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Episode #57 - August 2023

In this month's Global in the Granite State, we delve into the recent coup in Niger, analyzing its far-reaching implications and underscoring its significance on the global stage. On the ominous date of July 26th, the Presidential Guard took a daring step by placing President Mohamed Bazoum under house arrest, sealing the borders, imposing airspace restrictions, and boldly proclaiming their seizure of power. The world was caught off guard by this unforeseen upheaval, prompting a wave of sanctions and international condemnations.

To provide deeper insights into this complex situation, we had the privilege of speaking with two distinguished individuals: Kamissa Camara, former Minister of Foreign Affairs in Mali and current Senior Advisor on Africa at the U.S. Institute of Peace, and Susan Fine, a retired Foreign Service officer with 30 years of experience at USAID, working extensively in the region. Their perspectives are informed by their extensive contacts in the region, a profound understanding of the country, and their ability to grasp the broader contextual landscape within which this crisis has unfolded.

While it might be tempting to perceive this coup as having no direct impact on the United States, the truth is that there are several intricate complications that could arise if Niger becomes the fourth West African country to succumb to authoritarian leadership in the span of just two years. The insights shared by Camara and Fine shed light on these potential complications and underscore the interconnectedness of global politics and stability. As the situation continues to develop, it becomes increasingly evident that proactive engagement and thoughtful consideration of these events are imperative, even for those geographically distant from the affected region.

Kamissa CamaraKamissa Camara - Kamissa Camara is a senior advisor for Africa at the U.S. Institute of Peace. She is a sub-Saharan Africa policy analyst and practitioner with 15 years of professional experience. She has served as Mali’s minister of foreign affairs, minister of digital economy and planning, and most recently, as chief of staff to the president of Mali. Previous to that, she served as senior foreign policy advisor to the president. Prior to working with the Malian government, Camara held leadership positions in Washington, D.C. with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and PartnersGlobal. At NED, Camara co-founded and co-chaired the Sahel Strategy Forum. She also spearheaded a multi-million-dollar program supporting civil society initiatives in West and Central Africa, with a particular focus on the Sahel.

From 2015 until 2018, she was the Sahel and sub-Saharan Africa instructor at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institutewhere she trained U.S. diplomats before their postings in the region. Camara holds a master’s in international economics and development from Universit√© Grenoble Alpes and a bachelor’s in international relations from Universit√© de Paris. 

Susan FineSusan Fine - 
Susan Fine currently serves as the Board Chair of Rain for the Sahel and Sahara, a NH based-NGO that has partnered with rural and nomadic Nigeriens since 2001. She was the Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, and Acting Assistant to the Administrator, in USAID’s Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning (PPL).  Ms. Fine, a retired Senior Foreign Service Officer with rank of Minister Counselor, has served in multiple positions in Washington and overseas including Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator, PPL, responsible for policy and development cooperation, Director for Development Cooperation, and Mission Director for Senegal and the Sahel, where she managed a complex, multi-sector portfolio in Senegal, the Sahel Resilience program and bilateral activities in Niger and Burkina Faso.  Prior to that, she was Director for East African Affairs in the Africa Bureau where she oversaw USAID’s programs in the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes countries.

 From 2010-11, Ms. Fine was Deputy Mission Director responsible for southern Sudan during its historic self-determination referendum and transition to independence.  Ms. Fine began her development career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Swaziland and served with USAID in Uganda, South Africa, and Senegal before returning to Washington in 2004 to work in the Bureau for Asia and the Middle East and the Office of the Chief Operating Officer.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Colby College and a master’s degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. 

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