Niger Is Part of the Revolt of the Global South
The July 26 coup in Niger is the latest manifestation of the rejection of the West’s Malthusian policy sweeping over the global South. It is the fourth coup in West Africa, that has nearly liberated francophone Africa from France. On Aug. 6, Niger’s military leaders addressed a rally of tens of thousands of supporters in the national stadium. The same day, in neighboring Nigeria, the Senate refused to give President Bola Tinubu the authorization required to deploy the Nigerian military, one of the largest in Africa, as part of a military intervention by the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) aimed at restoring deposed Niger President Mohamed Bazoum to power. The collapse of this military intervention demonstrates that Africans are not willing to kill Africans for the benefit of their former colonial masters.
One of General Abdourahmane Tchiani’s first acts after assuming the interim presidency was to suspend security cooperation with France and order Paris to withdraw within 30 days its 1,500 troops who have been formally deployed to fight jihadist terrorists. Niger is also the last hub of the U.S. Africa Command in Western Sahel, and hosts the largest U.S. military drone base in Africa as well as 1,000 servicemen.
Niger has suspended uranium exports, which now cover 15% of France’s needs, 25% of Europe’s, and 5% globally. This directly affect the French mining company, Orano. Niger is also rich in other resources including gold, oil and gas, which Chinese companies are involved in developing.
Three other coups in francophone West Africa preceded that in Niger: Mali (Aug. 2020), Guinea (Sept. 2021) and Burkina Faso (Jan. 2022). All three have cut security ties with France and sent all French and U.S. troops home, based there on the pretext of fighting terrorist jihadi groups. All three sent high level delegations to the recent Russia-Africa Summit in St. Petersburg and all three enjoy investments from China in infrastructure, mining and hydrocarbon projects. While all three have had their membership in ECOWAS suspended, they have declared full support, militarily and politically, to Niger.
These are not the usual stereotype of corrupt military coups, but the emergence of a new Pan Africanism free of the dominance of the ”international institutions” and the former colonial powers. This is reflected in Burkina Faso where President Ibrahim Traore, a former army captain, attended the Russia-Africa summit and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In one of his first acts as President, he named as Prime Minister Apollinaire de Tambela, a law professor and political activist, who was an ardent follower of Thomas Sankara, the Marxist Pan Africanist military officer who ruled from 1983 until his assassination in 1987. Tambela, who has been tasked by Traore to oversee the process of the ”refoundation of the nation”, is a strong supporter of increasing economic cooperation with Moscow and has called for founding a joint venture bank with Russia. His first overseas visits were to Iran, Venezuela and Nicaragua. He has also promoted the idea of creating a pan Africanist federation, initially involving Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea.
Such a federation, if it included Niger, would form a contiguous swath of territory stretching halfway across the African continent from the Atlantic coast to Chad, and encompassing a population of nearly 80 million people.
In Mali, the Interim President Assimi Goita led the Mali delegation to the Russia Africa summit and met with President Putin. His Prime Minister, Choguel Maiga, a graduate of the Institute of Telecommunications in Moscow, has strongly supported expanding ties with Russia.