The political economy of voter engagement in Niger

Research reports and studies
February 2016
Aoife McCullough, Abdoutan Harouna and Hamani Oumarou with Yaye Djingarey Zaratou Idi Mamadou, Maman Noura, Sadjo Aissa and Abdouramane Magagi Kabo

This briefing forms part of a three-piece political economy analysis that was carried out by ODI and Laboratoire d'Etudes et de Recherche sur les Dynamiques Sociales et le Développement Local (LASDEL) researchers. The aim was to inform the design of the Participatory and Responsive Governance (PRG) programme to be implemented by the US Agency for International Development from 2015 to 2020.

To inform the PRG, this research sought to understand how political parties engage voters in Niger, whether their engagement involves responding to citizen priorities and if not, why not. In October and November 2015, three months before the presidential and legislative elections were scheduled in Niger, research was carried out in three regions: Niamey, Maradi and Tahoua.

The data in this study was collected through interviews and focus group discussions of the key voter engagement actors. These actors were previously identified through a literature review and political economy workshop with students from LASDEL. The key actors include: political party representatives, male and female activists, people who did not engage in politics, Islamic association representatives and businessmen/women.

The briefing provides some interesting findings about the state of voter engagement in Niger; concluding with key recommendations for increasing voter engagement and reforming the clientelist Nigerien electoral system.