EU agrees to restore development aid to Niger


The European Union agreed to lift a ban on development aid to Niger, responding to the ending of military rule in the uranium-rich West African state that struggles with poverty and hunger.

Niger’s biggest donor, the EU had halted aid in 2009 after former president Mamadou Tandja changed the constitution to extend his rule.

Tandja was toppled in a military coup in 2010 and a presidential election in March this year restored civilian rule, reports Reuters.
“I am very satisfied with the return of democracy in Niger, through a very successful process of transition,” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement after a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg.

Under current EU funding plans, Niger should benefit from more than 450 million euros ($640 million) worth of aid between 2008 and 2013. Nearly 3 million people are estimated to face food shortages there this year.