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Niger, Mali: Hunger, famine or both

Kidal Region dead herds

Hopefully by now everyone knows that parts of West Africa, especially pockets of Chad and Niger, are struggling with the worst food shortages since 2005. Alex Thurston reports that international humanitarian agencies, as well as increasingly concerned governments, are now…

Niger: Innovative reforms amid famine

From 2005: “Drought has turned farmland into useless dirt…” Image via Wikipedia An unsigned editorial from Le Pays (Ouagadougou): A quite good reflection on the educational and other restrictions coming for future governments in Niger, but tying the famine. The…

AQIM: More hostage stories

Philomène Kaboré and her husband Sergio Cicala have given interviews regarding their captivity: she having been released some time ago, and he Friday the 16th. They were taken in Mauritania, near the border with Mali, on…

Mali: Creeping famine in the north

Issikta blog republishes an urgent appeal from the mayors of Adielhoc and Tinzawaten communes in Kidal Region, northeast Mali. In a land where seasonally migrating animal herds are the economic foundation, there are reports of %40 of herds starving for…

Niger: Who’s in and out in the Regions?

As I noted on the 10th of March, the CSRD junta in Niger has replaced all the civilian Region Governors with military men to administer local affairs during the transition. We now have the full list, and while I for one hate to see any military governing, a careful look at the men (all men) coming and going in Niger’s Regions gives us an opportunity to examine what’s going on behind the scenes, and what it augurs for the future.

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Niger: Did the coup sink the AREVA deal? No.

I.S. Gaoh of LE TEMOIN argues that the just announced scaling back of Areva's Imouraren mine schedule shows that backers of the coup (Hama Amadou?) were part of an agreement that AREVA would get a better uranium deal if Tandja was overthrown. This is built on the false assumption that what Tandja said about his deal was accurate, that it was some sort of hardball defense of Niger's interests (a portion of the ore to be sold on the market by Niger, more Nigerien staff). When in fact, the real hardball was likely more cash upfront to Tandja, on top of the 1.2 billion Euros upfront announced. Since the details are not public, we'll never know, unless the CSRD releases them, as they are unlikely to do. This would embarrass Areva (ergo, the French government) and likely mean Niger would have to repay the money Tandja took.

Gaoh then says that the junta must break the deal now, and go after China or other neocolonial patrons to break France's grip before the next (corrupt) government.

Togo: Oppostion promises “popular uprising”

Protestors confront police in Lome, Togo

The headlines from Lome, Togo are tension inducing. For Togolese or those with family there, it must be excruciating. It appears that President and dictator's son Fauré Gnassingbé has been elected, while the main opposition leader vowed struggle: “We will launch a popular uprising until victory is ours.”

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