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Niger is a landlocked country in the heart of the Sahel, bordered by Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Libya, Mali, and Nigeria.  Although rich in uranium, Niger has for decades ranked at the end of the United Nations Human Development Index (2021: 189th out of 191). At less than 15 percent, literacy among its approximately 27 million inhabitants is among the lowest in the world, even lower among women. After 13 years of relative political stability, and its first peaceful transition of executive power from one elected president to the next in 2021, Niger suffered a military coup in July, 2023, the country’s fifth  coup since independence from France in 1960. The junta has announced a three-year transition and national dialogue without further details.

Since the advent of multipartyism in 1991, NDI has supported Niger's democratization and good governance efforts. NDI has had an in-country presence since 2010, prior to the elections of a democratic government that same year. The Institute provided technical assistance to the newly elected National Assembly to train parliamentarians and staff and implemented programs to increase transparency and accountability in extractive industries. It also supported the inclusion of young people - which are Niger’s largest demographic - and women in political decision-making, and worked to protect women’s rights. For nearly a decade, NDI has supported local civil society partners in strengthening community resilience to violent extremism, and supported regional exchanges among civil society organizations and political decision-makers for more human-centered security policies in the Liptako-Gourma, a region that encompasses Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. Since the July 2023 coup, NDI’s work has focused on strengthening young people’s political agency and leadership skills to have their voices heard during the transition period. The program aims to facilitate inclusive political processes and joint advocacy efforts conducive to a rapid return to constitutional order.

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