Niger, a major transit country for Africans seeking to reach Europe, has told foreign ministers visiting from Europe that it needs € 1 billion to combat illegal migration.
The International Organization for Migration projects that around 150,000 migrants, mostly coming from other West African countries, are expected to pass through Niger this year, crossing the Sahara Desert on their way to the Mediterranean coast.
Niger borders Nigeria to the south and Libya to the North, two countries from which many migrants set off on the perilous journey to the European Union (EU) members Italy or Malta.
“Niger needs a billion euros to fight against clandestine migration,” Foreign Minister Ibrahim Yacoubou told a news conference in Niger’s capital, flanked by his French and German counterparts Jean-Marc Ayrault and Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
“We’ve solicited the help of the European Union, France and Germany. We want to protect legal migration against clandestine migration,” Yacoubou said.
The EU faces its worst migration crisis since World War II, with huge numbers of refugees fleeing war in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and no let-up in arrivals from Africa.