Scrambling for Niger

The West African country of Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world, and is a very desert-rich environment. Niger experienced a recent coup d’etat in July 2023 – the democratic president, Mohamed Bazoum, was overthrown in order to stop the inevitable decline of the country. This country, which is about two times the size of Texas, is gaining a great deal of interest from many people around the world. One of the biggest reasons why is due to its rich resources. Niger is the world’s fifth largest producer of uranium, and uranium is one of the key elements that is propelling interest here.

In this episode of Intel Insights, we’ll take a look at why many are scrambling for Niger, and the increasing criticism surrounding the exploitation of uranium by two major Chinese companies. We’ll also dive deeper into the chaotic history with many colonial atrocities experienced in Niger, as well as the current mission of the United States there. More questions are arising regarding the effectiveness of the mission in Niger, and if the anti-terrorist operations will be successful.

Many ‘Russian flags’ are also showing up in this country, and their desire to control more of the uranium production there is apparent. The Russians and the Chinese have a partnership with no limits, and they really want nothing more than the dethroning of the United States and its Western partners. One way to do that is to take resources from Western governments and Western-oriented governments, so they would be in charge of a large portion of mining and agricultural activities. Clearly, a great power competition is happening as we’re scrambling for Niger. With everything going on, there may very well be some repercussions on a global scale for the future of Africa, and also, for the future of gaining resources around the world. 

Interesting Fact: 

While Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world, it’s very rich in resources – it’s actually the world’s fifth largest producer of uranium.

Episode Timestamps:

  • Why certain people are very interested in Niger right now {1:43}
  • Increasing criticism and resentment surrounding the Areva and OranoCycle operations in Niger {6:19}
  • The chaotic history of Niger, and how it came to be what it is today {8:09}
  • The initial development of a military base by the U.S. in Agadez, Niger, and what has evolved since then {16:35}
  • Assessing the current mission of the U.S. in Niger {18:43}
  • The many ‘Russian flags’ showing up in Niger, which could lead to increased control of the uranium production there {21:50}

“The United States has stopped its security cooperation efforts with the armed forces of Niger – there’s no training that’s going on. We’re kind of in a dilemma, because if we don’t keep that mission going, and if we don’t pay attention to what groups like AQIM, Islamic State, and Boko Haram are doing in these areas, then we open up other parts of the African continent to possible terrorist activity.”

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