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Niger's Foreign Policy With France under General Seyni Kountché (1974-1987)

par Mahamidou DOUKA ALASSANE
Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria - Bachelor of Science in International Studies 2005

Disponible en mode multipage



    REG NO: U00IS2002


    JUNE, 2004


    This project has been read and approved as having satisfied the requirement governing the Award of the International studies Department, (B.Sc. Degree) Faculty of Social Sciences, A.B.U, Zaria.

    ___________________________ _____________

    Coordinator Date

    Dr. Ntim Gyakari Esew

    ___________________________ _____________

    Supervisor Date

    Mallam Umar Kaoje

    ___________________________ _____________

    Head of Department Date

    Dr. A. S. Mohammed


    To God Almighty, I dedicate this project work for his guidance and protection throughout these turbulent years of my academic pursuit, and for seeing me through successfully.

    To my parents, Late Douka Alassane (May his soul rest in peace) and my Mother, Hadjia Ramatou Oumarou a.k.a. Godi.

    To my elder brother, Douka Sediko

    To my younger and elder sisters, Hadidjatou Douka, Aichatou Douka, Aminatou Douka and late Ramatou Douka. To my nieces and nephews, Saratou Douka, Ramatou Douka a.k.a. wani, Fanata Douka, Fatchima Illa Aboubacar, Ibrahim Haya Nomao.

    To my aunts, Late Didjé, Attou, Halima, Fatchima, Hadjara, Habiba, binta, Danmama.

    To my uncles, Late Namata Alassane, Late Guebé Alassane, Late Elhadj Bizo, Abarchi, Djibo, Oudou, Issa, Assoumane, Assoumane Elhadj Alio.

    More so, to the memory of all members of my family missed with endless love. Although, you are no more with us physically but, your spirit and good works still lingers in our lives, until we meet to part no more.


    It is universally acceptable fact that «no man is an island». This simply implies that for the fulfillment of this noble task of my studies, others have assisted me in various angles. It covers both experience gained from people, moral support and financial contribution. Worthy of mention is my elder brother, Douka Sédiko for the encouragement and support he gave me throughout my stay in school, as well as preparing me for the challenges ahead.

    To my mother, Mrs Hadjia Ramatou Douka a.k.a. Godi, who due to her love for me, took the pains amidst difficulties to bring me up in the most qualitative manners as well as giving me that sense of belonging, `mum, you mean more than just a mother to me», my 6thanks go to my sister-in-law, Hadiza Djindjiri, to my brother, Zakou Yahaya, to my brothers-in-law, Haya Nomaou. Illa Aboubacar, Adamou Salifou.

    My thanks go to my brothers and sisters for our harmonious stay together through these years and their steadfastness in prayers, which has been my only shield in times of difficulties all through my stay in school.

    Hence, my thanks go to Mallam Aminu Ladan (Matawalin Zazzau), to Aliyu Kari (FCE, Zaria), Dr. Alisah (HOD of French Department, ABU Zaria), Dr. Adebisi (Coordinator of PCEF). To Prof. Ayo Dunmoye for his role as my academic adviser. To Dr Hudu Ayuba, Dr Yakubu A. Yusuf, Dr. Ntim Essew, Prof. Paul Izah, Aliyu Yahaya, Lawal Rahanatu, Umar Tanko A, Dr. Chief Tagowa, Mal. M.L. Tafida, Mallam Umar Kaoje, Kaode Omojuwa, Dr. P.A. Odofin, Mutftang as my lecturers for their fatherly guidance and advice.

    My special appreciation goes to my head of Department, Dr. Abubakar Saddique Mohammed.

    My regards go to Mallam Umar Kaoje, for he has been my supervisor for engaging me in a task that brought the best of me and for creating time to go through my work and for being my source of inspiration.

    My appreciation goes to my roommates, Mamane Sani Brah Bololo a.k.a. Seirra, Yahaya Rabiou Abdoulkader, Ibrahim Boukari Magagi, Sinny Sanda Mahamane Oumarou, Omar Chétima for being my pals, and our understanding while together.

    I am also extending my profound gratitude to my bosom friends in Niger Republic, Lawali Moussa Aichatou, Mehaou Halidou Bakary, Laouali Sani Adamou, Moussa Salifou, Maliki Amadou Ibrahim, Mahamadou Idrissa, Djibo Karimoun Hadiza, Moutari Bachir, Gado Sabo Laminou, Karimoun Balkissa. My relationship with these people has influenced my life positively and spurred in me desire to aspire greater heights in life.

    More so, I wish to thank all my classmates from Niger republic, Abdou Dan Gallou Adamou, Issa Garba Safia, Abdou Moustapha, Ousmane Mamane Bassirou, Galadi Souleymane, Abdou Garba Issaka.

    To my friends in the course of my study from Nigeria, Hassan M. Mohammed, Rukaiyya Saidu Abubakar, Amina Kaoje, Omale T. Omale, Ahmed Ojoma, Bakano Othman Rashida, Ahmadu Mohammed, Olusegun Obasanjo Bisoye, El-Kas, Saka Ibrahim, Al-Hassan Musa,Madaki Alheri, Atodo Mercy, Fiaya Ajuma G. Jacob T. Sarah, Umar M. Mohammed, Abba Najeeb, Adah Obah Daniel, Ahmed Garba, Kpanja Mercy, Bawa Joel, Sanda Umaru, Gayis Tsan, Sanni O. Ouindasoia, Akintunde Adebukola Z., Osunsanya Busola A, Boma O, Benjamin, Olu Majek, Bimbo Olalemi, Sarah T. Tapchi, Shikson Lugards Lonftonf, Olufemi Odedele, Hassana Danda, Vandi Comfort, Bashir M. Zailani, Hamman J. I say thank you all and pray for God to continue to keep us all together.

    My appreciation goes to Paraiso Zara, Saidou Abdoul Karim, Dan Mallam Aichatou, Paraiso Safia, Moussa Chétima Razina, Kabiru Nasir, Abdoul Nasser Maigachi, Bachir Ahmadou, Elhadji Sani Saboutou, Timi Kaoura Malari, Beti Mariama, Hanni Ouma, Laouali Laouali a.k.a. Mam, Laouali Abdoul Aziz, Ibrahim Mamane Sani a.k.a. Platini, Bawa Aicha, Abdoulaye Barkire a.k.a. Doul, Gambodje Idjiri, Abdoul Razak Tanimoune a.k.a. Yellow Guy. I deserve no pardon if I do not extend my humble appreciation to the ECOWAS Secretariat (Abuja), to Niger's Embassy (Abuja), to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and African Integration of Niger Republic especially the DAJC (Direction des Affaires Juridiques et du Contentieux, Niamey), to the French Embassy and consulate in Niamey, to the AFVP (Association Française des Volontaires du Progrès, Niamey), to IFRA (Ibadan).

    My special appreciation to Ary Tanimoune (Director of DAJC, Niamey) and for those whose names I could not mention, it should not be taken as an oversight. I love you all and God bless.


    A.B.U. Ahmadu Bello University

    a.k.a. Also known as

    AFN Association des Femmes du Niger

    AFVP Association Française des Volontaires du Progrès

    AID Agence Internationale pour le Développement

    ANDP Alliance Nigérienne pour la Démocratie et le Progrès

    AU African Union

    BCEAO Banque Centrale des Etats de l'Afrique de l'Ouest

    CDS Convention Démocratique et Sociale

    CEA Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique

    CEDEAO Communauté Economique des Etats de l'Afrique de l'Ouest

    CENI Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante

    CEN-SAD The Community of Sahel Saharan States

    CFA Communauté Financière en Afrique (UEMOA)

    CFMU Compagnie Française des Minerais d'Uranium

    CMS Conseil Militaire Suprême

    CND Conseil National de Développement

    COGEMA Compagnie Générale des Matières Nucléaires

    COMINAK Compagnie Minière d'Akouta

    DAJC Direction des Affaires Juridiques et du Contentieux

    ECOWAS Economic Community of West African States

    f.o.b. Free on board

    FAN Forces Armées Nigériennes

    FIDES Economic and social Investment Fund

    GDP Gross Domestic Product

    GNP Gross National Product

    GIP Groupe d'Intervention de la Police

    HIPC Heavily Indebted Poor Countries

    IFRA Institut Français des Recherches en Afrique

    IMF International Monetary Funds

    ISPs Internet Service Providers

    LDCs Less Developed Countries

    MNSD Mouvement National pour la Société de Développement

    NEPAD New Partnership for Africa's Development

    OAU Organisation of African Union

    OCAM Organisation Commune Africaine et Mauricienne

    OIC Organization of Islamic Conference

    OPEC Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries

    PNDS Parti Nigérien pour la Démocratie et le Socialisme

    PPN-RDA Parti Progressiste Nigérien - Rassemblement Démocratique Africain

    RDP Rassemblement Démocratique pour le Peuple

    SDRs Special Drawing Rights

    SOMAÏR Société des Mines de l'Aïr

    U.S.A.I.D. United States Agency for International Development

    UEMOA Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine














    1.7 HYPOTHESIS 21



    1.10 REFERENCES 23







    3.1 COUNTRY: NIGER 32



    3.4 RELIGIONS 36

    3.5 BORDERLANDS 36



    3.8 GEOGRAPHY 39



    3.10 NIGER MILITARY 41








    4.0 NIGER'S FOREIGN POLICY TO FRANCE (1974 - 1987) 48




    4.3.1 LAND-LOCKED STATE 53





    4.5.1 FRENCH AID TO NIGER 69

    4.5.2 NIGER'S URANIUM 70







    5.1 SUMMARY 84

    5.2 CONCLUSION 85










    Niger gained its independence on August 3rd, 1960 from France. President Hamani Diori ruled the country. The foreign policy of Niger was highly conducted and personalized by President Hamani Diori, and because foreign policy debates in the national Assembly were indeed very rare, one is, therefore, obliged to look into the statements or communiqués issued after the meetings of these multinational organizations in which the president himself participated. Relations with France started since before Niger's independence and continued after independence.

    On April 15th, 1974, a shadowy group of twelve (12) military officers led by Lt. Col. (later General) Seyni Kountché, who had become chief of staff of the FAN (Nigerien Armed forces) a year before, seized power from civilians. He became the new head of state under «Conseil Militaire Suprême». The coup d' État occurred when a combination of devastating drought and accusations of rampant corruption ruined the country under Hamani Diori's regime. After overthrowing Hamani Diori in an almost bloodless coup (the only casualty reported was Madam Diori, Aissa), Lt. Col. Seyni Kountché went on the air on the April 15th, 1974 and announced his government's domestic and external policies. Referring to the foreign policy of Niger, he said,

    We will continue to belong to all African and International Organizations and will respect our undertakings to them on the condition that they take account of the interest of our people1.

    In fact, he mentioned no significant departure in the foreign policy principles of the previous regime. The new regime's immediate occupations were to tackle the drought situation, to modify the former agreement with France to suit Niger's interest and to obtain a better deal for uranium exploitation . . .

    Niger's connection with France has been its most important relationship by far since independence. For France, a new factor had entered into its interest with Niger: Nigerien uranium for French weapons and nuclear power plants. By 1974, Niger was considered to be one of France's closest allies in Africa, and France had decided to increase its level of economic assistance to Niger by nearly one -third2.

    One of the cardinal principles of Niger's foreign policy is her special relation with France. This aspect has assumed so much importance that it has overshadowed and influenced Niger's relations with other nations in Africa and the world. Relations with France continued to be friendly since much of the aid came from her. As mentioned earlier, because of the poor economic conditions of Niger, the country could not afford to offend the leaders of France; particularly when France has been continuously providing cash and technical aid to make up Niger's deficit budgets3.

