Mobility has played an important role in Niger’s north throughout its history. Local populations, in response to droughts or shifting border regimes in Libya and Algeria, have traditionally been able to make changes to their livelihood strategies and have shown a remarkable capacity for adaptation, often through migration as a way of diversifying livelihoods. However, since the early 2000s, and particularly since 2016, this system has come under pressure as increasing collaboration with Western countries, whose agendas are aimed at curbing irregular migration from Africa to Europe, has reduced the options available for income generation.
This paper lays out the emerging longer-term dynamics in the region in response to the criminalisation of smuggling in Niger in 2015 and the measures subsequently taken to curb northward migratory movements. It has discerned such effects on the local economy and on the perception of governance providers, who are often responsible for detecting and managing discontent.
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