Niger coup: Belgium won't suspend development aid
Belgium will not suspend development aid to Niger, the minister for Development Cooperation said, after the country's military overthrew the democratically elected president, Mohamed Bazoum, on Wednesday. However, all military cooperation between the two countries will be suspended.
On Friday, General Abdourahamane Tchiani declared himself the new leader of Niger, leading the EU and France to cut off all financial aid to Niger. Belgium, however, will continue to provide development aid, minister for Development Cooperation Caroline Gennez told Radio 1 on Sunday. She said the money would not end up in the hands of the coup plotters because Belgium does not give direct budgetary support to regimes.
"We never support regimes. We support local people in terms of development cooperation"
"We never support regimes. We support local people in terms of development cooperation," Gennez said. "Our projects are about education for girls, sustainable agriculture and healthcare, and we implement them through our development agency Enabel."
Moreover, the situation in Niger is still very unclear, she said. "We will try to monitor the situation very closely on a daily basis, and we will review or intensify our projects depending on the outcome."
Belgium's development aid to Niger amounts to 65 million euros of investment in livestock, public health, education and climate. The country will suspend all military cooperation with Niger, Gennez said. This cooperation included Belgian soldiers training local forces to help them fight jihadist insurgents.
Nigerien cadets parade during a rally in support of the coup in Niger, 30 July 2023 © AFP