    The «Conseil Militaire Suprême» coup of April 1974 changed very little in the basic relationship apart from style. After an initial period of unsettled relations, France supported the Kountché regime by renegotiating the price of uranium and by increasing Niger's share in the SOMAIR mine. In February 1977, it officially instituted a new more bilateral process of granting foreign assistance to Niger, leading Kountché to state that the new deal «eradicated all traces of paternalism» in Franco-Nigerien relations4. Despite Kountché's forays into pro-Arab and Pro-southern foreign policy in the late 1970s, relations with France remained good, dominated by continuing French interest in Nigerien uranium. When Nigerien concerns over Libyan threats to its uranium fields grew in 1981, new Franco-Nigerien military agreements ostensibly designed to protect French nationals in the desert mining communities, were promulgated.

    Franco-Nigerien relations were expected to improve still further with the election of French President, François Mitterrand in 1981, owing to the new socialist Party President's long-standing personal interest in African affairs, his personal relationship with a number of African leaders and the historic commitment of his party to «socialist solidarity». He and his new foreign aid minister, Jean Pierre Cot, promised to base France's relationship with its former colonies on a « more sincere and just policy» and pledged support without intervention and understanding for policies of Non-alignment, such as those espoused by the government of Niger5. In 1981, Francois Mitterrand promised a new deal for the third world, pledging to double French aid overall, to 0.7 percent of the French GNP by 1988, and committing France to undertake longer-term assistance programmes to be defined by national leaders, such as the Kountché government6. In May 1982, he visited Niger and tackled a long-standing issue in uranium politics, Franc's failure to help Niger obtain a cheap, usable source of domestic power for its own industrialization. Reaffirming a 1979 promise, he committed French financing to help build the Kandaji dam, which was to be Niger's first domestic source of hydroelectric power. The Kountché government warmly welcomed these changes.

    From its very inception, Niger has been dependent on France for military protection, codified by a set of agreements, «The Accords de Coopération» which provide for French military assistance against both external and internal threats7. Not even the Kountché regime, however which came to power committed to reducing foreign military presence renounced these agreements. France removed its troops, but its military advisers remained, and it promised more extensive military support if requested.

    Overall, Niger's relationship with France under General Seyni Kountché has depended on a considerable element of mutuality of interests. The key to understanding the evolution of this relationship, however, lies much more in shifting French interests than in changes in Nigerien priorities.


    Our concern on this work is centered on the relationship between Niger as a colony and France as colonial master during Seyni Kountché's regime. We are going to look at the following:

    Political relations

    Economic relations

    Diplomatic relations

    Military relations


    In a project of this nature, the fundamental questions are those of consistency and validity. These questions are important because without making the research meet the required standard, the effort could not be said to have made possible the growth of knowledge. It is against this background that content analysis will be used in this work. Secondary data resources are used from libraries; relevant literature in the form of textbooks, journals, magazines, newspapers and articles will be used. Internet (websites) and speeches will be also used. They will ask specific questions about political, economic, diplomatic and military interactions between the two (2) countries.

    However, due to the biased nature of these journals, effort will be made to bring out the salient truth in such issues.


    The significance of this study stems not only from the difference of factors between the two (2) states, but also from the non-divergence and diversity. Through our study cannot be meaningful without mentioning the importance of the difference of factors, yet our emphasis would be to study the achievements and the failures towards the aspects in their bilateral relations in diverse directions and policies. The period of the study commences from General Seyni Kountché's regime, which was from 1974 to 1987 in its relations with France.

    Moreover, it is a study of very friendly partners. It will also explain why future foreign policies need to be formulated.


    For the purpose of fostering proper understanding and critical analysis in relations to the foreign policy of Niger to France under General Seyni Kountché (1974-1987), it is deemed necessary to use the underdevelopment and Dependency Theory. This could be attributed to the fact that the theory explains better the nature of the Nigerien relations with France as it metropolis as well as other developing countries in the contemporary international system.

    This further explains the fact that an economy to the extent is dependent that it's position and relation to other economies in the global system, makes it incapable of auto centric development. All the post-colonial economies and all its relations in general were heavily dependent by the criteria of this definition8.

    The concept of «dependency» coined by Brazilian sociologist, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, (later President of Brazil) helps to link those who are beneficiaries of development with those who make the decision. Dependency simply states that crucial economic decisions are made not by countries that are being ?developed» but by foreigners whose interests are carefully safeguarded. Foreigners (westerners) use their economic powers to buy political power in the countries that they penetrate. This could mean political pressure by the imperialist metropolis or even military intervention. This collusion between alien economic and political power distorts both the economy and the policy of the dependent countries9. In terms of underdevelopment, the theoretical postulation b Walter Rodney has it that underdevelopment is not the absence of development but it makes sense only as a way of comparing levels of development. Underdevelopment is very much tied to the fact that human social development has been uneven and from a strictly economic viewpoint some human groups have advanced further producing more and becoming more wealthy10.


    The objectives and aims of this study are to find the following:

    The impact of Niger's foreign policy to France during General Seyni Kountché.

    The importance of the relationship between the two (2) countries.


    We have to look at:

    The historical ties of French colonialism and its impact on Niger as a colony influenced Niger's foreign policy.

    France's neo-colonial interests in Niger played an important role in shaping Niger's relationship with France under Genera Seyni Kountché's regime.

    If there is continuity and change in Niger's foreign policy during Kountché's era.


    The scope of this work covers the Niger's foreign policy to France (1974 - 1987). Special emphasis would be made to reflect on the activities of Seyni Kountché's regime with France. More so, the period of this research work is going to run between 1974 till 1987.


    The write-up will take this form:

    Chapter one as usual introduces the topic and shed light on the research problem, the research methodology, the significance and justification of the study, the theoretical framework, the aims and objectives, the hypothesis and the scope and limitations.

    Chapter two will contain the literature review while

    Chapter three will be the background to the study.

    Chapter four will discuss on Niger's foreign policy to France under General Seyni Kountché (1974 -1987).

    Chapter five will be the summary, the conclusion and recommendation.


    Endnotes will be used.


    1. African Contemporary Record, Vol. 6, 1974, P. 726

    2. African Contemporary Record, 1974 - 1975, P. 1717

    3. For example in 1961 the budget had its biggest deficit expenditure. Revenue was only $7million while the expenditure was $9.5 million. France covered most of this deficit.

    4. Europa Yearbook, 1988 (London: Europa Publications, 1988). P. 2003.

    5. Le Sahel, March 17th, 1982; Jean Pierre Cot, A L'Epreuve du pouvoir; le tiers mondisme pour quoi faire? (Paris: Edition du Seuil, 1984); Jean Pierre Cot, «what's change? Africa reports 28:3 (May - June 1983). PP. 13 - 14.

    6. Jean Touscoz, « Le Parti Socialiste Français et la Coopération avec le Tiers Monde», «Politique Etrangère» 46:4 (Dec. 1981), P. 879, and Cot «what's change?» P.13.

    7. Stephen Baier, «Economic History and Development; Drought and the Sahelian Economy», African Economic History 1 (1976), P. 5, based on the work of Paul Lovejoy.

    8. Rodney, W. How Europe underdeveloped Africa, Washington D. C. Howard University Press, (1974, P. 21)

    9. Offiong, D. A, imperialism and Dependency, Enugu Fourth Dimension Publishers, (1980, P. 15)

    10. Rodney, W. How Europe underdeveloped Africa, Washington D.C. Haward University Press, (1974, P. 21).



    Underdevelopment and dependency theorists, as well as enlightened political analysts had persistently argued in their published books, seminar presentations and newspaper articles on the Niger's foreign policy to France (1974 - 1987). In reviewing this work, one is able to depict the negative and positive impacts of Niger's foreign policy to France under General Seyni Kountché (1974 - 1987); thereby giving the general populace of developing countries on awareness growth and development, especially in Niger.

    Walter Rodney, clearly pointed this out, in his book «How Europe underdeveloped Africa» in it, he made us understand that underdevelopment is not the absence of development, because every people have developed in one way or another and to a greater or lesser extent. He went further to give the following explanation:

    «Underdevelopment is very much tied to the fact that human social development has been uneven and a strictly economic view-point some human groups have advanced further by producing more and becoming more wealthy1.

    These excepts explain better French's development ahead of the rest of Europe in the 18th century which Michel Roger to look into the causes behind the «Wealth of Nations».

    In the contemporary International economic system, the major pre-occupation is on the differences in wealth between on the one hand, Europe and North America and on the other hand, Africa, Asia and Latin America and even in politics, military and diplomatic, there are some differences.

    In comparison, as earlier stated, the second group, which has formerly, and until present being characterized as dependent on most secondary production of Eastern capitalist countries, as underdeveloped.

    Rodney in the bid to sort out the paradox which underdevelopment possesses centered his analysis by considering the fact that;

    «Many parts of the world that are naturally rich are actually poor and parts that are not so well of in wealth of soil and sub-soil are enjoying the highest standard to living»2.

    This statement could be further explained, considering the fact that the western countries are in possession of military, economic, political and diplomatic power knows how. In this regard, this world, western countries or western capitalist countries are controlling countries that are endowed with abundant resources. As a result of the uneven feature of developing and developed countries, therefore, one of the ideas behind underdevelopment is a comparative one. More so, it is also attributed to the fact that it expresses a particular relation of exploitation: hence underdevelopment today is a product of capitalist, imperialist and colonial exploitation3.

    Walter Rodney's conclusion, on the presence of metropolitan powers in the sort of Africa answered the question as to who and what is responsible for African (Niger) underdevelopment. Its answer was given at two (2) levels: firstly, the operation of the imperialist system bears major responsibility for Africa's (Niger's) economic retardation by draining African wealth and by making it impossible to develop more rapidly the resources of the continent. Secondly, deals with those who manipulate the system and those who are whether agents of French or unwitting accomplices of the said system4.

    The concept of «Dependency» coined by Brazilian sociologist, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, helps to link those who are beneficiaries of development with those who make the decision. Dependency simply states that crucial economic decisions are made not by countries that are being «developed» but by foreigners whose interests are carefully safeguarded. Foreigners use their economic, military, political powers to buy political power in the countries that they penetrate. This could mean political pressure by the imperialist metropolis or even military intervention. This collusion between alien economic and political power distorts both the economy and the policy of the dependent countries5.

    Daniel Offiong in his book «Imperialism and Dependency» also throws some lights on the dependence nature of African states. This regard, he defined dependency as «the situation that the history colonial imperialism has left and that modern imperialism creates in undeveloped countries»6.

    In order to develop his argument, he started by quitting the suggestion of Stratchery: «the backward region assumed a dependency status the last step before outright control in relation to the metropolitan power chiefly because the former were in debt to the latter. What was significant about the shift from consumer goods in world trade was that the colony-to-be neared long-term credit or leans to pay for the capital goods, and that finally, the relationship between the backward country and the metropolitan country is one of the debtor and creditor. And from this, it was but a small step to dependence domination»7.

    Offiong, after examining the dependent nature of African socio-economic and political system he also went further to explain that the false decolonization which has resulted in the phenomenon of neo-colonialism have never been able to solve this problem of underdevelopment. «False colonialism» could be further explained by the role of the United States towards colonization in the post second (2nd) world war era8.

