The economic situation in Niger is deteriorating after the failed attempt at a military intervention by ECOWAS. Nigeria’s President, Bola Tinubu has cut off the electricity supply in Niger, which leaves the people of Niger in total obscurity and which subsequently impedes economic activities in Niger. President Tinubu did so to reaffirm his authority after discrediting himself with the failed military intervention.
Nigeria cut electricity in Niger on Tuesday, August 8, 2023. The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) ordered the immediate disconnection of power supply to the Niger Republic following the country's failure to pay its outstanding electricity bill of $160 million. The disconnection of power has caused widespread blackouts in Niger, affecting businesses, schools, and hospitals. The government of Niger has said that it is working to resolve the issue with Nigeria and restore power to the country.
Nigeria owns 80% of the electricity supply in Niger. The country supplies Niger with about 400 megawatts of electricity, which accounts for about 80% of Niger's total electricity generation capacity.
The electricity supply from Nigeria is essential for Niger’s economy and people. It powers businesses, schools, hospitals, and other essential services. The disconnection of power from Nigeria has had a significant impact on Niger, causing widespread blackouts and affecting the lives of millions of people.
This is not the first time that Nigeria has cut electricity to Niger. In 2019, Nigeria also cut power supply to Niger for failing to pay its bills. The disconnection of power has caused significant economic and social hardship in Niger.
The cut in electricity supply in Niger epitomizes the power dynamics between the two countries. It essentially shows Nigeria’s economic domination over Niger. The reality is that economic domination leads to political submission. Economic dependence is what creates the political enslavement of a country because for a country to sustain itself economically, especially if it depends on the supply of another country, that dependent country will now have to do the political bid of the supplying country.
Niger is the world’s fourth producer of uranium, and yet, the country is unable to produce its own electricity. It is completely dependent on another country for power supply, which makes it a vassal of that country to some extent.
The government of Niger has said that it is committed to paying its outstanding debts to Nigeria. However, the country is facing a financial crisis and is struggling to raise the money to pay the bill. The coup is suffocating Niger economically and the country may collapse if no electricity is supplied. In the meantime, the government of Niger is trying to resolve the issue with Nigeria and restore power to the country.
Once again, this brings back the issue of African countries’ inability to process their own commodities into manufactured and consumable goods. As long as Niger will continue to sell its uranium as a raw product rather than a manufactured one, the country that supplies electricity to Niger will continue to overuse its leverage over Niger to get its way and impose its will.