APPENDIX 3. Chronology of twentieth Century Political, Economic and Environmental Events in Niger (References in parentheses are listed at bottom)

Colonial expansion – French military force defeats all tribal military forces.
Initial formalization of contacts – French signed treaties with the rulers of the Say, Gaya, and Dosso states. (1) (2)
1900 – 1920s


French policy shifts Niger agriculture export away from traditional trans-Sahara trade toward international export through East-West trade through Atlantic ports to Europe (3)

Famine as a result of a locust outbreak (6)

Tuareg uprising as a result of a famine, a harsh tax regime and the French recruitment drive for its troops (8)
Niger formally incorporated as a French colony in French West Africa (1)
French launch three prong development scheme for “evitalization to counter signs of stagnation under the new export regime - Increase number of wells, veterinary and medical campaigns, open markets to South (3)

Environmental degradation emerges as surprising reaction to revitalization campaign (3)
  • Overgrazing and Deforestation no clear property rights regarding vastly expanded well network exploited by expanding human and cattle populations
  • Population increase (human and livestock) med and vet campaigns, and herds not sold for export as they are a sign of wealth.

Famine as a result of a locust outbreak (6)
Nationalization of all natural resourcesFrance establishes national law for Niger that asserts state control over all natural resources, including trees (3) (4)
1950 – 1960s
Above average rainfall supports an increasing agricultural export economy and enables Haussa farmers to migrate northwards and settle in lower rainfall areas
Formal independence of Niger from France
Famine as a result of a Intense drought (7)
Large-scale application of technical solutions to address drought threat and improve food security
  • Reforestation with exotics (20% of 60 million trees survive).
  • CARE International’s Majjia Valley Project (4)


1984 -85

Internationally-based NGO (Serving In Mission)
  • Identifies potential to nurture existing shrubs to trees, formalizes it as a set of practices (farmer-managed natural regeneration) and
  • begins regional implementation as part of the Maradi Integrated Development Program (MIDP)
Drought causes food deficit displaces 400 000 people (5)
  • Food-for-Work Program (MIDP) and World Food Program (4)

Death of President Kountché creates political vacuum that generates destabilizing political turmoil for a decade, hobbling the political reach of the national government.
Toureg assault kills 30 to mark period of open rebellion.
Military Coup ends political stand-off that paralysed the first democratically elected government in Niger's history (8)
2004 - 2005
Famine early end to the rains and localized desert locust damage to crops and pasture lands adversely impacted Niger’s pasture and cereal production, resulting in a food security crisis in the agro-pastoral and pastoral zones.

References: (1) 2001 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, 2000 Grolier Interactive Inc.;
(2); (3) Brough and Kimenyi 2004; (4) WRI 2008, (5) UNDRO 1985 (6) MacDonald 1986 (7) Nicholson 1983 (8) Posthumus, B. 2000; (9) Furber, A.H. 1997