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Niger, one of the world’s poorest nations, has been compelled to make substantial budget cuts following international sanctions imposed in the aftermath of a military coup that occurred in July. In a televised statement, the junta-led government announced that the initial budget of 3.29 trillion CFA francs ($5.3 billion) for 2023 has been significantly reduced to 1.98 trillion CFA francs, though specific details regarding where these reductions will be applied were not disclosed.

The coup, which unfolded on July 26th, saw the detention of President Mohamed Bazoum by the presidential guard and garnered condemnation from international bodies such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the European Union, and the United States. As a result, these entities imposed sanctions, froze assets, and suspended aid to Niger.

These sanctions, combined with a trade blockade, have led to a surge in food prices and a shortage of crucial goods, including life-saving medicines. Surprisingly, despite the hardship, there appears to be substantial domestic support for the junta, as many Nigerien citizens had grown disillusioned with the challenges and perceived corruption of the Bazoum regime.

Niger, situated in the arid Sahara Desert region, holds the distinction of being the world’s seventh-largest producer of uranium, a critical resource used for nuclear energy and cancer treatment. However, the nation grapples with widespread poverty and enduring security challenges emanating from violent extremist groups. The country heavily depends on foreign aid, with initial projections suggesting that around 40% of the 2023 budget was expected to be financed by external partners.

The impact of these budget reductions on Niger’s already fragile economy and its path to recovery in the post-coup landscape remains uncertain. The nation faces the dual challenges of international isolation and internal support for the junta, making its future trajectory unpredictable.

Source: African news

By: Montel Kamau
Serrari Financial Analyst
7th October, 2023

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