    Joseph Wayas quoted the words: «that the problem were not and have not been that Africa was brought into the world market and political system but rather, the manner it was introduced to it; having an economic and political relationship with Europe were not in itself a bad idea, what was bad the manner of the relationship. The fight which African countries are waging today is therefore a fight not to eliminate the relationship but to change it so that Africans can move away from their present situation of economic, military, political, diplomatic dependence and subordination».

    He concluded by agreeing with some of the postulations of Walter Rodney. He put it that the relationship has resulted in a great imbalance or disequilibrium, which has remained a fundamental problem in African underdevelopment. As a result of this, it is deemed necessary to proffer easy of liberation from economic, political, military dependence.

    Dr. Ali Bouzou contributed extensively in these analyses of foreign policy of Niger with France. His argument was drawn from the proposition of renowned dependency theorist as it relates to the role of France in its relations with Niger. He was of the view that, «the global maximization of accumulation by French» «profit hyenas» is typically ached through the domination of the key sectors of its colony as in the case of uranium and out sector.

    In his comment on the impact of Niger's relationship with France on national development, he reflected that:

    «The collective impact of the French interests in Niger is the generation and perpetuation of the underdevelopment nature of French companies caused and their exploitative profit motive constitute the heart of this problem»9

    It is the gap which this concept of dependency has created n Nigerien socio-economic and political system that this work intend to fill the dependent nature of he Nigerien state has created room for the direct relations with France especially in economic, political, diplomatic and military domains during Seyni Kountché's regime. The presence of France in Niger reflects its role towards those relations. On the other hand, due to the dependent nature of the Nigerien state, most of these developmental projects are not positively realized.

    In view of these reasons, this work intend to highlight extensively on the situation that, the economic, political, diplomatic and military relationship which is existing between Niger and France during Seyni Kountché's era, has not been the problem; the problem remains in the manner of the relationship. Our pre-occupation centers on not he eliminating of the relationship but, to change it so that, the Nigerien state amidst the presence of France can move from present situation of economic, political, diplomatic and military dependence and subordination.


    1. Rodney, W. How Europe underdeveloped Africa, Washington D. C. Howard University Press, (1974, p. 21).

    2. Ibid. (P. 29)

    3. Ibid. (p. 21)

    4. Ibid.

    5. Ibid.

    6. Offiong, D. A. Imperialism and Dependency, Enugu, Fourth Dimension Publisher, (1980, P. 73).

    7. Ibid. (P. 66)

    8. Ibid.

    9. Bouzou, A. «la politique du Niger», P. 44.




    LOCATION: Western Africa Southeast of Algeria between Longitude 0 6'E and 15 36'E and Latitude 11 43'N and 23 32' N


    MAP REFERNCES: AFRICA (Especially West Africa).

    AREA: Total: 1,267 million sq km

    Water: 300sq km

    Land: 1, 266,700 sq km

    POPULATION: 11, 250,000 inhabitants (2002 est. census)

    CAPITAL: NIAMEY (400,000 inhabitants)

    IMPORTANT CITIES: Zinder, Maradi, Tahoua, Agades


    MOTTO: Fraternity - Work-Progress

    FLAG: Tricolor composes of three (3) rectangular horizontal bands and equal, of which the colors are from top to bottom disposed in the order: Orange, white, green. The white band carrying an orange disc symbolizing the sun.

    NATIONAL ANTHEM: La Nigérienne

    INDEPENDENCE DAY: August 3rd, 1960

    Constitution: Adopted on November, 1960 and modified on July 12th, 1961, the constitution of Niger which established a presidential regime with an elected president of Republic by universal suffrage directly for five (5) years and even the National Assembly (the deputies) was abrogated on April 15th, 1974 after the coup d'État. A new constitution is approved by referendum in 1992. Another one was approved in 1999 but there's no change.

    Administration: The country is divided into seven (7) «départements» (Zinder, Maradi, Tahoua, Agades, Dosso, Tillabéry, and Diffa) and Niamey as political capital of the country. Maradi is the economical capital of the country. There are thirty-six (36) Arrondissements».

    There is a project of «Decentralization» in the country (a form of federalism).


    The Hausa: the Hausa constitute 56% of the total population, or about 6 million people. They live predominantly in south-central Niger and tend to be farmers, petty traders and merchants (commerçants). Hausa is one of the most important languages in West Africa, largely because Hausa traders - well known for their entrepreneurial spirit - have established a commercial network that stretches across the subcontinent. The Hausa population in Niger represents a northern extension of a larger Hausa population; the heartland of this ethnic group is located across border in Nigeria, where there are over 30 million Hausa.

    The Zarma-Songhai: the Zarma are an ethnic subgroup of the Songhai people, whose great kingdom in the 14th and 15th centuries embraced what is now Mali and western Niger. They represent 2.5 million people or 28% of the total population. They live in the southwestern part of the country along the river (Niger) and because Niamey, the capital, is in their homeland, the Zarma constitute the majority of Niamey's 400,000 inhabitants. Traditionally, farmers and fishermen, the Zarma-Songhai was the first to benefit from the French education system, established in the ate1940's. As a result of education opportunities, the Zarma have had a strong influence in the central government with members of its ethnic group tending to become civil servants (functionaries) as the public sector rapidly expand after independence.

    The Fulani (Peul, Foulbé, Pulaar): the Fulani constitute 8.5% of the Nigerian total population, (800,000) and like the Hausa, are part of a broader ethno-linguistic group that extends Niger's boarder. Most of the Fulani live in the south-central part of the country and combine agriculture with livestock rising. A second, smaller group of the Fulani, known as Wodaabe, consists of nomadic cattle herders who live in the pastoral zone and subsist entirely from livestock raising. Preferring to maintain their nomadic heritage and lifestyle, the Wodaabe are the sector of the population least integrated into modern Niger.

    The Tuareg: the Tuareg represent another 8% (750,000 people) of the population and are also largely nomadic. Of North-African origin, traditional Tuareg society was quite hierarchical and oriented towards war and raiding. However, the French largely dismantled the old social order after they crushed a series of Tuareg revolts against colonial rule in the 1910's. The slaves of the Tuareg, known as Bouzou or Bella, were liberated by the French and are now sedentary farmers. The devastating drought of the early 1970's that wiped out one half of the national herd, forced many Tuareg to abandon nomadic livestock raising and go to urban centers in search of work. Though literate in their own script (TIFINAR), most Tuareg have not had «modern education». In Niamey, one can find many example of their skill as silversmith and leather craftsmen.

    The Kanuri (Beri Beri): the Kanuri or beri beri, represent about 4.3% of the population, or about 400,000 people. They live in the southeastern part of the country between Zinder and Lake Chad. Of diverse ethnic origin, the Kanuri's main economic activities include farming, livestock raising and salt processing.


    French is the official language, but only about 10% of Nigerien speaks it. Many can speak Hausa (80%), which is used for communication and trade between ethnic groups. Ten (10) languages have official recognition in Niger; Arabic, Boudouma, djerma, Fulfulde, Gourmantchema, Hausa, Kanuri, Tamachek, Tasawak and Toubou. Many people are multilingual.


    Islam is the most dominant religion (95%). The rest is between indigenous beliefs (Animism) (4%) and Christianity (1%). Islam is an important factor for National unity in Niger.


    East: Chad

    West: Mali and Burkina Faso,

    North: Libya and Algeria

    South: Nigeria and Benin Republic


    Numerous Neolithic remains of early pastoralism have been found in the desert area of Niger. Ptolemy Diaz wrote of Roman expeditions to the Air Massif. In the 11th century A.D., Tuareg migrated from the desert to the Air region, where they later (C. 1300) established a stat centered at Agadez. Agadez was situated on a major Trans-Saharan caravan route that connected North Africa with present day- north Nigeria.

    In the 14th century, the Hausa (most of whom lived in what is now Northern Nigeria) founded several cities - states in southern Niger. In the early 16th century, much of western and central Niger came under the Songhai Empire (centered at GAO on the Niger River in present day Mali), and after the fall of Songhai at the end of the 16th century, eastern and central Niger passed to Bornu.

    In the 17th century, the Djerma (Zarma) people settled in southwest Niger near the Niger River. In the early 19th century, Fulani gained control of southern Niger as a result of the Holy war waged against the Hausa by the Muslim reformer Usman Dan Fodio.

    At the conference of Berlin (184-85), the territory of Niger was placed within the French sphere of influence. The French established several military posts in southern Niger in the late 1890's, but did not occupy Agadez until 1904 because of concerted Tuareg resistance. In 1900, Niger was made a military territory within Upper Senegal - Niger, and in 1922, it was constituted a separate colony within French West Africa. Zinder was the colony's capital until 1926, when it was replaced by Niamey. The French generally governed through existing political structures and did not alte4r substantially the institutions of the country; they undertook little economic development and provided few new educational opportunities.


    National political activity began when Niger received its own assembly under French constitution of 1946, which established the French union. The first important political organization was the Niger progressive Party (PPN-RDA), a part of the «Rassemblement Démocratique Africain» (which had branches in most French West African territories). In the mid 1950's a Leftist party (later called Sawaba) headed by Bakary Djibo became predominant in the colony. However, when it unsuccessfully campaigned for complete independence in a 1958 referendum, the PPN (which favored autonomy for Niger within the French community) regained power.

    Niger achieved full independence from France on August 3rd, 1960, and Hamani Diori, the leader of the PPN, became its first president, he was reelected in 1965 and 1970. In the early 1960s, sporadic campaigns of rebel warfare were waged by the outlawed Sawaba party (most of whose members lived in exile). Otherwise, Niger enjoyed political stability, despite its weak economy and occasional ethnic conflicts, the PPN maintained firm control of the government. Close tiers were retained with France, which gave Niger considerable aid.

    The country as severely affected by the Sahelian drought 0of 1968-1975, much of its livestock died and crop production fell drastically. In 1974, Hamani Diori was overthrown in a military coup led by Lt. Colonel Seyni Kountché, who cultivated ties with member of the European community neighboring African nations and Arab nations.

    The Uranium boom of the early 1980s caused disparities in wealth that led to civil unrest. The government in 1983 quickly put down a coup attempt, and fear of opposition prompted frequent cabinet changes to ensure that officials were loyal.

    Kountché died in 1987 and was succeeded by General Ali Seybou as Head of State. Seybou vowed to dismantle the ruling CMS and introduce civilian rule. In 1991, a 1,204 member of National conference suspended the constitution and dissolved the government. A transitional civilian government led by Cheffou Amadou ruled until 1993, when Mahamane Ousamane was elected president in free elections. However, an opposition coalition subsequently won control of the legislature, leading to a protracted stalemate. Conflict between the government and the Tuareg in the early 1990s with the signing of a peace accord in 1995.

    In January 1996, the government was ousted in a coup led by colonel (later General) Ibrahim Baré Mainassara. Presidential election held in July 1996, were won by Mainassara, who replaced the Independent Electoral National Commission (CENI) with a handpicked one during the two-day poll. The members of his presidential Guard assassinated Mainassara in April 1999, and Major Daouda Malam Wanké became the Head of State. France, the country's major aid donor, suspended aid following the Coup de tat. In November 1999, elections were held for a new president and parliament, a retired Colonel, Tandja Mamadou, was elected president.


    Area-Comparative: Slightly less than twice the size of Texas.

