Government official: Niger crisis to impact migration situation in Europe
Until the coup on July 27, Niger was “one of the last stable states of the Sahel”, Tristan Azbej said. Upending the stability in the region would have grave consequences on security and migration in the Mediterranean and Europe, he said. The region’s countries serve as source and transit countries of migration, he added.
Azbej noted that during his visit to Niger in May, the country showed signs of another kind of impending crisis: the desertification of the southern regions had triggered a food shortage, he said. Since the Nigerien fertility rate is one of the highest in the world, Hungary’s proposal to support the local Catholic Church’s education programmes was welcomed warmly, he said.
Countries in the region have recently collapsed one after the other, Azbej said. Mali is ravaged by armed conflicts, Burkina Faso has seen several coups this year, and a civil war has pushed Sudan to the brink of a humanitarian crisis, he said.
All that increased the significance of Niger, which functioned as a democratic country until last week, he said. So far, it has managed to contain the humanitarian and migration crises caused by terrorists in the country, he said. In the wake of last week’s coup, now looms the threat of a humanitarian crisis, armed conflict and migration towards Europe, he added.
Azbej warned that the number of migrants leaving Africa for Europe could reach 100 million in the coming year, and “there is no border protection in Europe to handle such a wave.”
Hungary and the EU are pushing for a diplomatic solution to restore peace, he said.
Since its launch in 2017, Hungary’s aid programme, Hungary Helps, has focused on the Middle East and the Sahel: Mali, Niger and northern Nigeria, he said, where it works to avoid humanitarian crises and to help Christian communities persecuted by Islamist terror organisations, he added.