Supporting the African Union Border Programme – Niger
Title: Supporting the African Union Border Programme (AUBP) – Niger components
Commissioned by: German Federal Foreign Office (AA)
Lead executing agency: Secrétariat Permanent de la Commission Nationale des Frontières (SP-CNF)
Overall term: 2017-2018
Africa’s colonial history has led to confusion and in some cases violent conflicts over national boundaries in many states following independence. In Niger, the current tense political situation in the neighbouring countries Libya, Mali and Nigeria is further intensifying the security situation on the border. In addition, poor working and living conditions are often undermining the rule of law in marginalised border areas. Corruption is widespread, particularly at border crossings and in connection with irregular migration.
Effective sustainable border management prevents conflicts, reduces migration-related corruption and promotes integration and development.
GIZ has been supporting integrated border management in Africa since 2008 on behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office. Currently, the programme is working with selected national and bilateral structures in the field of border management, including border commissions as well as the African Union and regional organisations.
In Niger, the project is assisting the country’s border commission in drafting a national border strategy. National and local state and civil society stakeholders are participating in this process. The strategy will create the institutional and legal framework for safe movement of goods and people.
In border regions the project works closely with local actors to promote a dialogue between the border population, civil society organisations, officials and security forces, and to raise awareness on the rule of law. Cooperation with the national anticorruption authority is also planned. Local radio stations and so-called anticorruption clubs are being assisted in providing information on rights and obligations at border crossings.
To improve the work processes of the border authorities and make them more transparent, training will be provided and user-friendly manuals produced.
Another priority area for the project is strengthening cross-border cooperation between Niger and its neighbouring states of Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso and Nigeria. The states will define around 700 kilometres of border more clearly through joint demarcation work. This, alongside cooperation agreements between the states, is helping to stabilise communities on the border and improve living conditions in these areas. For example, watering places are being constructed in communities on the border and agreements reached on cross-border use of water.
Significant progress has already been made in Niger on border demarcation and cross-border cooperation. For example, with the project’s support, Niger’s border commission has carried out survey work on a 300 km section of the border between Burkina Faso and Niger.
To counter statelessness, mobile state services issued ID cards and birth certificates to 415 school pupils on the Benin-Niger border allowing them to cross the border regularly to go to school.
The project also financed mobile medical services for over 2,000 individuals in the border areas between Benin and Niger, more than half of whom were women. Access to medical care in these areas is limited.