First peaceful takeover of power in Niger’s history – NRK Urix – Foreign news and documentaries

Mohamed Bazoum was inaugurated as president of the African country of Niger on Friday.

He succeeded Mahamadou Issoufou, who had been president since 2011.

It was the first time since Niger became independent from France in 1960 that one leader has voluntarily handed over power to another after a democratic election.

Bazoum was elected in February this year in an election where the loser, Mahamane Ousmane, claimed it was election fraud.

Election workers with ballot boxes during the presidential election in Niger in February this year.
Photo: ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP

Got the award for going off

Issoufou had served two five-year terms and the constitution did not allow for more terms.

In several other African countries, leaders have disregarded such restrictions or amended the constitution so that they could retain power.

In March, it became clear that Issoufou will receive the Mo Ibrahim Award for African Leadership.

The award, established by the Sudanese-born British businessman Mo Ibrahim, goes to democratically elected heads of state in Africa who voluntarily relinquish power after ruling in a good way.

With the prize, the winner will receive 5 million dollars – just over 42 million Norwegian kroner. In addition, the winner is paid 200,000 dollars – just over 1.7 million kroner – every year for the rest of his life.

The idea behind the sum is both to encourage leaders to resign voluntarily and to make sure that they get enough money so that they do not feel the need to enrich themselves illegally while leading the country.

President Mohamed Bazoum and his wife Hadiza Ben Mabrouk during Friday’s ceremony in Niamey.
Photo: BOUREIMA HAMA / AFP

Islamist extremists

Although the transfer of power took place peacefully, a series of problems are expected for the new president.

Islamist extremists are becoming increasingly active in the Sahel region, which includes Niger, Mali and northern Nigeria.

Thousands of people were killed and hundreds of thousands fled as a result of such attacks, despite the presence of regional and international military forces.

The world’s poorest country

In addition to violence, Niger has more than its dose of poverty problems.

In the UN Development Index (HDI), which is topped by Norway, Niger comes in 189th and last place.

The average life expectancy is 62.4 years and the population has an average of 2.1 years of schooling. Figures from Unesco show that less than 20 percent of the population can read and write.

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