This May 17, an overwhelming heat falls on Niamey. Since dawn, the thermometer has been showing 40 degrees. But it takes more to dissuade Nigeriens from going about their business. Starting with Hassoumi Massaoudou. The day before, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation was in the United Arab Emirates with President Mohamed Bazoum to offer his condolences to the Emirati people – in mourning since the death of their president, Sheikh Khalifa.
Just back from Abu Dhabi, the head of Niger’s diplomacy is getting down to business. Visitors jostle in his office located not far from the presidential palace. Before receiving us, he spoke with a Turkish delegation. When our turn comes, it is a minister in a hurry that we meet. “You have thirty minutes, I have to go to the presidency”, he specifies straight away and with courtesy.
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During the interview, Hassoumi Massaoudou is direct, but pedagogical, outlining the various issues that concern Niger today: security, relations with the partners of the G5 Sahel, ECOWAS and the European Union, governance …
Former mining engineer, five times minister (Communication, Interior, Defense, Finance, then to the presidency) before being appointed to Foreign Affairs, in April 2021, Hassoumi Massaoudou knows the workings of the State well. Close to former president Mahamadou Issoufou, he is also a long-time friend of Mohamed Bazoum, with whom he co-founded the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS-Tarayya), of which he is secretary general.
Capcov: What is your assessment of Mohamed Bazoum’s first year as president?
Hassoumi Massaoudou : President Mohamed Bazoum has acted with determination to ensure Niger’s security. It has been a difficult year, but significant results have been achieved. Niger remains at the heart of a storm zone in a Sahel facing several terrorist hotbeds. Among them, there is that of Boko Haram, located around Lake Chad, in the south-east of Niger.
We have won the battle against Boko Haram