Message to the Nation His Excellency Issoufou Mahamadou, President of the Republic on the occasion of the second anniversary of his inauguration

 

Nigeriens,
My dear fellow citizens,
The second anniversary of the victory of the Renaissance Program give me the occasion to provide you with a progress report which coincides with the March 14 publication by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), of its global Human Development Report (HDR). Our country has a history.

.

This report shows, as part of a series which has appeared since 1980, that the human development index remains structurally weak: it has gone from 0.179 in 1980 to 0.304 in 2012, with 0.229 in 2000 and 0.298 in 2010. Nevertheless, Niger is one of 11 countries where considerable and encouraging progress has been made in the past few years in terms of human development. Between 2011 and 2012, for example, the human development index progressed at a rate higher than the average for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. This progression reflects the efforts made in the implementation of the Renaissance Program which contains responses to the structural problem of the weakness in human development in our country. The goal of the program is to bring Niger up from the group of countries with a weak human development index to that of a country with an average development index. It will take time, and to achieve this goal we must all roll up our sleeves. To achieve this goal, we must make a sustained effort in the implementation of the Renaissance Program, the three pillars of which are, as you know, security, strong and stable democratic institutions, and economic and social development.

My dear fellow citizens,

The first challenge that the Renaissance Program promised to take up was that of security. To achieve the promise made to Nigeriens to ensure the defense of the territory as well as security of persons and property, the Government, with the constant support of the National Security Council whose members are following the evolution of the security situation in the country on a daily basis, has strengthened our intelligence capacities and those of our ground and air forces.

With respect to intelligence, we have strengthened our cooperation with neighboring countries and friendly countries without whom we would have been blind in the face of certain situations. During these two years in office, education and training of our defense and security forces have been the focus of our concerns.

Providing each soldier with an arm was another concern which we have had to deal with: today, for the first time in our history, the number of soldiers is equal to the number of arms. Furthermore, each soldier has a uniform allocation which is in line with his mission. Our ground forces have seen an increase in the number of vehicles and their logistical means for back-up and support, while our air forces, in addition to the return to an operational state of the entire air fleet and the acquisition of new combat helicopters,  have been provided with fighter planes, for the first time in their history.

The Government has not lost sight of the necessity of strengthening troop morale, including through increased remuneration. In order to ensure an optimal coverage of the national territory, defense and security forces were judiciously redeployed, rural patrols fan out over each of our sixty-three (63) regions, urban patrols are keeping cities under surveillance, in order to secure, respectively,  main routes, the fight against the theft of large livestock, the proliferation of firearms, and urban banditry.

The professionalism of our defense and security forces is recognized beyond our borders

Thanks to measures taken, Niger is at peace, despite the threats of terrorism and organized crime which are spreading death and despair in the sub-region. Thanks to the measures taken, Niger, in addition to defending its territory and ensuring the security of its citizens, is taking on its duty of solidarity vis-à-vis sister countries like Mali and Côte d’Ivoire where more than fifteen hundred members of our defense and security forces are stationed. The visit that I made this morning to Gao allowed me to note just how much the Nigerien contingent of the International Mission for the Support of Mali is appreciated by the Malian populations and authorities as well as by the members of the other contingents.

In other words, the professionalism of our defense and security forces is recognized beyond our borders. This is therefore the appropriate time to renew our congratulations to the Commander in Chief of the Army. Their courage and patriotism commands our admiration.  I would like them to know how proud of them I am. I would like them to know that the actions undertaken with respect to defense and security, during these first years of the renaissance term, will be developed in the years to come, for threats are still present. We must restructure our defense and security forces in view of a sustainable fight against terrorism and against trafficking, particularly in arms and drugs.

My dear fellow citizens,

  1. A.In the Renaissance Program, I committedstrengthening the stability of democratic and republican institutions in guaranteeing the democratic exercise of power, overhauling the administration and increasing its performance, by associating Nigeriens in the diaspora into national life. More precisely, it is a question here of promoting good political and economic governance. What results have we achieved in this respect?
  2. B.The ranks occupied by our country in the ranking with respect to freedom of the press and the Corruption Perceptions Index, as well as our country’s eligibility for the MCC compact program, prove that we have achieved progress, but we must do more. Although it is true that there areprisoners of conscience  in the country, that no opinion is censored, that the opposition has a status granting –  particularly to its head –  the status of head of an institution (an unprecedented situation in our political history), that a system of financing political parties has been adopted, that the salaries of Government employees were   greatly increased with a payroll which went from approximately 80 billion in 2010 to approximately 161 billion in 2013,  on the other hand, progress remains to be made with respect to justice, the depoliticization of the administration, the “zero impunity” objective, the fight against corruption, the restoration of the fiscal monopoly of  the Government, the efficiency of expenditures. I encourage magistrates to ensure that justice handed down, i.e. rendered in the name of the people, become a reality.  All Nigeriens, rich or poor, invested or not with power, should come under the same law. I encourage the High Commission in the Fight against Corruption and Similar Infractions (HALCIA), the General Inspectorate of State, the financial comptrollers in the Ministries, the Department Inspectorates, particularly the General Inspectorate of Judicial Departments, the International Committee for Processing Financial Information (CINTIF), to redouble their efforts so that the objective of raising the moral standard of public life may be achieved.

