Niger Faces Deeper Economic Woes as Default on Debt Payments Persists


Niger’s economic woes deepen as it defaults on debt payments once again, further exacerbating the challenges stemming from the post-coup period. The recent default amounts to 13.4 billion CFA francs ($22m), adding to a total default of $519m since the July coup, which led to the country’s suspension from regional financial markets.

The West African monetary union debt management agency, UMOA-Titres, revealed Niger’s failure to repay principal debt on February 16, marking the latest in a series of missed payments since August. This default occurs amidst sanctions imposed by ECOWAS and UEMOA following the coup orchestrated by members of the Nigerien presidential guard that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.

The repercussions of the sanctions have been severe, with the suspension of international aid, closure of borders by neighboring countries, and the cutoff of electricity supply from Nigeria, which accounted for a significant portion of Niger’s energy needs. Additionally, financial transactions with West African nations were halted, and Niger’s external assets were frozen, exacerbating the economic strain.

Despite these challenges, Niger’s government has shown resilience, consolidating power amid widespread hardship. Last month, Niger, along with Mali and Burkina Faso, announced their withdrawal from ECOWAS, forming the Association of Sahel States (ASS) in September. There are also discussions about discontinuing the use of the CFA, the currency of UEMOA, further indicating a shift in regional dynamics.

These developments underscore the deepening economic and political crisis in Niger, highlighting the urgency for sustainable solutions to restore stability and address the pressing needs of the population.