    Land Boundaries: Total - 5,697 Km

    Border countries: Algeria 956km, Benin Rep. 266km, Burkina Faso 628km, Libya 354km, Mali 821km, Nigeria 1,500km

    Coastland: 0km (Land-locked)

    Terrain: Predominantly desert plains and sand dunes, flat to rolling plains

    Elevation Extremes: Lowest point: Niger River 200m

    Highest Point: Mont Bagazane 2,022m

    Natural Resources: Uranium, Coal, Iron Ore, Tin, Phosphates, gold, petroleum

    Land Use: Arable land: 3.94%

    Permanent Crop: 0%

    Others: 96.06% (1998 est.)

    Irrigated Land: 660 sq km (1998 est.)

    Natural Hazards: Recurring droughts

    Environment Current: Overgrazing, soil erosion, deforestation, desertification, wildlife population

    Issues: Elephant, hippopotamus, giraffe and lion threatened because of population destruction.

    Environment: pat to: Biodiversity, climate change, desertification, Endangered.

    International: Environmental modification, hazardous wastes, nuclear test-ban

    Agreements: Protection, wetlands signed, but not ratified, climate change - Kyoto protocol, law of the sea.

    Geography-Note: Land-locked, one of the hottest countries in the world, northern four, southern one-fifth, is savanna, suitable for livestock and limited agriculture.



    Democratic and social convention (CDS RAHAMA)

    National Movement for the Development of Society (MNSD NASSARA)

    Niger Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS TARRAYYA)

    Democratic Rally for the People (RDP JAMA'A)

    Nigerien Alliance for Democracy and Social Progress (ANDP ZAMAN LAHIYA)


    Military Branches: Army, Air Force, Gendarmerie, national Intervention and Security Force (GIP-NINJA), Police, Republican Guard

    Total: 11,470 men

    Land: 7,470

    Gendarmes: 1,650

    Policemen: 2,000

    Military Manpower-Military Age: 18 Years of age (2003 est.)

    Military Manpower Availability: Males age: 15 - 49, 2, 379, 485 (2003 est.)

    Military Manpower Fit for Military Service: Male age: 15 - 49: 1,288,326 (2000 est.).

    Military Manpower Reaching Military Age Annually: Males: 119,367 (2000 est.).

    Military Expenditures (Dollar figures) $20.54million (FY02)

    Military Expenditures (Percent of GDP) 1.1% (FY02)


    Niger pursues a moderate foreign policy and maintains friendly relations with the west and the Islamic world as well as non-aligned countries. It belongs to the United Nations and its main specialized agencies and in 1980- 81 served on the UN Security Council.

    Niger maintains a special relationship with France and enjoys close relations with its West African neighbors. It is a charter member of the African Union and the west African monetary Union (UEMOA) and also belongs to the Niger river and Lake Chad Basin Commissions, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS - CEDEAO), the Non aligned Movement, the organization of the Islamic conference (OIC), The Entente Council (Conseil de l'Entente), the community of Sahel Saharan states (CEN-SAD) and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).


    ECONOMY OVERVIEW: Niger is a poor, land-locked sub-Saharan nation, whose economy, agriculture, animal husbandry and re export trade, and increasingly because of declining world demand. The 50% devaluation of CFA Francs in January 1994 boosted exports of livestock, cowpeas, onions and the small cotton industry. The government relies on bilateral and multilateral relations suspended following the Aril 1999 coup d'État - for operating expenditures investment. In 2000-01, the World Bank approves a structural adjustment program to help support fiscal reforms. However, reforms could provoke government's bleak financial situation. The IMF approved a $73 million and growth facility for Niger in 2000 and announced $115 million in Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiatives. Further, disbursen in 2002. Future growth may be sustained by exploration of oil, gold mineral resources.

    GDP: Purchasing power Parity - $8713 billion (2002 est.)

    GDP: Real Growth Rate; 2.9% (2002 est.)

    GDP: Per capital: Purchasing power Parity - $800 (2002 est.)

    GDP: Composition by sector

    Agriculture - 39%

    Industry - 17%

    Services - 44% (2001 est.)

    Population below poverty line: 63% (1993 est.)

    House Below poverty line: 63% (1993 est.)

    Lowest 10%: 0.8%

    Highest 10%: 35.4 (1995)

    Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices) - 3% (2002 est.).

    Labour force: 70,000 Receive regular wages or salaries

    Labour force - by occupation: Agriculture 90%, industry and commerce 6%, Government 4%.

    Unemployment Rate: NA

    Budget: Revenues: $320 million - including capital expenditures of $178 million

    Industries: Uranium mining, cement, brick, textile, food processing, chemicals

    Industrial production by source: Fossil fuel - 100%, Hydro - 0%, Nuclear - 0%

    Electricity - Consumption: 325.1 million kwh (2001)

    Electricity - Export: 0 kwh (2001)

    Electricity - imports 100million kwh (2001)

    Agriculture products: Cowpeas, Cotton, peanuts, millet, sorghum, cassava (Tapioca), rice, camels, donkeys, horses and poultry.

    Exports: $293 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)

    Exports-Commodities: Uranium ore, livestock, cowpeas, onions

    Exports-partners: France 39%, Nigeria 33.2%, Japan 17.1%, (2002)

    Imports; $368 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)

    Imports-Commodities: Foodstuffs, Machinery, Vehicles and parts petroleum and cereals

    Imports partners: France 16.8%, Cote d'Ivoire 14.9%, China 9.8%, Nigeria 7.4%, U.S. 5.4%, and India 4.4% (2002).

    Debt - External: $1.6 million (1999 est.)

    ECONOMIC aid recipient: $341milion (1997)

    Currency: Communauté Financière en Afrique Francs (XOF), Responsible at the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO)

    Currency Code: XOF

    Exchange Rate: Communauté Financière en Afrique Francs (XOF) per dollars - 696.9 (2001), 711.98 (2000), 615.7 (1999), 589.95 (1998).

    Fiscal Year: Calendar year


    Railways: 0km

    Highways: Total 10,100km, paved: 798km, unpaved 9,302km, (1999 est.)

    Waterways: 300kmnote: the Niger River is navigable from Niamey to Gaya on the Benin frontier from mid December through March

    Ports and Habours: None

    Airports; 27 (2002) Airports - with pave runways: Total, 92,438 to 3,047m, 2,914 to 1,523m; 14 under 914m 2002)


    Telephone Main Line in Use: 25,000 (2003)

    Telephone - Mobile/Cellular: 8,000 (2003)

    Telephone System; general assessment - small system of wire, radio telephone communication, microwave radio relay links, concentrated in the southeastern area of the country, domestic, wire, radiotelephone communications. And microwave radio satellite system with 3 earth stations and 1 planned.

    International satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean area).

    Radio Broadcast Stations: AMS, FM6, Short-wave, 4 (2001)

    Radio: 1,000,000 (2002)

    Television Broadcast Stations: 3 (plus seven low power repeaters) (2002).

    Televisions: 250,000 (2002)

    Internet Country code: .ne

    Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 2 (2003)

    Internet Users: 20,000 (2003)


    1. World Atlas - Africa - Niger

    2. Coopération Française au Niger (Dossier du Niger)

    3. Secrétariat d'État à la Présidence du Niger (Service de l'Information)

    4. Ministère des Affaires Étrangères, De la cooperation et de l'intégration Africaine

    5. Minstère des Finances et de l'Economie du Niger

    6. Ministère de la Défense de la Republique du Niger

    7. Le Niger d'Aujourd' hui, No. 002, P. 4-7 (Editions Jeune Afrique)

    8. Jeune Afrique L'Intelligent, No. 2129 - 2130, p. 10

    9. Economia No14 - 15, Mensuel, Dec 2001, Jan 2002, pp.. 22 - 23

    10. Sahel Dimanche, No 242, pp 14 - 20

    11. Le Sahel, No 447, pp. 4-6

    12. The Colombia Encyclopedia, Six Editions, 2001, Niger, Country Africa



    4.0 NIGER'S FOREIGN POLICY TO FRANCE (1974 - 1987)


    As soon as a state gains independence, it faces the problems of relation with other states, its neighbors with whom it may share common values, with the world bodies, with big powers and with its former metropolitan powers. It has to formulate and define the concepts of national interest and goals. National interests and goals have been defined as objectives, which a state ought to achieve, maintain, defend, and propagate.

    Another set of problems usually faced by the newly independent states, is the recognition of the old boundaries created by the former colonial powers and matters incidental thereto, as well as raising and maintaining an army capable of defending the present boundaries and quashing any internal disorder or rebellion. Equally important to them, is aid and grants from them, and trade with other states including their former rulers. The colonial powers may have provided them with a pattern of behaviour.

    But this pattern of behaviour served the interest of the colonial powers more then the interest of the colonies.

    As regards aid, grants and trade, the newly independent states may have to look towards potential or ideological enemies of their former colonial masters. Thus, foreign relations of the newly independent states may be drastically different and diametrically opposed to those of the former colonial powers.

    Niger gained independence on August 3rd, 1960 from France. Since the conduct of foreign policy of Niger was highly personalized by President Hamani Diori (1960 - 1974) and because foreign policy debates in the National Assembly were indeed very rare, one is therefore, obliged to look into the statements or communiqués issued after the president himself (Hamani Diori) participated.

    Niger's foreign policy pronouncements when summarized emphasize the following principles:

    - An endeavor to improve the economic and social conditions of Niger's people.

    - To defend and maintain territorial integrity

    - To express solidarity with Francophone Africa countries

    - To promote Pan Africanism and to strengthen mutual functional cooperation with its neighbors.

    - To make efforts for the emancipation of Africa from racialism and colonialism

    - To ensure a non-alignment policy in world politics with emphasis on special relations with France.

    Niger's foreign policy pronouncement and practice have been guided by the above-mentioned principles.

    When the military took over power from Hamani Diori on April 15th, 1974, the status quo did not witness any fundamental shift. The new head of state, Lt. Colonel (Later General) Seyni Kountché could not change government's foreign policy stance as he was occupied with the huge task of resolving the domestic problems such as the drought situation, to modify the former agreement with France to suit Niger's interest, and to obtain a better deal for Uranium exploitation.

    In France, President Georges Pompidou died on April 2nd, 1974. On May 19th, 1974; Valéry Giscard d'Estaing's election to the presidency brought an end to the Gaullist era. The special secretariat for Africa and Malagasy Affairs in the «champs Elysées» palace was abolished. Gaullist inspired special relations with Francophone Africa ceased. A new era was ushered in.


    Lt Colonel Seyni Kountché's regime has continued the foreign policy of the previous regime towards Africa and Arab countries. Niger remained an active member of the OCAM, the Chad Basin commission, The River Niger Commission, and the O.A.U.

    Relations with Libya were maintained as before. It will be recalled that immediately after the coup, Libyan Prime Minister Jalloud flew to Niamey but he was refused entry. Three days later, he was allowed to enter. After the meeting of the two leaders, Kountché announced that:

    Relations (between them) would be stronger as long as the movement continues to work for the development and progress of Niger, the freedom and unity of the African continent and the promotion of the eternal values of Islam.2

    Keeping in line with the civilian government's pro-Arab and pro Muslim policy, Niger supported the candidature of Somali foreign minister, Omar Arteh, for the post of administrative Secretary General of the O.A.U. in June 1974, and in November 1974, Somali President, Said Barre was welcomed in Niamey on an official tour.

    Niger continued to play a major role among Francophone countries. Lt. Colonel Seyni Kountché was appointed one of the mediators (the other was Eyadéma of Togo) in the «little» war between Mali and Upper Volta (Burkina Faso).

