Last updated in April 2018
For many years the traditionally good bilateral relations between Germany and the Niger were focused on development cooperation. However, as a result of the European migration and refugee crisis and the fragile security situation in the West African region, the two countries have diversified their ties and dramatically increased their links since the start of 2016. The most visible sign of this new relationship is the close succession of visits by high-ranking German politicians to the Niger’s capital, Niamey. These included visits by Germany’s then Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (together with his French counterpart at the time, Jean-Marc Ayrault) in May 2016, by Economic Cooperation and Development Minister Gerd Müller in August 2016, by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel in both October and December 2016 and by Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen in July 2017. In return, the Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou visited Berlin again in 2016 and 2017.
The Federal Republic of Germany opened an Embassy in Niamey soon after the Niger gained independence in 1960, and is held in high esteem as an early development cooperation partner. The German Embassy in Niamey was reopened in late summer 2002 after being closed for nearly three years.
Since 1962, Germany has made available more than 750 million euros in bilateral technical and financial cooperation. In addition to its own activities, the Federal Government also provides financial support for the work of German non-governmental organisations in the Niger, which has expanded remarkably since 2005.
German engagement has increased significantly in connection with the 2016 visits by Economic Cooperation and Development Minister Müller and Federal Chancellor Merkel. At the intergovernmental negotiations in 2017, Germany nearly doubled its commitments to the Niger for the current period (2018-2020) compared to the previous period (2014-2017), pledging 115.5 million euros in support for the next three years. It pledged an additional 50 million euros at a donors’ roundtable meeting held in Paris in December 2017. German development cooperation with the Niger continues to focus on decentralisation and good governance as well as productive agriculture and food security. Germany is also supporting projects in the fields of health care and basic education as well as promoting alternative livelihoods as a way to help reduce the dependence of people in the Agadez region on migration. Germany’s programmes are focused mainly on the Tillabéri, Tahoua and Agadez regions.
In addition, the Federal Foreign Office is funding projects to foster stability and maintain peace, including a border management project and a police training project, as well as a multi-annual regional programme run by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to assist migrants and facilitate their return and re-integration, and to raise awareness of the dangers they face as a result of human smuggling. This IOM programme is co-financed by the EU Trust Fund for Africa.
As part of its humanitarian assistance, Germany regularly provides funds to combat the repeated food crises in the region. Its emergency aid contributions for the Niger were increased dramatically from the end of October 2016 in connection with the severe humanitarian emergency in the Lake Chad region. In addition, German non-governmental organisations and political foundations are active in the Niger. The NGOs focus on humanitarian projects, while the political foundations, in particular the Hanns Seidel Foundation and the Konrad‑Adenauer‑Stiftung, pursue projects to build democratic capacities.
The Niger security sector is receiving support in the areas of logistics and military engineering as part of the Capacity Building in Support of Security and Development initiative. One new element in bilateral relations is the presence of German soldiers in the Niger. An air transport base has been established at Niamey airport to facilitate medical evacuations and provide logistical support for the enlarged German MINUSMA contingent in Gao in northern Mali. This step was decided on early in 2016, since when the base has become operational and a status of forces agreement concluded.
The principal bilateral agreements in force between Germany and the Niger are:
- Agreement on the Promotion of Investments of 29 October 1964
- Agreement regarding Technical Cooperation of 18 June 1977
This text is intended as a source of basic information. It is regularly updated. No liability can be accepted for the accuracy or completeness of its contents.