Mahamadou Issoufou, president of the Republic of Niger, is nominated for his contributions to the stability of West Africa and his leadership on poverty reduction.
Mahamadou Issoufou’s work with neighbouring countries in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has bolstered regional solidarity and helped maintain a united response to the challenges and insecurity facing West Africa. Central to this work have been his efforts within ECOWAS and the United Nations to foster unity and integration in Africa, warning against divisions between neighbouring countries and promoting the need for sustainable development.
President Issoufou has cooperated closely with international partners in tackling security crises, including by keeping Nigerien troops in the UN peacekeeping force in Mali despite significant losses. He has also vowed to continue building stability in the region and committing forces to fight Boko Haram and other terrorist threats.
Since his inauguration as president in 2011, through fair and free elections, he has maintained his commitment to pro-poor policies. The 3N Initiative – ‘les Nigériens nourrissent les Nigériens’ – was a key theme of his election campaign, and has been followed through in government. The initiative demonstrates a serious long-term strategy for tackling food security, rural livelihoods and poverty reduction. In this vein, Niger became one of the founding members of the Africa Climate Smart Agriculture alliance, created in June 2014 to support smallholder farms in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Mohamadou Issoufou’s government is also pioneering one of Africa’s first systematic national programmes of cash welfare support to help the poorest families bolster their livelihoods and increase their economic opportunities. In a year in which the Millennium Development Goals will conclude, Issoufou has laid the foundations for measurable success on poverty alleviation.
In a region characterized by extremism and short-sighted policies, Issoufou has proven himself a moderate statesman. He has exhibited steadfast commitment and resolve in the face of conflict, extreme poverty, terrorism and unrest.