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Increasing security sector accountability in Niger


Due to its landlocked location at the heart of the Sahel, the Republic of Niger serves as a fulcrum of peace and security surrounded by armed conflicts in neighbouring Mali, Nigeria, and Libya. The decades-long evolution towards greater democracy has established the consolidation of good governance in Niger as a strategic necessity for stability in the Sahel. Increasing cross-border attacks by transnational violent extremist groups in the Liptako-Gourma and Lake Chad regions have forced Niger’s government to redirect scarce resources from its ambitious development agenda to the defence and security forces (DSF). Countering violent extremism, fighting corruption, and strengthening effectiveness and accountability of the security sector are high on the agenda of President Mohamed Bazoum’s government. In concrete terms, Niger’s commitment was demonstrated by its active support to SSR initiatives at the UN Security Council in 2020.

Former President Issoufou’s political and strategic Renaissance II Development Programme led to the adoption of security sector public policies and strategies. As a sign of political commitment, the Centre for National Strategic and Security Studies (CNESS) was established in 2015. In 2017, a steering committee was set up to provide strategic direction and oversight of operational and technical support for the implementation of the National Strategy for Internal Security (NSIS) and to ensure the dissemination, implementation, monitoring, and review of the NSIS plan. But while the state maintains good institutional, political, and social stability, significant challenges remain to achieve greater security and socio-economic development. DCAF is proud to support Nigerien authorities in increasing accountability of their security sector.

Objectives & DCAF approach

DCAF has worked on SSG in Niger since 2014. Since 2017, we have been implementing a large-scale national programme, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany, aimed at improving security for the State and its population within a framework of democratic governance, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.

In addition, we are implementing a multi-country Sahel programme (2019-2021), funded by the Kingdom Denmark, with cross-cutting activities with Burkina Faso and Mali

In Niger, we aim to:

  • enhance effectiveness and accountability of the security sector through good security sector governance
  • strengthen the legal and strategic framework required to accompany and steer the security sector reforms
  • support democratic participation and enable citizens and civil society
  • enhance DSF’s practices and compliance with internal procedures, codes of conduct, and human rights principles

To achieve this, we:

  • provide expertise on legal frameworks, policies and strategies, resource management, and internal oversight of security institutions
  • strengthen the capacity of parliament, ombuds institutions, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), civil society, and the media to effectively provide external oversight of the security sector
  • provide policymakers and security actors with access to evidence and data, and opportunities to engage in SSG dialogue, as well as facilitate exchange of good practices among ECOWAS member states

In Niger, DCAF is implementing activities in partnership with a wide range of national actors, including the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Defence, the Parliament, the National Gendarmerie, the Police, the Ombudsman office, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), the media, and civil society organisations.

Our intervention has contributed to Niger taking the first steps towards strengthening the effectiveness and accountability of its security and defence forces, and improving the governance of its security sector (SSG):

  • a first evaluation revealed a strong mobilisation of the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security for more financial transparency and sustained efforts to ensure a greater ownership by local authorities
  • a compilation of legislation governing interior security has been completed and disseminated; several laws have been drafted or reviewed in compliance with international norms and good practices
  • with the creation of the National Centre for Strategic Studies and Security (CNESS), Niger is on the path to developing a National Security Strategy which, when implemented, should contribute to enhanced accountability of the security sector

We are grateful for the support of:

  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark
  • The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic (MEAE)
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany

Key Resources

Enhancing security sector accountability in Niger (EN) (FR)

Capacity building for the control of small arms and light weapons (SALW) held by security and defense forces (SDFs) of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger (EN) (FR)

Online legal directory

African Security Governance Index

Policy Paper: Promoting Financial Oversight - An Essential Element for Democratic Governance of the Security Sector in the Sahel by Dr. Oswald Padonou (EN) (FR)