Monday, 23 May 2011

Niger waits for aid flows to resume

When former president Mamadou Tandja changed the constitution of Niger to extend his rule, the country's largest donor, the EU, froze aid. After the coup in 2010, the EU promised to restore aid flows provided the country was returned to civilian rule by March 2011. The newly elected civilian president has now taken office, but there has been no word yet from the EU on the resumption of aid flows. Aid totally more than 450 million was originally earmarked for the country between 2008 and 2013.

Niger, which last year faced a severe food shortage is still battling serious food insecurity, as well as dealing with broader development challenges. The country is one of the poorest in the world, despite extensive mineral wealth. 43% of the population (2007, World Bank) is estimated to live on less than US$1.25 a day. In bad years, this figure is much higher. The country also now faces a refugee crisis. Despite this,
Niger's government said the lower projected spending in 2011 would not affect its forecast for internal funds allocated to combat poverty and improve security and infrastructure.

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