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Niger, a landlocked, French-speaking country of barely 25 million people, with an economy half the size of El Paso’s, wouldn’t normally qualify as a US priority. However, the vast, arid country is having a moment in Washington as a stand-out democracy amid a flurry of military coups that have toppled civilian rule in neighbouring Chad, Mali and Burkina Faso.
Held up as a bulwark against terrorism and Russian influence in the Sahel, Niamey has seen US assistance more than triple over the past six years, while top Joe Biden administration officials have come calling.
This week, The Africa Report caught up with Niger’s new ambassador to the US, Mamadou Kiari Liman-Tinguiri, for the first in an occasional series of interviews with African diplomats in Washington, DC.
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