What the Niger coup means for China’s presence in the Sahel region – by (South China Morning Post – July 31, 2023)


Last week’s military coup in Niger is adding to the growing pains for China’s investments in the Sahel region. On Wednesday, a group of soldiers from the presidential guard detained Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum, citing a worsening security and economic situation.

In the past three years there have also been coups in Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Chad and Sudan, all countries where China has extensive economic interests especially in the mining and petroleum industries and is looking to extend its multibillion-dollar trade and investment scheme, the Belt and Road Initiative.

Bazoum was elected in March 2021 in the country’s first peaceful, democratic transition since independence from France in 1960. China’s foreign ministry said Beijing was closely monitoring the situation in Niger and called on relevant parties to act in the interest of the country and its people and solve differences peacefully through dialogue.

Rahmane Idrissa, a senior researcher at the African Studies Centre at Leiden University in Netherlands, said the military was taking advantage of what looked like an international climate more tolerant of coups. Idrissa said the coup was a disaster for the Franco-Nigerien relationship and more broadly, for Niger’s relations with the West.

For the rest of this article: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3229399/what-niger-coup-means-chinas-presence-sahel-region