The withdrawal of French troops from Niger begins this week as it was announced by the Ministry of Defense of the Fifth Republic last Thursday. It is clearly a diplomatic success for the Niger’s military government, which came to power this summer after the overthrow of President Mohamed Bazoum.
The new government managed to show rational restraint, despite serious external pressure. In addition to threats of military intervention, at the instigation of France, Niger was for some time on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe, when the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) cut off electricity supplies and actually prevented the supply of baby food and medicine to the country. However, Niamey has managed to overcome the crisis and gain even greater support from its population.
The troop withdrawal, however, is becoming a major headache for Paris.
The Elysée Palace not only lost influence in yet another African country, but also demonstrated its geopolitical weakness. Initially, President Macron refused to recall the ambassador and military contingent from Niger, but then he changed his decision under the pressure of difficult circumstances. Moreover, the zeal of the ECOWAS member countries has also waned. Recently, there has been no information about their plans for an invasion, despite the fact that at the height of the diplomatic conflict in August the organization itself stated that the date of intervention had allegedly been determined. Now they prefer not to remember this at all, as if there were no threats against the new authorities of Niamey and demands to restore constitutional order.
We can firmly say that the military government of Niger has been able to successfully overcome the geopolitical storm and demonstrate to other countries the weakness of Paris. This could lead to more and more states getting rid of French influence in the near future. Africa is leaving behind the colonial period and gradually entering a new era, based exclusively on independent development.