Sunday, February 21, 2010

While you were out...

... apparently there was a coup in Niger.

The international community responds by suspending aid; The Center for Global Development's Jenny Aker argues that might not be the best idea:

"There are both legal and theoretical reasons for cutting off aid after political instability. Legally, the U.S. State Department is bound to suspend aid if a coup occurs... but reality is quite complex. After drought and pest infestations last year, Niger is currently in the midst of a potential severe food crisis... If the military does remove Tandja from power, it will take some time for them to set up elections; in 1999, elections took place six months after the April coup. But the people of Niger can’t wait six months."

I agree in the main, and would also point to the question of what cutting off aid really accomplishes. Is the threat of all halting donor-funded development projects really supposed to hit the coup plotters where it hurts, or deter coups is other places in the future? Or is it just an empty way of putting an exclamation point on the international community's collective expression of disapproval?

Niger has entered into a couple of high profile oil and uranium deals with the Chinese government and a French parastatal recently. Instead of suspending development projects until they hold elections, how about banning mineral imports from Niger instead?


  1. Benjamin Linkow! Glad to see you are blogging and I think it is a great blog name...even if it doesnt really rhyme. I hope all is well. Michael Grossman

  2. Hi Michael, good to hear from you! Not really rhyming is a small price to pay to be able to work in a reference to 80s hair metal, don't you think?

  3. Yes, I do think. I am glad to see your blog and hoping that, as some might say, it will make some Noize.