All Nigeriens, rich or poor, invested or not with power, should come under the same law

With respect to the association of Nigeriens of the diaspora in national life, the diaspora forum held in August in Niamey made recommendations which have just been translated into an action plan. Furthermore, in order to achieve one of the Renaissance Program promises for the diaspora, the Minister of the Interior has been instructed to prepare a bill modifying the electoral code to ensure their representation in the National Assembly. We should mention that two other bills modifying and adding to the electoral code and instituting a biometric electoral card are in the process of being designed, which will contribute towards creating conditions of transparency in future elections. 

My dear fellow citizens,

I had promised to place our diplomacy in the service of economic and social development, as well as that of the country’s security. The dynamism of our diplomacy has enabled us to attain these objectives. The clarity of our vision on international issues, as proven by our analysis of the situation in Mali, our participation in international meetings, like those of the U.N. General Assembly, Rio+20 , the G8, the African Union, and ECOWAS, the working visits made particularly to France, the United States, China, Great Britain, the visits made to our country by leaders of friendly countries, the organization of the donors’ round table on the Economic and Social Development Plan for 2012-2015,  the extension of our diplomatic representation to countries like South Africa, India, and Turkey, Togo, Senegal, have enabled us to make Niger’s voice heard, to strengthen our credibility, to mobilize significant resources for financing our development and reinforcing our security.

Thanks to our diplomatic efforts, Niger is receiving more foreign direct investment and more public development aide. We have resolved to pursue the diplomatic offensive begun during these first two years. In particular, we will continue to campaign for a more democratic world governance on both the political and economic levels.

My dear fellow citizens,

The Renaissance Program set the objective of average annual growth of 7% over the period of the term. The growth rate was 2.3% in 2011 and 10.8% in 2012; the average growth rate is thus 6.4% over the period 2011- 2012, for an achievement rate of more than 91%. I am pleased with the start of a restructuration of the economy through the growth in the contribution of the modern secondary sector to the creation of national wealth. Unfortunately, this restructuring still remains weak and does not allow us to significantly reduce the weight of fiscally unproductive sectors, to broaden the tax base and thereby increase the rate of fiscal pressure. The inflation rate was 2.9% in 2011 and 0.5% in 2012, for an average annual rate of 1.7%. The Government was able to contain inflation easily within the 3% called for in the Renaissance Program.

Over the period, I note an increase in the savings and investment rates, an increase in the credit in the economy, the share of which goes to agriculture unfortunately continues to remain weak. The Government will pursue its efforts already underway to facilitate access to credit, and so that its cost be reduced to the WAEMU level. I also note a significant increase in monetary circulation, a growth masked by the decrease in the circulation of fraudulent informal flow, a result of a better management of public finances and better supervision of public markets.

My dear fellow citizens,

The “3N” initiative – “Nigeriens Nourishing Nigeriens” – is one of the major promises of the Renaissance Program. Nourishing Nigeriens, saving them from the vagaries of rain-fed crops, such is our objective.

The Government has been able to meet this objective. The measures that it has taken under the emergency program have enabled us to show that drought is not synonymous with famine, thanks to an investment of more than 155 billion. These measures are related to the increase in the yield of rain-fed crops, the promotion of irrigated crops, the modernization of livestock breeding, the protection of the environment and the food security stock.

The implementation of the “3N” initiative starting in October 2012 further mobilized producers. The Government is ready to get down to the job of providing them with the necessary inputs (seed, fertilizer, pesticides, etc.) to increase the yield of rain-fed crops. It began the rehabilitation of approximately 1,500 hectares of hydro-agricultural development, the rehabilitation of approximately 2,000 hectares new areas for large-scale irrigation, more than 12,000 hectares of new areas for small irrigation. It installed mini-dams, weirs, developed ponds, set up grain banks, stores and boutiques, distributed motor-pumps, kits with plowing equipment, kits with animal-hauling equipment. Thanks to all of these actions, grain production was increased, notably through an increase in yields, crops with top market value were promoted, producing significant income for producers and enabling growth of the share of fiscally efficient agricultural production.

