Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Niger poll and food update

Reuters reports that observers from the EU, the AU and ECOWAS have all said they are satisfied with the way in which the elections ran. The country now waits for the results. If there is no outright winner, a run-off will be held in March, in time for the military to hand back power before the April deadline they set themselves in the new constitution.

In other Niger news, the FAO's February GIEWS* country brief reports a satisfactory food supply in the country after a bumper harvest in 2010. This is great for a country that has so recently experienced severe food shortages. Of course, the people on the ground are not out of the woods yet. The food shortages ravaged personal savings, left many people heavily indebted and resulted in widespread loss of livestock (see my rant on this particular issue) and other assets. Because of this, the country is still listed as one of the "countries in crisis requiring external assistance for food'. The focus of aid efforts at the moment is to restore household purchasing power as a matter of urgency, so that Nigeriens are able to access the food that is available domestically - also necessary to keep local markets functioning and support further production in coming seasons.

*GIEWS - Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture

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