19 Jan Gulf Interests on the Banks of the Niger River *
I paid a visit to the sisterly Republic of The Niger and was hosted by its distinguished Parliament throughout my research period and offered all the facilities to achieve my work in the best manner possible. Special thanks go to the Adviser to the Nigerien Parliament and all his aides who scheduled academic programs which allowed me to travel across the north, south, east and west of the Republic of Niger till I reached the border with Niger’s neighbors (Benin, Nigeria, Mali and Burkina Faso).
During that visit, the Nigerian Parliament, represented by its esteemed adviser, organized a voyage in the Niger River or “River of Rivers” as often called. This river is considered an important source of electric power and the Kainji Dam of Nigeria is one of the most significant energy projects constructed on this river.
The most important thing the Nigerien Parliament Adviser told me on that exciting trip was that the Niger River is facing great challenges, such as evaporation and pollution, but the West African countries have been keen to put in place the important mechanisms to address this.
The interests of the Gulf States on the banks of that great river are diverse. I participated in the African Issues Forum held under the theme “Gulf of Guinea, Strategies and Security” in March 2018 with a study on the Gulf “water interests” in the Gulf of Guinea and the main reasons behind those interests. I discussed the interests of each Gulf State respectively in that geographical spot especially that the international powers in that region are no longer alone, but other, no less adroit parties have emerged. We were expecting a competition for influence but these parties were soon involved in the strategy of international powers who implicitly recognize the importance of those parties in international politics. As such, the Gulf interests were abandoned between the rock of international interests and the hard place of political fluctuations in the countries riparian of the Niger River and the Gulf of Guinea.
What I want to emphasize is that its true that certain Gulf parties have not achieved what they aspire for in that region in a way that could be described as major strategic success, but it managed to some extent to gain strong internal influence in the countries riparian of the Niger River and the Gulf of Guinea, and anyone residing there will notice that from the first instance.
* A scholarly study I presented at the Forum of African Issues in the Republic of Benin, March 2018
* The study was published in four chapters in the Africa Report Magazine, issued by the Forum of African Issues for the West African States, May 2018.
* The study was sent to scientific research centers in the UAE, July 2018.
* I delivered as a scholarly lecture for students of the University of Minnesota, Dakar, within the course of African studies, September 2018
Dr. Amina Alarimi
UAE researcher in African affairs