    Relations with France did not remain as cordial as they were during the civilian era because the new government had demanded the withdrawal of the French troops from Niger. French assistance towards the drought relief continued unabated. There was no cessation of French development aid. Furthermore, three (3) new agreements were signed with France in September that year, totaling a sum of 2,500 million CFA francs, as French aid. France even donated aircraft carriers and ambulances for the Nigerian army.

    Military regime in Niger has not changed any foreign policy principles laid down by the previous civilian government. However, there are some changes in the practice of Niger's foreign policy. The military government is pursuing a more neutral and positive approach. The new regime is more sensitive to the issue to sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is trying to avoid too much reliance of French aid. The coup d'État in Niger on April 15th, 1974, was soon followed by the dismissal of the French military unit stationed in the country, whose commander had been accused of hindering the change of regime. The present regime, significantly has repudiated the defense agreement with France. The French military was asked to leave the country. Their presence it was argued, impugned on the sovereignty of the country. The military government also recognized North Korea and secured a Chinese interest-free loan of 12,000 million CFA francs.

    A significance departure from the past practice was the new regime's recognition of Guinea and the exchange of ambassadors. Guinea had denounced Hanami Diori as a neo-colonialist; Diori in retaliation had refused to recognize Guinea's independence.

    Another character of the present regime is its boldness and the ability to extract maximum benefits for Niger in international negotiations. A government spokesman bluntly said, «Niger produces enough uranium, more than ten times of its need, yet people were dying from hunger, Niger would re-examine the whole uranium question». Niger successfully negotiated to increase its share of uranium production and also got the liberty to fix its price.



    The study of land-locked states elaborates the importance of direct access to the sea. Twenty-six of the total world states are land-locked. Twelve of them are in Africa. Niger is one of them.

    In attempting to develop theories about land-locked states, East looked for common factors other than their lack of sea frontage and selected fairly common denominators of weakness and buffer state status. 4

    Austria, Afghanistan and Mongolia provide example of buffer states status. Surrounding maritime states are advantageous because of the absence of the boundaries of powerful neighbors. If a land-locked state is internationally self-sufficient, then it needs not rely on coastal states for its external trade. The common concern of land-locked states involves the securing of access to the sea. Tit has long been argued that access to the sea and the internal usage of navigable waterways accessible to the ocean going vessels is a natural right.5Another concern of land-locked states is the securing of free movement of goods across the territories of coastal states free of tax.

    Niger is an economically weak and land-locked state and therefore, she is inevitably dependent on the will of Nigeria, Benin republic, Cote d' Ivoire, Togo and Ghana. Much of Niger's trade to Europe passes thought the ports of Lagos, Cotonou, Abidjan, Lomé and Tema. In fact, the route through the port of Cotonou has been used as an alternative, although it is costly, in case, the Nigerian route is not available. The Nigerian civil war alarmed the leaders of Niger and made them explore other routes.

    «Much of the good neighborly relationship between Niger and Nigeria could be explained in terms of the formers dependence on the facilities of the latter for a great part of her trade with the rest of the world». 6

    Since the bulk of African trade is with extra African countries, an easy and reliable access to the coast is of paramount importance. Consequently, most if not all-African land-locked states have tried to maintain a cordial relationship with countries through whose territories the bulk of their exports and imports must pass.


    Thus, the authorities in charge in Niger, both before and after independence, pursued a policy, which resulted in making the Nigerien economy dependent upon a single primary commodity.

    To be fair, attempts were made to try and diversify the economy, for instance, the introduction of cotton in 1956 in the center proved quite successful. 7 Furthermore, Governor Ramadier had a second look at the by now notorious naturally irrigated basins of the Niger River valley. But once it was realized that the development scheme devised in the 1930s had come to nothing, not just because of official neglect but also because the peasants of the west simply had no experience of irrigated cultivation, whatever plans existed were apparently abandoned.8

    Another attempt, profitable and successful to a degree, was to encourage the exportation of goatskins from the Maradi region to Europe, where they were able to compete with the better-known goatskins variety from Sokoto.9 It was followed by a general expansion in the exportation of hides and skins.10

    Finally, some of the credit for the establishment of Niger's second (small) groundnut oil mill (at Matameye in 1954) must go to the administration (French). 11 However, all this amounted to very little in the long run, and neither cotton nor skins nor hides were of much importance compared with groundnuts. Above all, the administration seems to have neglected the subsistence sector completely.

    Why then this emphasis on groundnuts and especially why the heavy tax burden? The answer, in our opinion, is to be found in the fact that the process of decolonization had been set in motion by the early 1950s. The French were (by virtue, one could argue, of the myth of the «white man's burden») under a moral obligation to provide Niger with what we could call the prerequisite of a modern state, state machinery according to the European model. This meant equipping Niger with a (modest) infrastructure of institutions and services; a parliament, a government, a civil service etc. it also entailed the building of roads, airports, hospitals, schools and the like.

    We have in short, a policy of «modernization» designed to implement as fully as possible the principle implicit in the FIDES programme. This required funding, and since the funds granted by the FIDES proved inadequate, the immediate source of new revenue was perceived to be the expansion of groundnuts exports. The caution advocated by Governor Toby having thus been brushed aside, the end result is neatly illustrated by the budgets between 1958 and 1961. External funds represented one-third of revenue in 1958, a huge 57 percent in 1959 and slightly less than 50 percent in 1961. The rest originated for the most part, directly or indirectly, from the commercialization of groundnuts at (and the point is worth repeating) prices subsidized by the French. Geographically, one «subdivision» («Cercle» after 1956), that of Magaria, provided close to 50 percent of the revenue not originated from external funds. As far as expenditure is concerned, the «budget de fonctionnement», designed to cover operating and maintenance costs, continued to absorb some 90 percent of the budget 12

    We may now conclude that the administration after 1954, in sharp contrast to the administration under Governor Toby was now particularly concerned with laying the foundations of a balanced although modest economy. It was a spendthrift administration which sacrificed the future for the present and the basic for the spectacular; an administration which thus contributed to accentuate the fragility and disequilibrium of the Nigerien economy, and so to accelerate the process of structural underdevelopment. Furthermore, as the study of budget indicates, the very burden of modern state machinery, however modest, became so heavy that it seemed to rule out any possibilities of real economic development. The price of modernization and independence, on the terms dictated by the French and the «evolves» was so high that the average Nigerien could barely afford it, if at all.

    If we consider the politicians and the «evolves» as a corporate group, the least we can say is that, after the transfer of the reins of power between 1957 and 1960, they did not try to reverse the policy inaugurated by the French. Indeed, it was in their interest to maintain this policy since it guaranteed their standard of living. This they certainly did. For instance, between 1958 and 1961, the civil service multiplied rapidly and salaries raised steeply both in absolute and relative terms. 13 As J. Delpy has remarked, the budget became «exclusivement un instrument de distribution de pouvoir d'achat». 14

    The fact that the final stage of the process of decolonization took place during a period of very favourable climatic conditions locally (in sharp contrast with the period of colonial conquest at the turn of the century), and also a period of rapid economic growth in the world at large, probably had the effect of concealing some of the potentially damaging effects of the economic policy summarized above. No one asked in 1960 what would happen if, or rather when, drought struck again (as it did after 1968, and especially between 1972 - 1974. 15 in conformity with J. Tilho's prediction in 1928); 16 if the French should decide one day to discontinue the programme of subsidizing groundnut prices as they did in 1967); 17 if the price of groundnut oil on the world market should drop drastically (as it did in the 1970s); and if Ghana should decide to close its borders to seasonal laborer (as it did under the Busia administration). All these factors came together during the early 1970s. The result was a disaster of some magnitude known as the Great West African Drought and Famine of 1972 - 1974. (Naturally, in 1972 - 1974 as in 1913 - 1915 and in 1931 - 1932, «there was an incredible lack of a sense of urgency to start with», personal tax was not suspended and tax collection remained much better organized than relief.) 18

    Even 1980 look reasonably bright because of revenues from a new and unexpected source; a source that has quadrupled in value since the steep rise in oil prices after 1973. We are referring to the uranium mine at Arlit in Air from which in 1978, the Government of Niger collected an estimated 12 billion CFA francs in royalties. 19 It remains to be seen, however, how far the consequences of the Harrisburg incident will affect the external trade of Niger. But the future of Niger lies in its subsoil, rich in minerals and probably also in oil. 20

    The French strategy is best understood as combining several motives. The most powerful of these was to minimize the cost of maintaining French presence and control by promoting cash crops and by re-orientating preexisting monetary systems and patterns of trade so that the colonial administration cold capture more of the surplus. The French also wanted to avoid the civil unrest that might result if the Nigerien people were brought to the point of starvation, and to this end, they instituted programs of improved livestock production and food storage. They did not have little motivation to invest enough to make the rural economy more productive, nor did they seem concerned about the long-term environmental impacts of their agricultural and pastoral policies. As a result, the French left Niger with a minimal technology and research base on which to build future economic development.


    Food aid is only the tip of the iceberg of Niger's dependency. The Nigerien economy has also become more dependent on foreign capital, economic assistance, and credit, and the forms these dependencies have taken have given foreign actors an extraordinary degree of influence in the Nigerian policy process foreign aid to Niger has constituted a substantial but widely fluctuating portion of the country's national budget. Initially, the government of Niger was highly dependent on the French for aid, and overall aid averaged 60 percent of total budget expenditures between 1960 and 1967. This level of aid fell in the late 1960s, only to rise dramatically in the 1970s as a result of the drought relief effort. During the period 1975-1981, the level of aid fluctuated between 45 percent and 75 percent of the national budget. It then fell, only to jump sharply as the combined effects of the threat from Libya, international debt recovery policies known as «structural readjustment», and renewe3d drought pressed the regime to the wall. In 1985, aid exceeded the total value of the national budget by 135 percent. 21

    Even the normal types of foreign assistance technical assistance and investments for specific development projects pose problems for autonomy. In Niger, such aid is usually accounted for in the «investment budget». With the exception of the period from 1977 to 1982, the government of Niger has had to rely heavily on foreign aid to carry out its economic development program. Although, it has viewed this aid as vitally important, aid dependency has limited the Nigerien government options in a number of ways. Nearly, all aid to Niger from its principal donors, France and other European community countries, is tied to the purchase of commodities from those countries. U.S. aid has followed generally this pattern as well. This condition obviously limits Niger's choice of suppliers and affects its patterns of trade. Foreign actors have also played a major part in defining Niger's development policies, and his influence has carried serious future budgetary implications. For example, the recurrent costs of rural development projects designed and financed by just one secondary donor, the U. S., equal the entire budget of Niger's ministry of Rural Development.

    Other types of foreign aid, particularly direct budget subsidies, create much more obvious sources of foreign influence and control. In the years immediately following independence nearly 10 percent of the Nigerien government's direct operating budget came from French foreign aid. This type of aid was phased out by 1970, but it was resumed in 1973 - 1974 and 1985. Recently, Niger has received «sector grants», or no project aid, from the U.S government. U.S.A.I.D's $29 million Agriculture and Rural Development Sector Grants had as their explicit goal producing major changes in the Nigerien government's farm subsidy, credit, price, and marketing policies. In exchange for this budgetary support, Niger was expected to liberalize and privatize its rural economy.23 Clearly, Niger's financial was have made its government highly susceptible to foreign policy prescriptions at various points in its history since independence.

