The president faced a contentious runoff in March, but won a majority of votes in the second round.
However, he manages a country where many citizens struggle on a daily basis. Niger’s economy is underdeveloped, and leaders have failed to instill the necessary policies that would secure prosperity. Moreover, Issoufou’s authoritarian rule is another impediment to further integration in the world community.
Niger has a strong natural resource base, but foreign investment has yet to gain traction due to limited infrastructure and a hostile business climate. In addition, terrorist groups such as Boko Haram routinely wreak havoc throughout Niger, scaring away potential investors that otherwise would have been interested in commodity extraction.
Agriculture is one of the nation’s strongest sectors, but it is not enough to propel the economy forward and boost living standards. Niger contends with multiple obstacles, as it is a landlocked country that often lacks steady sources of water, and the country has a growing population that the government is unable to support. Further, Niger’s population lacks the necessary skills and education to compete among other economies, including emerging markets.
The terrorism angle is one of the few factors that secure the government’s legitimacy as authorities maintain security. Issoufou enjoys high approval ratings, which is due in part to the government’s fight against an outside threat.
The president attempts to maintain a strong front, but his administration is more dependent on the outside world than ever before. For instance, the government asked the European Union for financial assistance to tackle a growing migration problem, and authorities must rely on financial assistance from France and other world powers to maintain their national security apparatus.
The world community will also increase food assistance in response to the growing number of people displaced by violence, notes Reuters. Further, Niger will also need long-term food assistance going forward due to harsh drought conditions and failed crop output.