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The recent military coup in Niger has thrown Algeria’s strategic plans into disarray concerning the construction of a gas pipeline to Nigeria. Algeria had envisioned transporting substantial gas volumes to the European continent through the TNGP project which includes the 4,401 km-long Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline (TSGP) which traverses Niger. The sudden upheaval caused by the coup has muddled Algeria’s calculations and raised concerns about the viability of the gas pipeline initiative.

Illustration from Twitter/@RiefqiMuna

Niger’s military announced the ousting of President Mohamed Bazoum’s regime, leading to the closure of borders and the imposition of a curfew. This abrupt development poses a direct challenge to Algeria’s interests, which heavily relies on Niger’s support for the successful realization of the gas pipeline.

Algeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs swiftly responded by cautioning against any foreign military intervention in Niger. It called for the restoration of “constitutional legitimacy” and reiterated its support for President Bazoum, emphasizing his legitimacy as the head of the state.

The coup’s impact on Algeria’s gas pipeline plans has raised concerns among experts. Hisham Mu’tadid, an authority in international relations, expressed that the political turmoil and military intervention in Niger would inevitably disrupt projects involving the African region. He pointed out that Algeria’s ambitious gas pipeline project, crucial for its economic aspirations, faces formidable challenges due to the prevailing political instability and security concerns.

Mu’tadid further elucidated that the military coup’s consequences could be long-lasting, requiring considerable time to restore political stability and security in Niger. He emphasized that Algeria’s gas pipeline project seemed to have been politically motivated, driven by competition with Morocco’s own gas project designed to bolster West Africa’s economic dynamics and international prominence.

Experts highlighted the dissonance between Algeria’s competitive approach and the pragmatic realities on the ground. Rachid Lazraq, head of the North African Center for Studies, Research and Evaluation of Public Policies, commented that Algeria’s military regime, grappling with internal economic crises, had shifted its focus to foreign ventures in Africa. The coup’s aftermath has exposed the vulnerabilities of Algeria’s ambitions, as its competing plans lack coherent economic foundations among the countries involved.


This report is based on Mostafa Shakeri's article on Hespress, published on August 3, 2023, at 09:00

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