    The only way in which the government of Niger has been able to mitigate its aid dependence somewhat has been to diversify its donors. Niger still remains highly dependent on France, but beginning in the late 1960s a larger proportion of its aid began to come from such multilateral donors as the European Community's Fund for Economic Development, the World Bank, the United Nations, the African Development Bank, the Arab Bank for Economic Development, and the organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OPEC) special fund. Niger has also been able to attract several significant new bilateral donors, the most important of which are Canada, West Germany, U.S, the Peoples Republic of China and Saudi Arabia.24

    Although, diversification of aid has reduced Niger's dependency on any single donor, its effects should not be overstated. France continues to be the largest single bilateral donor, consistently contributing between 27 percent (1977) and 47 percent (1981) of all such aid, and annual aid negotiations with France remain a critical event in Niger's political and economic life. Other western donors while less important individually, are usually associated in groups, such as the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development and the friends of the Sahel, and these groups have brought effective pressure on the Nigerien government to adopt major changes in rural development policy, as was very evident at the 1982 national seminar in Zinder.

    A second problem with Niger's trade has been its dependence on a single buyer, France. In the 1960s, Niger sold 60 - 70 percent of its exports to France; France in turn supplied about half of Niger's total imports. Through the 1970s, France continued to buy nearly 60 percent of Niger's exports and to sell it 35 - 45 percent of its imports. Niger has attracted only two additional major buyers for its goods, Nigeria and Libya. Most of Niger's exports to Nigeria have been agricultural commodities and livestock, and Nigeria has become a significant regional supplier of energy and manufactured goods to Niger as well. Trade with both Nigeria and Libya, however, has been interrupted periodically for political reasons, which has contributed to the weakness and dependency of the Nigerien economy.

    Direct foreign private investment has been a less obvious source both of growth and of dependency in Niger, largely because, with the exception of investment in the uranium mines, there has been so little of it. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, however, private and publicly guaranteed capital did partially replace aid as a source of capital. During the uranium boom years in the second half of the 1970s, the government of Niger borrowed heavily, mainly to finance investments in mining and infrastructure. When uranium revenues tumbled and imports to develop these investments continued the debt skyrocketed. In the early years of the republic, foreign debt had been kept to a low level, and debt service, or the amount of money needed simply to keep loan repayments current, never exceeded 4 percent of export earnings. From 1970 to 1987, the outstanding long-term public grew from 5 to 72. 6 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and by 1986, the government owed or had guaranteed nearly $1.68 billion in long-term and short-term indebtedness - when Niger's total GDP was only $2.16 billion.25

    In the mid 1980s, Niger's debt service approached one-third of the value of its exports, or about half of the government total revenue, an unrealistic level of burden for such a slowly growing economy. The level of dependency on foreign lenders, coupled with Niger's inability to pay, precipitated a debt and foreign exchange crisis, which opened the way for lenders to virtually dictate Niger's internal economic policies.

    During the boom years, president Kountché had expressed his disdain for the International Monetary Fund,26 but faced with a critical shortage of foreign exchange, he was forced to negotiate a series of «standby agreement» totaling $62 million in IMF currency units (Special Drawing Rights, or SDRs). In addition, Niger was obliged to obtain new loans from the World Bank and to secure agreements for rescheduling existing debt with groups of its creditors in the Paris and London club. These arrangements made it possible for the country to continue importing vital commodities and to reduce debt payment to one-third, the level of government revenues. They also, however, came with conditions, which require reduction in government spending, comprehensive changing in tax law, and a liberalization of the economy by reducing the number of state -owned and mixed public-private enterprises. Although, in the long run, they imply political risks and represent new sources of dependency. Furthermore, unless these changes stimulate a major recovery in the value of Niger's exports, they will only buy time, since Niger's debt has not been forgiven. It has merely been stretched out into the future.


    In 1970, French monopoly of uranium exploitation was broken and Japan was included in the venture with 30% of financing, and France having 70% of exploit uranium at Akokan, 12 miles south of Arlit (Agadez). The first signs of discount appear in 1972 when President Hamani Diori confronted France and demanded more clear independence with the existing realities. The uranium exploitation by French companies was painfully slow. Te government of Niger complained that it was intentional while the French denied it and argued that the demand for uranium was declining.

    A request by Niger that trade with Nigeria be helped by allowing certain transactions of frozen CFA payments for cattle and beef through French firms based in Nigeria was not accepted by France.27

    The president of National Assembly, Boubou Hama, openly accused the French of being behind the students' unrest and this elicited a strong protest from the French Ambassador.28 Relations between the two countries had become so stained that when President Hamani Diori went to a summer vacation in Paris suburb the same year, the French made it clear that the President will not be invited to luncheon at the «Champs Elysées» Palace.29 On the occasion of President Pompidou's visit to the country in January 1973, President Diori spoke of his country's desire to diversify its trade partners. He criticized the «out-dated methods of aid, which were unresponsive to the changing needs of African countries.30

    Since 1973, Niger government had been trying hard to renegotiate the uranium agreement so that Niger's participation in the profit could be raised. Te French apparently were not willing to grant this concession. A government spokesman disclosed in a very pessimistic tone the real situation. He said,

    Niger produces enough uranium to supply more than ten times its own energy needs and yet, only a few miles from the mine, people were dying from hunger. Niger would have to re-examine the whole uranium question with its partners to that, each side received a fair share of the profits. Uranium is an inherited source of wealth, just like oil; either it allows us to finance economic development or we will leave it where it is, so as not to dissipate this inheritance uselessly. We don't want one day to have to show the holes of our children and say «there was uranium here but, it's finished.31

    After the overthrow of President Hamani Diori's regime, relations between the two countries further deteriorated. The Head of the French military mission in Niamey, Major Langlois d'Estai was expelled. The Niger government charged that the Major had to many subversive contacts. Lieutenant Colonel Seyni Kountché even refused to see a senior French Army officer. Kountché said,

    This decision, (the withdrawal of French troops from Niamey), we took it far from all evident obvious or latent with respect to the French Republic; far from any arrogance with respect to these people of France from which we share the culture and humanism, and of which we appreciate his right value the contest how much beneficial our efforts of development. We took it, to put an end as well as anarchism for France as for France and for us. And, has especially, we took it, because having choosing our national independence since this historical date of the year of grace, 1960, it is for us who it falls without damage, has the concluding of agreements in conformity with the international practices, to ensure only the safety of our borders if as well is as they are likely external threats.

    The people of Niger are not people of beggars. This is not because Niger counts only 4 million inhabitants and that its one of the poorest countries which one should not respect us as a sovereign state.32

    Finally, in December 1974, the French companies agreed in principle on increased Nigerien participation. Previous to that, Niger's participation in SOMAIR was only 15%. France is the main buyer of Niger's uranium. In 1973, France took 93.6 % of Niger's uranium export. 33

    By April 1975, new agreement was signed with France, according to which, Niger's share was increased to 33% in the uranium company, SOMAIR.

    In August 1972, President Hamani Diori asked for a division of bilateral agreement called «Accords de Cooperation» which had existed since 1961. He demanded that these, be revised to favor Niger. Unfortunately, it did not materialize before the overthrow of his government.

    The crucial change in foreign relations was the ending of Defense Agreement with France. On May 16th, 1974, the new government (under General Seyni Kountché) of Niger ordered the 270 strong French Detachment to leave the country as soon as possible. The communiqué issued said a foreign military presence impugned on the country's sovereignty. Yet, so anxious was the government of Niger to maintain friendly relations with France that the Head of State announced that the move was not motivated by hostility to France.34


    Niger is one of the poorest nations of the world. At least, by African standard, is growing to be a rich nation. The Gross Domestic Product of Niger in the early seventies was 90,000 CFA francs (at that time, one U.S dollar equals 250.00 CFA francs). But it declined during the drought years. According to IMF, statistics in 1975, the Gross National Product for Niger in 1975, stood at 380 million dollars. Niger's main export trade comprises of livestock, hides and skins, groundnuts and uranium. Niger produces the largest number of livestock in West Africa, perhaps in the world. The production of uranium increased by 50% in 1975.

    Owing to the large geographical size but, very small population and lack of capital and technical know-how it was considered necessary for Niger to request foreign aid and investment. Niger is determined to cooperate with all states willing to bring her the investment capital and technical aid needed for development. This policy has been pursued vigorously both by the former civilian regime and the present military regime (General Seyni Kountché) Niger's relations with France are thus oriented towards economic development than other areas of interaction. The question is how best this objective could be achieved? The policy makers of Niger found the answer in bilateral relations.

    Niger's pattern of trade during the military era (1974 - 1987) remained predominantly western (France). France remained the major trading partner. From 1975 to 1977, France's share of Niger's import constantly remained more than 50% of Niger's total world trade. Export increased with France due to the uranium.

    From 1974 to 1987, two thirds of all financial and technical aid received by Niger came from France. France still subsidizes Niger's development budget. In 1974, she increased her subsidy from 9% of the total budget to 13.5%. France is not only the major trading partner but also major source of private investment and aid. French aid to Niger in 1975 alone amounted to 70,200 million CFA francs. The aid is multipurpose. It includes educational, medical, technical research, communication and transport sector (see table). France's assistance to Niger in the struggle against drought was much more than any single country. France also donated aircraft, lorries, and ambulances to Niger's Armed Forces (FAN) .35

    In 1976, three agreements totaling nearly 2,800 million CFA francs had been signed between Niger and France. This amount included 1,000 million CFA francs of annual aid to National Investment Fund.60






    100 million CFA f.

    1. Niamey Air Terminal


    320 million CFA f.

    Zinder's Teachers College

    Niamey oral Traditional Research Center.

    Child and mother protection center and hospital equipment.


    27.5 million CFA f.

    Hydraulic studies


    102 million CFA f.

    Tsernaoua-Tahoua road


    142.5 million CFA f.

    Educational Television


    1,000 million CFA f.


    Sept. 1975

    217.95 million CFA f.

    Technical, medical and library project


    1,000 million CFA f.

    National Investment Fund


    515 million CFA f.

    Schools TV program


    907 million CFA f.

    Secom project, including Tahoua road construction


    100,000 million CFA f.

    Purchase of medical equipment.

    Source: Figures and dates have been collected from various issues of the following:

    Africa Research bulletin, Africa contemporary record, Africa confidential and West Africa.


    Nigerien soils contain about 10 percent of the world's uranium reserves. Commercial export of «Yellow cake uranium ore concentrated to 70 percent, began in 1971, and by 1974, revenue from the sale of this commodity exceeded earnings from all other exports combined. Nigerien uranium was developed principally to meet French needs for nuclear energy and weapons. With 2,200 tons exported a year. The reserves were estimated at 100,000 tons. France jointly developed two surfaces mine in the air desert, at Arlit (SOMAIR) and at Akouta (Cominak). These mines have a total capacity of 4,500 tons of yellow cake per year and additional mines, which would have raised the total capacity to 9,000 tons a year, were also planned. Two French companies have shares in SOMAIR: COGEMA (26.961%), CFMU (11,796%). France has 34% (CEA) in COMINAK and MINATOME S.A. 8%.

    Until the early 1980s, Niger's leaders hoped that substantial and growing revenues from uranium sales would fuel rapid growth and industrialization, but the uranium boom was short-lived. Production peaked at about 4,360 tons in 1981 and has fallen since to about 3,200 toms owing to the slack in world demand following the nuclear reactor accidents at three miles Island and Chernobyl and to competition from Canadian and Australian producers. Since 1981, the Nigerien firms that run the mines and export the uranium have been unable to find market even from this reduced level of production. Typically, France has purchased about 2,500 tons a year at contract price well above the world marker. Some of the rest of the production has been sold to a variety of small purchasers, mainly from the Arab world, usually at spot market prices as much as 30 - 40 percent below the French contract price. As a result, Uranium export revenue has fallen dramatically from a high of nearly half a billion dollar in 1980 to about $200 million.

