French troops set to withdraw from Niger

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France will start to withdraw its troops from Niger this week.

Relations between Niger and France – the former colonial ruler which maintained a military presence in the country, have broken down.

Since the military coup in July, Paris decision to pull 1500 troops from Niger will reportedly leave a massive gap in Western efforts to counter insurgency in the Sahel.

The move comes after weeks of pressure from Niger’s junta and anti-French demonstrations.

This will likely feed into Western perceptions over Russia’s expanding influence in Africa.

The mercenary outfit, The Wagner Group is present in neighbouring Mali, following coups there.

Colonel Amadou Abdramane from the Council for Safeguard of Homeland (CNSP) elaborates.

“It should be pointed out to national and international public opinion that since the announcement of this withdrawal plan, France has continued to deploy its forces in several ECOWAS countries as part of the preparations for an aggression against Niger that it is planning in collaboration with this community organisation.”

“Exit was a matter of time”

Director of Strategic Stabilisation, Aneliese Bernard, says France’s exit from Niger was a matter of time and the West needs to rethink its relationship with Africa to remain relevant.

“France has already left Mali and Burkina Faso, so when the CNSP Junta in Niger requested that France also leave Niger, I think there was a little bit of a ticking time bomb there in terms of when that was actually going to happen, and it wasn’t really a question of if; but rather of when. The problem is that these three countries have come to terms with the fact that they are not okay with the way France went about its almost fifteen or ten years at least of its counterterrorism attempts there.”

Coups don’t bode well for Africa

Businessman Jonathan Oppenheimer is of the view that coups don’t bode well for the continent.

“It’s absolutely concerning and international perspective with coups. It is not good, it creates uncertainty, it increases premiums however, it’s important to understand the causes of these coups and for me – the causes are created by increasing population and very little balance sheet growth in the countries concerned like Niger which has gone from 2.5 million population and almost 70 million by 2050. You see very little enterprises which provide opportunities to people in the future.”

Niger has also accepted Algeria’s offer of mediation to help resolve its political crisis.

More details in the report below: