Armed Soldier In Desert Landscape at Ingall, Niger

France, a former colonial power that invaded numerous nations across Africa, Asia, and other parts of the world to kill and conquer countries so they could steal natural resources and whatever they wanted, that has maintained a troop presence in the mineral-rich Niger, announced last week that it will not pull out its forces after a request by the military junta now in control of the country.

France said it has military cooperation agreements in place with the legitimate government that has since been deposed. 

“These are the only ones that France, and the entire international community, recognizes,” the French Foreign Ministry said. 

The junta has completely ended all military relations with Paris and has called on France to pull its roughly 1,500 troops still stationed in the country. 

The Financial Times reported last week that rumors emerged that the former administration signed a document that approved a French assault on the presidential palace to oust the junta government. 

Paris said the only legitimate government in Niger is “President Mohamed Bazoum and democratically elected institutions.” 

France’s Foreign Ministry did not confirm reports that it was given the approval to carry out a military intervention. 

Niger is the latest former French colony in Africa to fall to a coup, following Chad, Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso. The BBC noted that since 1990, 78 percent of the 27 coups in sub-Saharan Africa have occurred in Francophone states. 

There is anti-France vitriol in many of these countries. The BBC said some of it is justified since French colonial rule “established political systems designed to extract valuable resources while using repressive strategies to retain control.”

“So did British colonial rule, but what was distinctive about France’s role in Africa was the extent to which it continued to engage—its critics would say meddle—in the politics and economics of its former territories after independence,” the report said.

Gilles Yabi, the founder and CEO of West African think tank WATHI, told France 24 that “we need to stop pretending that the effects of colonization are no longer having an impact.”

“Just because the French President [Emmanuel Macron] wasn’t born in the colonial era doesn’t mean that the political and economic domination of that time hasn’t continued to this day. History is not made up of a series of watertight periods that have nothing to do with each other,” he said.

“France must be clear and acknowledge that it has a strategic interest in West Africa, which has certainly diminished over time. But that doesn’t change the fact that local populations feel wronged by formal and informal agreements that they think must be reviewed,” he continued. “Niger is a symbolic case. It’s a country where the population is mostly poor, with little access to electricity outside large towns even though, for decades, it has been providing uranium to French nuclear power stations.”


Bazoum, the deposed president in Niger, was seen as a puppet for Paris, which exploited uranium from the country. Paris has relied on Niger’s uranium to keep its nuclear facilities humming for the past 40 years. 

Le Monde, the French paper, reported that there are 56 nuclear reactors in France that need 8,000 tons of natural uranium each year. Niger provides France with about 15 percent of its uranium. (See “FRANCE EARMARKS BILLIONS FOR NUCLEAR AND ‘GREEN’ ENERGY; INVESTORS BULLISH ON URANIUM” 19 Oct 2021.)

Teva Meyer, a lecturer at the University of Haute-Alsace and researcher at the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs, told a paper that Niger accounted for just 4 percent of global uranium production behind Kazakhstan (43 percent), Canada (15 percent), Namibia (11 percent), and Australia (8 percent).

Orano, France’s state-controlled nuclear fuel producer, is continuing its activities in Niger, Politico reported.

“France is not dependent on any one site, company, or country to ensure the security of supply for its power plants,” an official from France’s energy ministry, told the outlet. “The situation in Niger poses no risk to France’s security of supply for natural uranium.”

TRENDPOST: The Trends Journal has reported on how African countries have been grappling with former colonial powers to obtain true freedom. The Niger coup would be the continent’s sixth military junta in the past few years. (See “FRENCH TROOPS EXIT FORMER COLONY, AMID TENSIONS WITH MALIANS” 23 Aug 2022, “3 MILLION SUDANESE DISPLACED, ABOUT 3,000 DEAD…BUT WHO GIVES A SHIT?” 25 Jul 2023, “U.S. ATTEMPTS TO BULLY SOUTH AFRICA AWAY FROM RUSSIA” 20 Jul 2023, “MAJORITY OF CITIZENS ACROSS WEST ASIA AND NORTH AFRICA DECRY U.S. INTENTIONS” 18 Apr 2023, and “BLINKEN GOES TO AFRICA TO PEDDLE ‘DEMOCRACY’ IN EFFORT TO BLOCK CHINA AND RUSSIA’S INROADS ON CONTINENT” 16 Aug 2022.) 

TRENDPOST: Analysts say France and other EU countries are not facing an immediate risk if Niger is no longer a reliable provider of uranium, but if the trend continues for the long term, it could complicate sanctions against Russia. 

Niger was the EU’s top uranium producer in 2021, and, last year, accounted for about a fifth of all uranium imports to the bloc.

Phuc-Vinh Nguyen, an energy expert at the Jacques Delors Institute in Paris, said, “Uranium—and nuclear power in general—is still not subject to sanctions.” 

“If the situation in Niger gets worse, this would certainly complicate the adoption of sanctions on Russian uranium in the short term,” he said.

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