Niger’s coup uncovers strategic resource tensions in West Africa – by Robert Bociaga (Arab News – August 6, 2023)

JUBA, South Sudan: Last week’s coup in Niger ushered in a state of diplomatic and security confusion in the West African region that surpassed previous coups. The unexpected move by the Economic Community of West African States to consider the use of force to remove the junta from Niamey added a new dimension to the crisis.

Despite negotiations, the junta remains steadfast in its resolve to stay in power, further complicating the situation. Adding to the complexity, neighboring juntas in Guinea, Mali, and Burkina Faso have pledged to support the Nigerien junta, making the situation potentially explosive.

The junta-controlled states possess other valuable resources, further enhancing their bargaining position. As a result, the region finds itself at the epicenter of geopolitical interests, with major powers keen on securing access to these precious materials for their economic and strategic pursuits.

The coup in Niamey has brought attention to Niger’s rich resource capacity, particularly its critical role in fulfilling Europe’s energy needs, especially for France. The country stands as the seventh-largest producer of uranium globally, a resource that France has heavily relied upon for decades.

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