Germany suspends aid to Niger, cooperation after coup

Berlin makes decision after the European Union and France cut financial aid to the West African nation last week.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (L) speaks during a joint press conference with Niger's Chief of Diplomacy Hassoumi Massoudou (R) in Niamey on April 14, 2022
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock speaks during a press conference with Niger's chief of diplomacy, Hassoumi Massoudou, in Niamey [File: Hama Boureima/AFP]

Germany has become the latest Western power to suspend financial aid and halt cooperation with Niger after last week’s military coup.

A German foreign ministry spokesperson said at a news briefing that all direct support payments to the central government of Niger would be suspended until further notice

“We are in close contact with our partners on how to proceed,” Jochen Flasbarth, Germany’s state secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, said in a tweet, adding that how the African Union and Economic Community of West African States respond is important to Berlin.

On Wednesday, General Abdourahamane Tiani, the commander of Niger’s presidential guard, declared himself the head of a transitional government after his soldiers took President Mohamed Bazoum into custody.

The former French colony and Germany, had resumed development cooperation discussions in 2021, and Berlin committed about 120 million euros ($132.36m) to Niger over a two-year period.

This aid focussed on maintaining peaceful and inclusive societies in Niger, transforming the country’s food and agriculture systems and improving health policies, according to Flasbarth’s ministry .

The European Union cut all financial and security support to Niger last week.

“In addition to the immediate cessation of budget support, all cooperation actions in the domain of security are suspended indefinitely with immediate effect,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement on Saturday.

According to its website, the EU had allocated 503 million euros ($554m) from its budget to improve governance, education and sustainable growth in Niger from 2021 to 2024.

Last week German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in a tweet: “Where the military seizes power with violence, it harms its country.”

The German military had been training Niger’s special forces with about 150 soldiers since 2018 but wrapped up that mission at the end of 2022.

This year, Germany said it intended to deploy up to 60 soldiers to Niger as part of an EU operation designed to support the government in Niamey in the build-up of its forces.

Source: News Agencies