Nourishing Nigeriens, saving them from the vagaries of rain-fed crops, such is our objective

With respect to livestock breeding, efforts towards modernization are continuing so that our country can draw the maximum profits from its comparative advantages. Thus, the Government has strengthened intervention capacities for services in this sector, provided feed for livestock, ensuring the health of herds, protected pasturage, installed wells and pastoral forages, encouraged and advised individuals who are establishing modern farms, distribute kits for raising small ruminants, supported traditional and modern fattening, conducted operations for reconstituting livestock. The renovation of certain existing slaughterhouses is in progress and the Government intends to promote the construction of new, modern slaughterhouses, particularly along the border with our big neighbor Nigeria which will enable us to improve the annual rate of livestock exploitation.

With respect to the environment, the Government has taken actions for soil recovery and defense allowing for the creation of several tens of thousands of jobs, which has allowed for income distribution to peasants, thereby limiting rural flight.

With respect to the prevention and management of food crises, the Government has increased the level of security stock to more than 174,000 tons, i.e. beyond that called for in the Renaissance Program.  In collaboration with development partners whose concern I salute, the Government has worked towards moderate-priced sales, free distribution and money transfers.

The prevalence of acute malnutrition has been reduced, but efforts remain to be made to decrease it to 10% by the end of the five-year term. The Government has supported individuals who were victims of either drought or flooding. With the “3N” initiative, our country, which has been a grain importer for several decades, can become self-sufficient and even an exporter nation. 

My dear fellow citizens,

With respect to road infrastructure, appreciable results were made in the past two years: 745 km of paved roads are in the process of completion, 497 km of paved roads are in the process of being considered or calls for bids, while the selection of design offices is underway for the paving of ten segments of roads totaling 1,273 km. Work on repairing paved roads is underway for a distance of more than 450 km. Studies or calls for bids are in progress for 187 km, and a maintenance project for 425  km is underway. With respect to rural roads, approximately 800 km have either been completed are at the stage of calls for bids or under consideration.

745 km of paved roads are in the process of being completed, 497 km of paved roads are under consideration or at the stage of calls for bids.

With respect to rail, the member countries of the Council of Accord have decided to pool resources. The segments on Nigerien territory are either still under study or submitting for financing.

With respect to electric energy, our capacities for cold storage were reinforced, transportation and distribution networks were restructured, work on the Kandadji dam continues , financing for the electric line from the Zinder refinery to Maradi to Malbaza has been secured, work on the 100MW coal-fired power station in Gorou Banda was launched, financing for the construction project for a 200 MW coal-fired power station and a factory for the annual production of 100,00 charcoal briquettes for home use  in Salkadamna is in the negotiation process, work on rural electrification continues and will be strengthened.

In the petroleum exploitation sector, the finalization of the construction of the Agadem Refinery pipeline, the start-up of the refinery in Zinder, and the marketing of petroleum products are the principle activities.  Petroleum exploitation has generated 94 billion in revenue, a total already above the revenues from oil. The exploitation of Nigerien oil has enabled us to lower the prices at the pump and cancel subsidies granted by the Government.  The pursuit of exploration work has enabled us to discover new oil and gas reserves. Negotiations are underway with neighboring countries for the evacuation of future production of crude.

With respect to other energy sources, we note an increase in the share of mineral coal and gas in the overall energy assessment.

My dear fellow citizens,

In the mining sector, priority has been given to the diversification of partners and of research, and to the improved development of our natural resources. The Imouraren project, which will enable our country to double its uranium production, will enter into production, God willing, in mid-2015.

In the industrial sector, construction work on the new cement works in Malbaza continues, as do efforts to secure financing for the development of cement in Kaou as well as the establishment of a sugar industry.

With respect to the commercial sector, transport, tourism, and the hotel industry, we are seeing, respectively, a growth in business creation, an improvement in our commercial balance, a strengthening of air traffic and an increase in the rate of hotel occupancy. These are just so many indicators which illustrate the dynamism of our economy.

My dear fellow citizens,

With respect to the renovation of our capital, through the “Niamey Niyala” project, significant results have been seen. I will mention, among others, the finalization of the East-West route, of access roads to the second bridge, and improvements on the road to Ader. The first interchange in the country, on the Mali-Béro Boulevard in Zarmaganda, is being finalized. The paving of the Niamey-Goudel-Tondibiya-Tondikoireye route and the construction of new administrative buildings have just begun. Construction along the river, hotels, other interchanges, road paving, etc. is on the agenda.

My dear fellow citizens,

In the rural hydraulic sector, 4,264 identical modern points were completed, 467 are in progress, and 1,682 were renovated. In urban areas, 42 wells were drilled; more than 18,000 community branch pipes and 537 tap stands were completed. In addition, more than 400km of piping for water distribution was laid. In the sector of basic sanitation, more than 25,000 works were completed.