    This decline in sales and revenue discouraged investors from proceeding with plans to develop additional mines in the Air North and west of Agadez, specifically and an underground mine at Afasto, and the slowdown has had particularly severe consequences for the Nigerien economy given the fact that uranium sales accounted for between 15-20 percent of Niger's Gross domestic Product and yielded 10-12 percent of total government revenues in the late 2970s. At its peak of production, the uranium industry employed about 7 percent of all modern-sector workers, but additional wage and salaried workers, both in government and in private firms, depended on the revenue from Uranium sales for their lively hood as well. The decrease in Uranium revenue also quickly led to a foreign debt crisis, further reducing the size of the government work force.



    Exchange of visit by the Heads of State, Ambassadors, Ministers and other officials indicates the depth of the relationship of the countries concerned. These visits take place either for strengthening existing relations or for normalizing relations, which hitherto have been strained. Other reasons for the exchange of visit may be to solicit favors or support on any national or international issues affecting the country or countries involved. Yet, another reason may be to participate in the signing of any treaty, agreement or pacts. Last, but not the least, visits may also take place to seek financial assistance or aid for development programs.

    Frequency of visits of the leaders of one country to the other serves as a barometer to measure the strength and weakness of the relationship. One thing, however, is clear: that frequent visits of the leaders of one country to the other for economic reasons do not necessarily mean that the former follows the policy of the donor except where the donor's national interest is directly involved.37

    Geographical distance of the two countries provides more opportunities for the exchange of visit.

    Exchange of visit of the leaders, minister of Niger's and France have been frequent and for multiple purpose. These visits have no doubt immensely contributed towards the development f the special relationship between the two.

    After eight (8) years of the breakdown between Niger and France, which occurred after the military coup in 1974 when the new Head of State, Lt. Colonel Seyni Kountché ordered the withdrawal of French troops from Niamey, Jacques Chirac as a conservative Prime Minister and his minister of cooperation, Jacques Foucart helped Franco-Nigerien relations to return normal.


    In this Wednesday, May 19th, 1982, it was hot, very hot. May is the month more brilliant of the year in the Sahelian countries and particularly in Niger. However, at the occasion of the arrival of French President, François Mitterrand this May 19th, Niamey and its suburbs came out on the main road caring out from the airport to the president of Niger's republic president Seyni Kountché whom the qualities of organizing as it direction of the capacity is known, was personally imposing reception of which he told us that at constitutes «most imposing of style of the CMS. And it is the enthusiastic applause of a population in «Kalangou» punctuated by the «Bororo songs», and of the professional singers of the capital that the train Kountché-Mitterrand arrives at the presidency. FRANCE MAKES HONOR TO NIGER

    The doubt is not allowed. The visit of work and friendship of three days (from May 19th to 21sr, 1982) that carried out President François Mitterrand in Niger is beyond its political character, a sign of consideration, has the place of the mode and to the Nigerien people. Only one fact is enough to corroborate the assertion. Niger constitutes indeed, the first state in Black Africa the French president since his brilliant election in May 1982.

    And this choice of the first socialist president of the 5th French republic is not translated differently than by the strategic poison that Niger occupies in West Africa or they seem to play the leadership role and by reinforcing the diplomatic ties between Niger and France. Besides, during a lunch at the Gaweye Hotel organized in its honor on May 20, the French president, he said, «the Nigerien people and French people must be the builders of a new economic order between the north and the south?» And to add» «Our people must be the carriers and the friends of the hope».

    «I could note after long conversation with the minister of external relations that Niger which faced of the difficulties except, had known to proceed, has the installation of rigorous management and to arrive then at a certain moments has a rare success». For its part, Seyni Kountché stated you chose for this first visit that you rendered in a country classified among the LDCs (Less Developed Countries). This terrible short-cut as you said it, for designing powers among the poor countries... I then to say to you how much these LDCs of Africa are grateful to follow French policies. After greeting and thanking his host for honoring us for his first visit, President Kountché is worried about the permanent tension between the east and the west. This is why he said why. Our world needs more men of good character and with good will. And the realist approach and the dynamic perception that you have relationship between the north and the south makes it possible to you to tackle these problems in peace, with the spirit, the courtesy and necessary patience to find the mean founding and to reinforce the bases of co-operation of each profit for all...

    During his visit, President François Mitterrand accompanied by his wife (who met the Association of the women of Niger (AFN) and of an important delegation attended to one official reception at the «Palais des Congrès», reception during which he appreciated the riches of our cultural patrimony. He also visited the National Museum following by an imposing demonstration of camels and horses before meeting the French colony living in Niger.

    He appropriates to note also that it had a maintenance in swing right round with president Kountché and met the members of the National Council of Development (CND) body which played a legislative rule. While flying away from Niamey to Ivory Coast of Houphouet Boigny, the French president has addressed a long message on the FRANCO-Nigerien relations: «I am convinced that my visit and our exchange of sight as well on the essential problems of international relations as on those interesting your area and your country would not be able to consolidate the solidarity between France and the African countries particularly Niger». FRANCO-NIGEREIEN DECLARATION OF NIAMEY

    The official visit of three days of President François Mitterrand from France in Niger has been focused on a joint official statement called «Franco Nigerien De ration of Niamey» in which the two (2) countries have appreciated the exception quality o their relations. In the bilateral field, the official statement said: «the co-operation between France and Niger done in the respect of the independences, sovereignties and the values that they have in common responds to the aspirations of the French people and the Nigerien people. This positive co-operation made it possible to record beneficial results for the two partners who enjoy in particular some results that it reached in Niger in the principal domains of the rural development, the health or telecommunications.

    The new orientation done to the French policy since one year, and the changes which are accompanied in Niger with the installation of the company of development, open advantages perspectives in its development. In this context, the two countries affirm that will to work with the reinforcement of a mutually advantageous co-operation in solidarity, comprehension and equality. IN THE FIELD OF THE INTERNATION POLITICS

    France and Niger fasten red or the persistence of hearts of tensions in the world and particularly in Africa, affirms that determination to ensure their own safety and their opposition to the founded policies on the use of force or the threat, the attempts of domination and overall the non-respect of the principle in the UN character.

    They consider that such policies endanger peace and international security.

    They denounce the enterprise of subversion and destabilization let against the sovereign states and independent and the foreign interference in the internal affairs.

    They confirm their attachment with the principle of the peaceful judgment of the breakdown among states; to the respect of the independence, of the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of each state and the right of each people to feel free and to choose freely his political regime, economic and social.

    They underline their will to adopt and to apply within the best times by the whole countries of the world their common measure to ensure arms reduction in order to keep the international community in peace. IN THE ECONOMIC FIELD

    France and Niger recognize the inadequacies to the world exigencies today of economic structures financial and technical international structures current.

    They express their serious preoccupations in front of the persistence of the world economic crisis and its disastrous efforts particularly on the fragi8le economies of the developing countries and on those of the less developed countries (LDCs).

    They are worried about the reticence on which express on the necessity to keep out the necessary resources to the financing of the development and enjoy the retained measures by certain countries, the first of which France to mitigate the reduction in the put credit on the hands of AID (Agence Internationale pour le Développement).

    They engage to continue and to diversify their efforts at the international level for the revival of the global negotiations within the framework of the system of the UN for the stabilization of the prices of the raw-materials in order to promote a new international economic order in particular ensuring a reduction of the interval between the countries of the North and those of the South and an economic revival.

    France and Niger, more than ever, after themselves and decided to work together in all the sectors such as immediately or have term, depends on peace in the world. 33


    After eight (8) years of the French troops withdrawal from Niamey, Franco-Nigerien military relations returned to normal. General Seyni Kountché signed again the new Libyan Defense pact. France promised more extensive military support if requested. During Niger's conflict with Libya in 1981, France quietly moved several battalions of combat troops into an area claimed by Muammar Qaddafi, signaling its willingness to protect its interests along Niger's Saharan border and in the country's mining areas.

    During Seyni Kountché era, there was no French Military base in Niger. Yet up till now, Nigerien Armed Forces (FAN) are trained and equipped by the French Army and Armaments Many French officers had served in Niger' Army training such as the «Tondibia Military Camp, close to the capital. And even the «Gendarmerie», the police and Republican Guard forces are concerned. In France, many young Nigerien officers received training such as «Commando Training».

    In the organisation of African Union (Later AU), France seemed to follow the Nigerien lead. Idé Oumarou became the Secretary General of O.A.U. (1984 - 1985) with the French support. Because France behaved that an African from any Francophone countries might take control of the Organization. The French Prime Minister, Jacques Chirac said: «French's support in the Nigerien lead of the O.A.U. indicates that national interest was the determining factor and not eh solidarity of the African countries.» France demanded to all francophone African countries to vote in favor of Idé Oumarou. 39


    1. The Sahara, 30 Août 1961

    2. African Contemporary Record, Vol. 7 (1974 - 1975), P. 725

    3. West Africa, 2nd Sept., 1974, p 1085

    4. W. G. East, «The Geography of Land-locked states», Trano Institute of British Geographers, 28 (1960) Pp, 1 - 22. East has divided land-locked states into four groups. (1) African groups with weak neighbors, (2) Buffer states e.g. Afghanistan and Nepal, (3) Land-locked states dominated by powerful neighbors e.g. Mongolia, Czechoslovakia, Lesotho, (4) Land -locked states respected for their neutrality, e.g. Switzerland.

    5. Thirty-two (32) states ratified the convention of the Freedom of transit Trade at the Barcelona Conference of 1921. Another Conference convened by the U.N. in 1964 reaffirmed the principles of the Barcelona conference.

    6. Olajide Aluko, «Determinants of the Foreign Policy of African states», in Aluko (d.), The foreign policy of African States, Pp. 1 - 18.

    7. Nichole Echard, Etude Socio-economique dans les vallées de l'Ader-Doutchi - Maggia (Paris/Niamey, n.d.), 46 - 7, P. Falgueirettes, C. de Birnin Konni, «R. ann. 1957», February 20, 1958 (ASP Birnin Konni).

    8. Letter from Gov. Ramadier to Professor Gourou, Niamey, Dec. 28, 1955 (AP Maradi); oral sources.

    9. JO. AOF, Mo. 249, July 26, 1900, 313

    10. Sere de Rivières (1965), 234-5.

    11. Ibid. 205

    12. Capt. Granderye (Resident say) to «Commandant Supérieur», Say, February 27, 1900; «Commandant Supérieur (Col. Combes)», to Resident say, St. Louis, March 2, 1900 (both 14 MI 293); «Commandant Nord-Est au Lieut. Gouv. A Kayes», m.d. (1899), (SOM Soudan IV, 8); Rash (1972a), 80; P. Urfer, «R. Tournée Canton de Loga», Dosso, April 20, 1947.

    13. Léopold Kaziendé, «Un episode de l'Histoire de Filingué Procès-Verbal d'une conversation avec Chekou Mayaki», Mss. Niamey. 1937 (consulted by courtesy of the author).

    14. Capt. Angeli to Lieut. Gov. Soudan, Dosso, June 14, 1899 (14 MI 855).

    15. «Région Ouest à Comandant, 3e territ. May 13, 1901; Lieut. Col. Noe, «Rapp. Sur la situation pol. Du 3e territ. Mil. 3e trim. 1902» Niamey, November, 1902 (both ANN).

