Briefing Notes & Working Documents
In his most recent analytical note, research fellow Antonin Tisseron from the Thomas More Institute, an independent European think tank, invites us to change perspective and discover the fight against terrorism from a Nigerien viewpoint. His analysis sheds light on the deteriorating relationship between Niger and France. Drawing on about 60 interviews with key players from civil society and Niamey-based foreigners, the paper highlights a significant perception gap: While Nigerien authorities are increasing the strength of the armed forces, ordinary Nigeriens mostly think that Nigerien authorities, Westerners and their “fight against terrorism” are aiming at the wrong target. "Niger engaging in war is useless. It is development, education, health that could have allowed us to progress further", notes a PhD student at Abdou Moumouni University in Niamey. France is seen as responsible for the many difficulties faced by the people of Niger. Far from being an ally, it would be at best a partner defending its interests above all - at the expense of the sovereignty of Niger and without seeking reciprocity – and  at worst an opponent hiding its real intentions of domination and control. The author makes several forward-looking proposals: “The first is to engage in a sincere discourse on the mistake that was the military intervention in Libya in 2011 and the interests, priorities, and with respect to its partners, the limits of France’s action. The second is to pay greater attention to youth and civil society, to their resentments and expectations, in particular in terms of matching the values invoked and the policies deployed, but also with regard to education or development. The third effort, which may be the main one, stems from the need to change mentalities.”