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Policy & History

U.S. Relations With Niger

U.S.-Niger Relations

The United States established diplomatic relations with Niger in 1960, following its independence from France. U.S. relations with Niger since its independence have generally been close and friendly. In 2010, a military junta took power after overthrowing the former president, who had tried to extend his rule unconstitutionally. Niger has taken important steps to consolidate and advance democratic institutions.  Ruling party candidate Bazoum Mohamed won a February 2021 presidential run-off, taking office in early April. The transition from former president Mahamadou Issoufou, who voluntarily stepped down after two terms, to Bazoum, was Niger’s first handover from one democratically elected president to the next. Security threats emanating from Libya, the Lake Chad Basin, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Mali have hampered the government’s efforts to improve Niger’s economy, strengthen governance, promote human rights, and protect fundamental freedoms. Niger is a critical actor in regional efforts to counter terrorism and promote stability as a key member of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) and the G-5 Sahel and peacekeeping contributor to missions in Mali and Central African Republic.

U.S. Assistance to Niger

U.S. foreign assistance to Niger plays a critical role in preserving stability in a country vulnerable to political volatility, terrorism and the spread of violent extremism, food insecurity, and regional instability. U.S. assistance seeks to continue to improve food security, build counterterrorism and peacekeeping capacity, sustain security sector reform, support productive agricultural enterprises, promote democracy and good governance, support justice sector reform, improve health and education, and strengthen security sector education and training. USAID Niger was elevated to a full mission in August 2020, and Niger is a Feed the Future target country under the Global Food Security Strategy and a President’s Malaria Initiative country. A $437 million Millennium Challenge Corporation compact, entered into force in January 2018, aims to strengthen Niger’s agricultural and livestock sectors by improving water availability through investments in large and small scale irrigation systems, rehabilitating 300 kilometers of important market access roads, restoring some 50,000 hectares of pasturelands, and modernizing public livestock marketing infrastructure and veterinary services. Niger is one of six countries participating in the Security Governance Initiative and has been identified as a Counterterrorism Partnership Fund partner nation.

Bilateral Economic Relations

Niger is one of the the least developed countries in the world. Its largely agrarian and subsistence-based economy is frequently disrupted by extended droughts and seasonal flooding common to the Sahel region of Africa. U.S. exports to Niger include vehicles, machinery, aircraft, and fats and oils, and rice. Niger is eligible for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act.. The United States signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), of which Niger is a member.

Niger’s Membership in International Organizations

Niger and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization, International Organization for Migration, World Food Programme and the United Nations Security Council (a two-year seat for Niger from January 2020-2022).

Bilateral Representation

Principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.

History of the U.S. and Niger

Summary

U.S. relations with Niger have generally been close and friendly since Niger attained independence. The U.S. Peace Corps program in Niger, which started in 1962, currently has about 130 volunteers in country and celebrated its 45th anniversary in September 2007. Although USAID does not have a Mission in Niger, $30 million in annual official aid is administered through American and local non-governmental organizations. Niger maintains a special relationship with France and enjoys close relations with its West African neighbors. It is a charter member of the African Union and the West African Monetary Union and also belongs to the Niger River and Lake Chad Basin Commissions, the Economic Community of West African States, the Nonaligned Movement, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

  • U.S. Recognition of Niger’s Independence, 1960.

The United States recognized the Republic of Niger on August 3, 1960, in a congratulatory message from President Dwight D. Eisenhower to Prime MinisterHamani Diori. Niger had been previously under French sovereignty.

Diplomatic Relations

  • Establishment of Diplomatic Relations, 1960.

Diplomatic relations were established on August 3, 1960, when Donald R. Norland presented credentials as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim, August 2, 1960, to take effect the following day.

  • Establishment of the American Embassy in Niger, 1961.

The American Embassy in Niamey was established on February 3, 1961, with Joseph W. Schutz as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim.

Resources

  • Department of State Country Fact Sheet: Niger
  • Department of State Country Information: Niger