The Renaissance Program places education at the center of my concerns. My belief is that school remains the medium of social promotion and progress for our country. No nation has ever developed without an effective training system. In the past two years, 3,207 classrooms have been built and outfitted, and 2,991 are in the process of being constructed, for a total of 6,198 classrooms.  To this we can add 187 classrooms constructed and 181 underway for middle school.  To improve access to basic education, 2,134 public middle schools were established, 722 literacy centers for adults and 12 so-called “second chance” schools were opened. With respect to training of trainers, 7,040 new instructors were trained, 550 CEG [School of General Education] professors are being trained at the teachers’ college in Niamey, 138 literacy teachers were trained, and 12,463 contractors without prior training received a 30-45-day training period. With respect to continuing education, more than 62,000 were trained during CAPED [Unit for Development Analysis and Forecasting] sessions, 217 teacher’s aides received training recognized by a diploma and 523 others received continuing education.

Incentives were provided to accelerate girls’ education and reduce disparities between boys and girls and between rural and urban areas. The implementation of all of these actions has enabled us to raise the gross rate of school attendance at basic levels 1 and 2 as well as at the middle school level. Beyond the gross rates, the Government’s concern is to increase the average and expected lengths of school attendance. We should note that the number of students has greatly increased; in particular the number of students with scholarships has doubled. In the various universities, infrastructures have also been constructed.

With respect to professional and technical instruction and training (EFPT), the objective of the Renaissance Program is to increase the percentage of learners from a headcount of 8% in basic education in 2009 to 25% in 2015. On 31 December 2012, professional and technical instruction and training represents more than 17% of the students in basic education. At the current pace, the Renaissance program objective will thus not only be achieved but surpassed. This result has been achieved thanks to the four-fold increase in the capacity of the Centers for Training in Community Development (CFDC), the number of which has increased from twenty-two (22) to (88) and professional and technical secondary schools, which have increased from just two (the professional secondary schools in Maradi and d’Issa Béri) to eight (8), which has enabled us to provide each region of the country with a school. This result has also been achieved through infrastructure construction, the improvement in the quality of professional and technical instruction, particularly the review and creation of curricula, initial and continuing training, as well as the recruitment of trainers.

My dear fellow citizens,

In the health sector, infrastructure construction, updating equipment, the recruitment of a significant number of doctors, nurses and the continuation of free health care have enabled us to increase health coverage, vaccination coverage, the rate of curative care, and child birth assisted by qualified personnel. The prevalence of acute global malnutrition has been reduced as well as maternal and infant mortality.

With respect to housing and improvement in lifestyle, several activities are underway. These activities will be strengthened to achieve the objectives of the program. The Government has not lost sight of any sector, whether it be the protection of women and children, youth, sports, or culture. It is fully aware of the serious demographic challenge that our country must confront to create the conditions for the necessary transition to population control. With respect to the fight against unemployment, the implementation of all of the actions in the Renaissance program has enabled us to create more than 251,000 jobs including more than plus de 52,000 permanent jobs.

For financing the program, approximately 1453 billion CFA francs were mobilized as internal receipts, for an achievement rate of 102% compared to the program’s forecasts. With respect to external resources, financing agreements were signed with technical and financial partners for a total of more than 1591 billion. Other financing agreements will be signed in accordance with commitments made by the Partners on the occasion of the donors’ round table organized in Paris. The expenditures made over two years, a total of more than 1950 billion, have gone to finance the priorities of the Renaissance Program.

My dear fellow citizens,

As you have just noted, the Government has honored nearly all of its commitments made under the Renaissance Program. Increasingly, construction sites are springing up all over the country but I know that the people’s expectations are high. The response to these expectations will require of all Nigeriens several decades of efforts. The response to these expectations requires that each Nigerien accomplish his or her duties, which is, unfortunately, far from being the case. During these past two years at the helm of the country, I have observed that many of our fellow citizens behave as if they are entitled: they never ask what they can do for the country, but are always asking what the country can do for them.

The response to these expectations requires that each Nigerien accomplish his or her duties…

It is incumbent upon the Government to conduct awareness-raising and civic education to change the status quo. It is incumbent on us to identify all of our weak points in order to overcome them, and all of our strong points to strengthen them. The Government must constantly listen to the citizens, take their criticisms into consideration, including those of the “jealous”, who, as the proverb goes, if he dances on water, will say that he covered it with dust.

The efforts already undertaken will thus be pursued and the Government will spare no effort to maintain and increase the rate of completion of the Renaissance Program whose promises made for my term will be kept, God willing. I once again reiterate my call on all Nigeriens to work together to build our dear country which I am determined to lead on the path of progress.

MAY GOD BLESS NIGER!

I THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Contact

Address : 2204 R Street, NW Washington DC 20008 USA 
Email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Telephone: +(202) 483-4224  Fax: +(202) 483-3169