Is there evidence of regular, active public debate on issues of defence? If yes, does the government participate in this debate?
6a. Public debate
Niger score: 50/100
Outside government, there is no or extremely limited public debate among academia, opinion-formers, and CSOs about defence issues.
Outside government, there is occasional public debate among academics, journalists, opinion-formers, and CSOs about defence issues. Debate also addresses issues superficially, rather than persisting through in-depth and regular discussion.
Outside government, there is regular public debate among academics, journalists, opinion-formers, and CSOs about defence issues. However, debate often addresses issues superficially, rather than persisting through in-depth and regular discussion.
Outside government, there is occasional public debate among academics, journalists, opinion-formers, and CSOs about defence issues. However, when debate occurs, it addresses high priority issues with intensity and in-depth discussion.
Outside government, there is regular public debate among academics, journalists, opinion-formers, and CSOs about defence issues. Debate persists on high priority issues over a period of time, rather than being superficially addressed.
Outside of government, there is evidence of public debate on security and defence issues. It is brought up by civil society, journalists and academics. Various institutions represent the latter: Abdou Moumouni University, Human Science Research Institute, University of Diffa and Laboratory for Studies and Research on Social Dynamics and Local Development. Even though public debate among academics is not regular, in some cases, it may reveal in-depth discussion. For example, the University of Diffa, a city located more than 1,300 km east of Niamey and affected by the Boko Haram insurgency, organised in November 2015 (1) and in May 2017 two international conferences related to peace and security in the Lake Chad Basin. The last conference covered deradicalisation and the reintegration of demobilised Boko Haram militants. More than a hundred of participants attended, including academics, civil society leaders, government, local authorities, religious authorities as well as international experts, and proposed recommendations to authorities regarding security policy for the Diffa region and the Lake Chad basin (2). Civil society organisations also partake in the debate concerning defence and security. For example, every year, Espace Citoyenne organises a forum “Session Budgétaire Citoyenne” to discuss the upcoming financial law, with defence and security budget being also debated (4). However, even if in some cases the debate addresses issues through in-depth discussion, such activities are not consistent.
(1. “Colloque international sur la culture de la paix dans le Bassin du Lac Tchad tenu à Diffa du 2 au 4 Novembre 2015: ‘Clewa Sleye’ ,” (International symposium on Culture of Peace in the Lake Chad Basin held in Diffa from 2 to 4 November 2015: “Clewa Sleye”), Niger Diaspora, November 13, 2015, https://nigerdiaspora.net/index.php/politique-archives/item/71868-colloque-international-sur-la-culture-de-la-paix-dans-le-bassin-du-lac-tchad-tenu-a-diffa-du-2-au-4-novembre-2015-clewa-sleye.
2. “Interview de Ali Mahaman, Chancellor of the Diffa University,” Niger Inter, June 6, 2017,
3. Mato Adamou, “Cérémonie de remise des actes du symposium international sur la déradicalisation des jeunes et la réinsertion des repentis de Boko Haram,” (Ceremony of the proceedings of the international symposium on the de-radicalisation of young people and the reintegration of the repented of Boko Haram), Le Sahel, http://www.lesahel.org/index.php/component/k2/item/15116-cérémonie-de-remise-des-actes-du-symposium-international-sur-la-déradicalisation-des-jeunes-et-la-réinsertion-des-repentis-de-boko-haram.
5. “Budget 2018: Une mobilisation citoyenne s’impose,” (2018 Budget: citizen mobilisation is essential), Niger Diaspora, October 20, 2017, https://www.nigerdiaspora.net/index.php/politique-niger/2390-budget-2018-une-mobilisation-citoyenne-s-impose.
6b. Government engagement in public discourse
Niger score: 50/100
There is no government engagement in public discourse about defence issues or official communications contain no meaningful information.
Where communication does occur, it is likely to be one-way: officials may provide some information but may not answer public questions.
The government engages in discussion with the public about defence issues through open forums, an active website, or at media briefings. However this does not happen regularly, or may exclude very important issues that the government chooses to avoid.
The government engages in regular discussion with the public about defence issues through open forums, an active website, or at media briefings.
The government engages in regular debate with academia, opinion-formers, and CSOs about defence issues in collaborative ways. The government co-organises discussions with independent think tanks or civil society organisations, or through joint media briefings.
Government tends to engage in discussions with the public on defence issues through open forums and media briefings. For example, in December 2017 the National Center for Strategic and Security Studies (CNESS) organized the national forum for security and defence to reflect on the new Security and defence policy/Politique nationale de sécurité et défense (PNSD), which will be adopted in 2018 (1). According to local media, it was the first forum of this kind because it included representatives from the government, defence and security forces, but also political parties as well as representatives from the “different social sectors of the country” (1). In line with this initiative, in January 2017, there was an inauguration of the National Observatory on Security Governance. A security official from the Ministry of Interior attended the launch ceremony (2). Therefore, there is evidence of debate and a stable trend to government engagement in public discourse. However, sensitive issues are not discussed in-depth. For example, the tendency of authorities to cooperate with non-state armed groups, such as Self-Defence Group of Imrad Tuareg and Allies, GATIA, and the Movement for the Salvation of Azawad, MSA) on Mali-Niger border (3).
1. “Forum national de la Sécurité et de la Défense: Vers l’élaboration de la Politique nationale de sécurité et défense (PNSD),” (National forum for security and defence: Towards the development of the national policy for security and defence (NPSD)), Le Sahel, December 2017,
2. “Plusieurs organisations de la société civile créent un observatoire sur la gouvernance de la sécurité,” (Several civil society organizations set up an observatory on security governance), Actu Niger, January 2017, https://actuniger.com/societe/12532-niger-plusieurs-organisations-de-la-societe-civile-creent-un-observatoire-sur-la-gouvernance-de-la-securite.html.
3. “The Niger-Mali Border: Subordinating Military Action to a Political Strategy,” International Crisis Group, June 12, 2018, https://d2071andvip0wj.cloudfront.net/261-frontiere-niger-mali%20(1).pdf.
Compare scores by country
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|Country||6a. Public debate||6b. Government engagement in public discourse|
|Algeria||25 / 100||25 / 100|
|Angola||0 / 100||25 / 100|
|Burkina Faso||50 / 100||0 / 100|
|Cameroon||25 / 100||25 / 100|
|Cote d'Ivoire||50 / 100||50 / 100|
|Egypt||0 / 100||25 / 100|
|Ghana||25 / 100||50 / 100|
|Jordan||25 / 100||25 / 100|
|Kuwait||50 / 100||25 / 100|
|Lebanon||50 / 100||25 / 100|
|Mali||100 / 100||75 / 100|
|Morocco||0 / 100||0 / 100|
|Niger||50 / 100||50 / 100|
|Nigeria||50 / 100||25 / 100|
|Oman||0 / 100||0 / 100|
|Palestine||75 / 100||50 / 100|
|Qatar||25 / 100||25 / 100|
|Saudi Arabia||0 / 100||25 / 100|
|Tunisia||25 / 100||50 / 100|
|United Arab Emirates||0 / 100||0 / 100|