The Political Economy of Migration Governance in Niger


This report analyses the political economy of migration governance in Niger. The research follows a holistic understanding of migration governance considering irregular migration governance, forced migration governance, as well as governance of emigration (diaspora) and immigration. Each governance type is analysed on three levels –  governance, political stakes and societal discourse.

The report finds that migration as such is not a key priority issue for Nigerien policy makers. There are however two factors that have contributed to its increased salience in recent years: firstly, external pressures to foster irregular migration governance and secondly, increasing numbers of displaced people present in Niger. Following the so-called migration crisis proclaimed by the EU in 2015, Niger became one of five priority countries of the EU’s 2015 New Partnership Framework with third countries (NPF) under the European Agenda for Migration (EAM). In line with EU interests, migration cooperation focused mainly on irregular migration governance – and led, among others, to the implementation of the 2015-036  law which criminalises smuggling. A second factor that increased the salience of migration governance in Niger is the increasing presence of forcibly displaced people, including IDPs and refugees in the country. Two groups of displaced people can be broadly distinguished. Firstly, displacement relating to the humanitarian migration crisis mainly affecting the displacement context in Niamey and Agadez and secondly, displacement related to conflicts in Sahel countries, at Niger’s South-Western borders. While political and social antagonism has met the arrival of the first group, the presence of the second seems widely accepted.