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Chad and Niger

Niger and Chad
Satellite view of Lake Chad. Photo: Flickr/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Chad and Niger are two states classified by the United Nations Development Programme as ‘spill-over countries’ for conflict in Mali and Nigeria. Each is actively embroiled in regional conflict dynamics as well as confronting its own set of internal challenges.

While being at the forefront of counterterrorism operations in West and Central Africa, with thousands of troops pledged to the Multi-National Joint Task Force fighting Boko Haram, to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and to the G-5 Sahel, Chad is increasingly looking within its own borders. The state is grappling with drastically reduced oil revenues, the highest casualty figures for peacekeeping soldiers in the region, an influx of thousands of Nigerian refugees and growing civil unrest from economic strains. Despite its commitment to regional stability as a military and diplomatic power player, Chad experiences internal issues of corruption, nepotism, little political turnover, restrictions on free expression and a troubled justice system, which could escalate the security situation in the medium term.

Niger is witnessing a concerning security situation on three fronts. In the southeast, the Diffa Region and Lake Chad is a refuge for Boko Haram supporters and splinter groups, some with closer ties to the Islamic State (IS). The northeast border with Libya (the Salvador Pass) is rife with illegal trafficking and displaced combatants. In addition, spill-over disputes around the Malian region of Gao affect Niger’s stability and community disputes to the west. Niger’s efforts to diffuse the sparks of conflict—namely troop contributions to joint security forces—have not extended beyond the military and have left the nation vulnerable to recurring political clashes and development grievances. In the justice sector, Niger has committed in its Plan of Action for 2016-2025 to strengthen the rule of law with regard to protecting and promoting human rights, abolishing the imprisonment of journalists and improving access to education, healthcare and nutrition. The Issoufou administration is also facing pressure from the international community to abolish the death penalty.

With such demands coming from a variety of threats, the design of the security and justice programmes should ensure that all segments of the population are carefully considered–including, specifically, young people and women.  

SIPRI’s project aims to better understand local perceptions of short and long-term efforts to promote stability and improve access to security and justice in Chad and Niger.

Research staff

Dr Issaka Souaré  is an Associate Senior Researcher working with SIPRI’s Sahel and West Africa Programme.
Dr Shourjya Deb is a Researcher in the SIPRI Sahel and West Africa Programme.
Annelies Hickendorff is a Research Assistant with SIPRI’s Sahel and West Africa Programme.
Louise Edgren is a Research Assistant in charge of Budget and Finance with the Sahel/West Africa Programme.