President Mahamadou Issoufou’s second term has seen authoritarian backsliding. However, the peaceful and seemingly democratic presidential elections in 2020 and 2021, won by Mohamed Bazoum, resulted in the country’s first handover of power from one civilian leader to another. This could indicate a return to democratic governance.

Niger’s economic challenges have remained the same. As an agricultural economy and one of the world’s five largest uranium exporters, Niger has little autonomy over economic developments. The COVID-19 pandemic and the deteriorating security situation put the Nigerien economy under pressure, and GDP growth slowed significantly in 2020.

In reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, Niger’s government respected constitutional provisions but sometimes implemented measures intended to contain the virus in a disproportionate matter. To mitigate the loss of democratic freedoms, the new Nigerien government should emphasize the need to fight corruption within the government bureaucracy and develop a holistic and participatory economic reform strategy.

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