Mercy Corps Warns of Worsening Food Crisis and Instability in Niger Amid Sanctions

05 September 2023

Mercy Corps warns that sanctions in Niger following July’s coup are impacting the ability of humanitarian organizations to meet the vital needs of 3.3 million food-insecure Nigeriens. Caps imposed on cash withdrawals from banks are causing delays in emergency cash transfers. Food supplies are blocked at borders, while available contingency stocks will only be able to assist 1.2 million Nigeriens for a period of one month. Additionally, with more than 700,000 people displaced in Niger—including Nigeriens, refugees from Nigeria, Mali, and Burkina Faso, and asylum seekers—and 20,000 newly displaced people reported due to violence in the last month, the political crisis is pushing the limits of an already desperate humanitarian situation.

Mercy Corps joins 43 humanitarian organizations working in Niger in calling on the international community to introduce humanitarian exemptions to all sanctions imposed against the country to ensure the critical continuity of access to aid.

Mercy Corps Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Whitney Elmer, says:

“The restrictive measures on monetary exchanges with Niger are affecting our ability to operate and provide urgently needed assistance.

“We have already seen the negative impacts of imposed sanctions-- from increased food prices and shortages, to difficulty accessing necessary agricultural inputs for production. The threats to Nigeriens are mounting and additional resource scarcity is causing tensions to rise. There is a real risk of igniting new conflict and instability if we don’t see humanitarian carve-outs from sanctions to allow lifesaving aid to continue to flow into the country as needs increase.

“All parties in Niger must uphold their humanitarian obligations to protect civilians and humanitarians from ongoing hostilities and to ensure unfettered access for international and local aid groups to reach civilians in need. We urgently call for a review of all imposed sanctions-- whether already adopted or under consideration-- to help mitigate a deteriorating humanitarian crisis.”


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