President Mahamadou Issoufou, meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Niamey, said Monday that Niger needs a “Marshall Plan” to promote development.
Issoufou said he believed Niger needed a sum of €1 billion just to fight illegal migration alone, reports Deutsche Welle.
He added the €1.88 billion euros in the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, agreed on last November, isn’t enough for its intended use of stemming the tide of African migrants and refugees illegally traveling to Europe – much less while fighting terrorism and climate change impacts.
His remarks came at a press conference as the leaders concluded talks on refugees and migrants, many of whom are fleeing conflict in the Lake Chad region, flooding both Niger and ultimately the European Union alike.
Merkel’s visit comes just days after a refugee camp near Tazalit, in western Niger, was attacked. At least 22 soldiers guarding a camp of 4,000 Malian refugees died in the incident, underscoring the need for security that Merkel has promised to support. Germany announced its plans for a base in Niger last week.
More than 500 German soldiers are currently stationed in Mali with the United Nations MINUSMA mission, and the EU assists with training Malian soldiers. Merkel visited Mali on Sunday for similar talks with President Ibrahim Boucabar Keïta, and will head to an Ethiopia in crisis for her final stop.
While stressing the importance of security and education during her African visits, Merkel has been cautious about Europe’s financial pledge and didn’t openly embrace the Marshall Plan vision.
Issoufou has used the analogy before, to describe the benefits of investing in Niger as a win-win for both his nation and the West, on the basis of the historical model in post-World War II Europe.
Image: AP File Photo