Togo gets roped into Niger and Benin’s dispute

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The border dispute between Niger and Benin continues to intensify as Togo is made a relevant stakeholder in this debacle. Reports indicate that Niger authorities have imposed new rules for freight removal from Togo. This is despite the fact that Benin and Niger had in the past established a bilateral road transport agreement.

As reported by the Togolese publication, Togo First, freight removal from Togo has been hit with new measures. These measures ensure that moving forward, Nigerien goods in Togo, including at the port of Lomé, “will be reserved exclusively for vehicles registered in Niger and Togo,” as relayed by Niger’s Ministry of Transportation.

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“These measures are in line with the bilateral agreement on road transport between the Republic of Niger and the Togolese Republic,” Colonel Major Salissou Mahaman Salissou, Secretary-General of the ministry, disclosed via a statement released on May 11.

“Upon exceptional authorization from the Minister of Transport and Equipment, vehicles registered in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Ghana may also participate in freight removal. Any violator will be subject to sanctions provided for by the regulations in force,” the statement added.

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This move by Niger follows the sanctions imposed on the country by the West African bloc, ECOWAS, including the closure of borders, which forced Niger to transit its cargo through Burkina Faso at the port of Lomé in Togo.

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Since then, Togo and Niger have been on a mission to strengthen their bilateral relationship spanning various incentives for operators in Niger.

On the other hand, Niger has shut its borders to Benin, following its July 26th coup in 2023, which ousted the then-democratic government under Mohamed Bazoum, and replaced it with a Junta government led by Abdourahamane Tchiani.

A week back, Benin blocked China’s first oil shipment from Niger over the same border dispute, restricting the export of fuel from its port after Niger refused to open its land border to goods coming from the south.

Prior to this, just 5% of cargo passed through the port of Lomé was from Niger; Lomé has long wished to see this percentage rise.

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Benin and the landlocked country of Niger had in the past established a bilateral road transport agreement that permits Beninese enterprises to carry Nigerien goods and imports through Benin’s and Togolese ports.

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