African PoliticsGeneral News

Niger: Voters prioritize security, cost of living ahead of presidential run-off

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Residents of Niamey react to the upcoming presidential elections in Niger. Among their concerns are the terrorist threat to the country and the cost of living.

Niger is attempting its first peaceful transfer of power since gaining independence from France 60 years ago.

The incoming president will inherit several challenges, including rising violence from Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State. Attacks near the western border with Mali and Burkina Faso and the southeastern border with Nigeria killed hundreds of people last year.

Abdorahmane Alhaji, a trader from Agadez wants the issue of insecurity resolved.

“Terrorists, that’s the big issue. Back in the days we had tourism, there were charter flights between Paris and Agadez with Point Afrique, Go Voyage, every week, three months a year. Everyone was working, every sector, the craftsmen, the travel” agencies,” Alhaji said.

Much is awaited from the president that will be elected as the cost of living has been strongly criticized.

“What I want is change. Why do I want is change? Things are not going well. Really, they’ve been around for 10 years, but we haven’t seen much. The school? Really, it’s rotten. I pay about $2700 for children but they know nothing at all, nothing at all,” a disgruntled father lamented.

Presidential run-off comes as Niger attempts its first democratic transition of power in its history. The country has seen four coups take place since gaining independence from France in 1960.