Paris, France — In the wake of a major meeting of donors, Niger has collected $ 4.8 billion in substantial development-oriented funds with a focus on food security.
Facing chronic food shortages and weakened by the security situation in neighbouring Mali, Niger has unveiled its new development strategy, a full-fledged roadmap for 2012-2015.
The Economic and Social Development Plan (PDES) has five priorities: strengthening the rule of law, sustainable and inclusive development, food security, economic diversification, and social development. It aims to achieve economic growth of eight percent on average and to ensure that the general public can truly share in the benefits of growth.
Organized by the Government of Niger in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the round-table was attended by over 300 participants and 56 delegations from major bilateral and multilateral partners including the European Union, France, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), agencies of the United Nations, and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
UNDP has assisted the Government in developing the plan and will continue its involvement in the plan's implementation. UNDP is currently working with the Government of Niger on the establishment of a framework for expediting the attainment of the MDGs, in an effort to remove constraints that result in food and nutrition insecurity.
Elected in March 2011, the government has laid the foundation for the N3 Initiative ("The people of Niger feed their fellow citizens") and intends to provide the Nigerien people with protection from hunger and poverty by equipping them with the wherewithal required to ensure their comprehensive participation in national agricultural production and thereby improve their incomes.
Priority actions will focus on efforts to broaden access to seeds, fertilizers and irrigation, to improve nutrition for all, to extend social safety nets, and to strengthen the technical expertise of small farmers.
UNDP has assisted the Government of Niger in its democratic transition by supporting the municipal, legislative, and presidential elections of 2011. Niger continues to be one of the poorest countries in the world, despite its numerous potential strengths and natural resources, in particular oil and uranium.
"The processes established to address such abuses are highly sensitive, political, and complex. That is why it is vital that national stakeholders are capacitated to lead them and own them. Partners like UNDP can play a supportive and enabling role, which must be characterized by humility and patience," she said.