    16. P. Cambon (French Ambassador in London) to Minister of Foreign Affairs, London, March 12 & May 1, 1902 (SOM Tchad I 2bis)

    17. Destenave (n.d.), 86.

    18. See for instance, two (2) reports by Major Gouraud, Oct. 4, 1901 and June 28, 1902 (ANN & SOM Tchad I, 2bis); Lugard to Secr. State-Colonies, January 2, 1902 (Co 446/30); Noel, «R. sit, 3e trim 1902»; Lieut. Gov. Upper Sen. Niger to Gov., March 26, 1906 (14MI294).

    19. Ibid, Sellier, «Note sur Le peuplement . . . du cercle de Niamey», Rash 91972a), 284; and the reports and works cited in note 148.

    20. Report by Noel cited in Gov. Gal. To Minister, March 13, 1904 (SOM TChad I, 2 bis).

    21. French and Nigerien Military of Foreign Affairs reports, issues of Bulletin de l' Afrique Noire, and Banque Centrale des Etats de Afrique de L' Ouest publications.

    22. Toh, «Recent Macroeconomic Development», Pp. 26, 42.

    23. U.S.A.I.D., «Agricultural sector and the Agricultural Development Office of USAID/Niger» (Niamey, November 1984).

    24. In 1981, for example, Chinese and Arab bilateral aid amounted to nearly 30 percent of total aid received.

    25. World Development Report 1989, Pp. 208, 168, 204. Debt includes disbursed IMF credits and private non-guaranteed loans.

    26. Le Sahel, April 15, 1980.

    27. Africa Confidential, Vol. 13. No. 4, February 18th, 1972, P. 4.

    28. Ibid.

    29. Ibid.

    30. Africa Contemporary Record, Vol. 5 (1972 - 1973), P. 675.

    31. Major Sani Souna Sido, Vice-chairman of the Supreme Military Council, interview, reported in `Le Sahel' see West Africa, 2nd Sept. 1974, P. 1085.

    32. Ibid, 6th May, 1974, P. 546

    33. Ibid,

    34. Ibid, P. 728

    35. West Africa, July 15th, 1975, P. 873

    36. West Africa, Sept. 16th, 1975, P. 1148

    37. Country situation (Niger) (Niamey: U.S.A.I.D, January 1986), Tables A. 7 and A. 10.

    38. Pakistan provides a good illustration: its leaders frequently visit Iran, Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia for economic reasons but its relations with China, North Korea and Vietnam are also friendly.

    39. Le Niger d'Aujourd' hui, No. 002, P. 11 (2004) (Editions JA )


    5.1 SUMMARY

    This work is divided into five (5) chapters, which would be summarized in this chapter in order to bring out the linkage towards the development of this course of study.

    The first chapter centered on the methodology. It introduced the research work, which explores on the attempt to positively utilize the foreign policy of Niger to France under General Seyni Kountché (1974 - 1987) for rapid economic growth and development because of the uranium boom at that time in Niger. It also highlighted on the former regime's foreign policy, on the political breakdown between the new military regime (under General Seyni Kountché) and France as colonial master, and on the normal period of relationship between the two counties. There is the provision for the research problem, research methodology, significance and justification of the study, the theoretical framework was based on the dependency and underdevelopment theory whi9ch picture on the socio-economic and political terrain of most their world countries especially Niger Republic aims and objectives of this study, the hypothesis was based on the impact and historical ties of French colonialism in Niger and the role of France's neo-colonial interest in Niger in shaping Niger's relationship with France under Kountché's and scope and limitation covered the period of 1974-1987.

    The second chapter is centered on the review of literature. This stressed on the general argument of depended and underdevelopment theory as well as other school o thoughts. It went further to drawing a concluding statement on the gap, which this work intends to fill.

    The third chapter reflects Niger republic in all aspects (government, economy, political background, historical background, economy and geography, the different ethnic groups, etc). This is the background to the study.

    The forth chapter elaborate extensively on the project topic (Niger's foreign policy to France under Foreign policy pronouncement since the first republic (under Hamani Diori). In addition, the continuity and change in Niger's foreign policy, the economic, diplomatic, political and military relations with France under Kountché were highlighted with reference.


    We have studied the bilateral relations between Niger as former colony and France as a colonial master on the basis of specified indices of interaction such as political, military, diplomatic and economic.

    Niger's foreign policy was also personality-centered. President Hamani Diori was the principal formulator of Niger's foreign policy. Niger publicly acknowledges the economic and financial contribution of its former colonial master, France. President Hamani Diori wanted to retain Niger's special relationship with France. A larger number of French administrators continued to play an important role in the central administration of Niger long after independence. In 1962, the French Ambassador to Niger was its former governor. Niger found it convenient to employ former French officials since their salaries were paid by the French technical assistance budget. It has been also criticized hat president Hamani Diori as being pro-west and conservative.

    The military rulers led by Lt. Colonel (later General) Seyni Kountché who overthrew the Hamani regime while maintaining cordial relationship with France, have been able to obtain the withdrawal of French troops from Niger. Niger has begun to assert herself whenever questions of national interest arise. Again, this has been possible because of two major elements, i.e. change of the leadership and the uranium exploitation.

    Despite the discovery of uranium by French companies, Niger is still one of the poorest nations in the world. Niger always looks toward Europe, USA and Japan for foreign investment in her projects. The new head of state has seen this attitude as exploitation by France.

    The French military was asked to leave the country but has not affected the special relation existing between the countries. The new military regime didn't change the previous regime's Foreign policy principles and objectives. The noticeable change in the foreign policy practice of Niger during the military regime is the method of pursuing foreign policy objectives. It is now vigorously pursued. Secondly, decision seemed to be taken collectively rather than personally, as was the practice during Hamani Diori's regime. Seyni Kountché said to the French government that «Niger would re-examine the whole uranium question and Niger would increase its share of uranium production and also Niger is free to fix its price».

    Niger's economy was and to a large extent still is a subsistence economy. It's predominantly livestock. Mining was due to start in 1971 with 750 tons to increase gradually up to 1,500 by 1974.The production target has not been achieved due to political reasons. Even them mining company, SOMAIR is controlled by French interest. The Niger government has only invested 20% while French public and private sectors have shared the remaining 80% has been shared by French public and private sector. After the mining agreements, the Seyni Kountché's regime has been able to increase its share to 33%.

    Much of the close relationship, which existed between Niger and France during Seyni Kountché's era, can be explained by the French interest in uranium for their nuclear energy and weapons.

    Many factors pushed Niger's relationship to France during Seyni Kountché's regime. The geographical land locked situation of the country implies the growing relationship. The stains and imitation on the foreign policy of Niger emanated from the nature of poor economic and geographical position of the country, but much of the close relationship that exists between Niger and France is because France is the major trading partner, donor and investor in Niger.

    The diplomatic relations became normal after a period of breakdown. The French president, Francois Mitterrand visited Niger in 1982 and French officers of Army provided training facilities to the cadets of Niger. And France even supported Niger when Idè Oumarou (1984-1985) contested in O.A.U.

    Overall, Niger and France relations during Seyni Kountché's regime, even if strained at the first time, the relations are mutual. And France still remained the major supplier of Niger (about 50%). In 1975, France increased her aid to Niger by one third.


    This should be given a special priority in that, it would help the government of general Seyni Kountché' to properly carry our policies and for effective implementation. It will go a long way in correcting some economic its inherent in the Nigerien state due to the boom of uranium in the years 1980s.

    For the purpose of fostering economic growth and development. IT ranges from the following suggestions:

    There should be effective policies and implementation in elation to the industrial sector. This would help remove the reliance on foreign (French) Industrial facility.

    There should be an effective link between the agriculture and livestock and uranium sector by diversifying the economy.

    There should be negotiation with France in order to build the Kandadji dam, which can supply Niger hydroelectric power to be free from acquiring electricity in Nigeria and which can help for the irrigated cultures and maybe Niger will supply other countries electricity.

    France might encourage Niger to produce nuclear energy from its uranium.

    Government of Niger should increase the revenue allocation to the producing communities, where uranium is located.

    There should be a «Uranium Trust Fund», which can help the population in improving education, having good water supply, health care delivery, roads construction, etc.

    Government should pursue a policy aimed at securing a fair deal for the country from the uranium companies, since the major players are French foreigners.

    There should be non-personal rule in Niger during Kountché's era (dictatorship), which based on personal decision-making (only CMS members were allowed in the decision making).


    1. Offiong, D. A., Imperialism and Dependency Enugu Fourth Dimension Publishers, 1980

    2. Rodney, W., How Europe underdeveloped Africa, Washington D. C. Howard University Press, (1974, p. 21).

    3. Charlick, B.R., Niger Personal Rule and Survival in the Sahel, Boulder and San Francisco, Westview Press, 1991

    4. Fuglestad, F., History of Niger (1850 - 1960), Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1983.

    5. Edmond, R.S., Histoire du Niger, Paris, Berger Levrault, 1965

    6. Edmond, J., Du Niger de Diori Hamani au Gouvernement des militaires (1974 - 1977), Paris, Revue Française d' Etudes Politiques Africanes 148 (1978, May), pp 19 - 44

    7. Olatunde O., regional Co-operation and Integration, London and New York, Longman, 1985

    8. Klotchkoff, J.C., Le Niger d' Aujourd' hui, Paris, Editions Jeune Afrique. 1982

    9. Morgenthau, Ruth S., Political parties in French Speaking West Africa, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1964

    10. Thiam D., The Foreign Policy of African States, London Phoenix House, 1965

    11. Bouzou A., Niger's Foreign Policy, Dakar, NEA, 1984


    1. Africa Confidential, 1967 - 1975, London, Miramoor Publications Ltd.

    2. Africa Diary, 1961 - 1977, Delhi, Africa's Publications

    3. Jeune Afrique, 1965 - 1976, Paris, Publications Elysées

    4. West Africa (London)

    5. Africa Contemporary Record (London)


    1. Le Sahel

    2. Sahel Dimanche

    3. Le Soleil


    1. La Coopération Française au Niger

    2. Niger and France, March Forward Towards a greater Tomorrow, Pamphlet. Niamey: December 1983


    1. Discours et messages du General Kountché, Le Sahel, Vol. 20, No 244, 1980, pp 48 - 54

    2. La mort de Kountché, Jeune Afrique, no 66, p 8, 1987

    3. East W.G., «The Geography of land-locked states», Trano Institute of British geographies, 28, 1960.









    1.1 INTRODUCTION 15-4






    1.7 HYPOTHESIS 7



    1.10 REFERENCES 8







    3.1 COUNTRY: NIGER 16-17



    3.4 RELIGIONS 19

    3.5 BORDERLANDS 20



    3.8 GEOGRAPHY 23-24


    3.10 NIGER MILITARY 25

    3.11 FOREIGN RELATIONS 25-26

    3.12 NIGER'S ECONOMY (FACTS) 26-29


    3.14 COMMUNICATION 29-30



    4.0 NIGER'S FOREIGN POLICY TO FRANCE (1974 - 1987) 31

    4.1 INTRODUCTION 31-33



    4.3.1 LAND-LOCKED STATE 36-37


    4.3.3 NIGER'S DEPENDENCY 42-47



    4.5.1 FRENCH AID TO NIGER 52

    4.5.2 NIGER'S URANIUM 52-54





    REFERENCES 62-65


    5.1 SUMMARY 66-67

    5.2 CONCLUSION 67-70

    5.3 RECOMMENDATION 70-71