The German defense minister has called Niger a strategic partner "in the fight against terrorism, organized crime and illegal migration." Nearly 900 German troops are deployed in the Sahel region, including 40 in Niger.
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday opened a new Bundeswehr camp in the Niger capital of Niamey.
"Niger, like Mali and the other countries of the Sahel region, is part of the European neighborhood, a neighborhood facing unending challenges," von der Leyen said. Niger "is a valuable, reliable and determined partner in the fight against terrorism, organized crime and illegal migration in the region."
During her visit, von der Leyen handed over 53 military transport vehicles to Niger Defense Minister Kalla Moutari as part of an "upgrade initiative" aimed at bolstering the country's military capabilities.
Germany is also developing other defense-related projects in Niger, including building an officer training school and expanding the military section of the capital's airport.
Niger forms part of the G5 Sahel group (G5S), a regional security initiative that includes Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Mauritania. The initiative was born out of regional instability triggered by an Islamist insurgency and coup in Mali in 2012.
Since 1999, the UN has been trying to pacify the eastern region of the DR Congo. The mission known as MONUSCO has nearly 20,000 soldiers and an annual budget of $1.4 billion (1.3 billion euros). Despite being the largest and most expensive mission of the United Nations, violence in the country continues.
Darfur: Powerless against violence
UNAMID is a joint mission of the African Union and the UN in Sudan's volatile Darfur region. Observers consider the mission a failure. "The UN Security Council should work harder at finding political solutions, rather than spending money for the military's long-term deployment," says security expert Thierry Vircoulon.
S.Sudan: Turning a blind eye to fighting?
Since the beginning of South Sudan's civil war in 2013, nearly 4 million people have been displaced according to the UN. Some of them are being sheltered in UN compounds. But when clashes between government forces and rebels broke out in the capital Juba in July 2016, the blue helmets failed to effectively intervene. Later, the Kenyan UNMISS commander was sacked by former UN chief Ban Ki-moon.
Mali: The most dangerous UN mission in the world
UN peacekeepers in Mali are monitoring compliance with the peace agreement between the government and an alliance of Tuareg-led rebels. But Islamist terrorist groups such as AQIM continue to carry out attacks making MINUSMA one of the UN's most dangerous military intervention in the world. Germany has deployed more than 700 soldiers as well as helicopters.
CAR: Sexual abuse scandals making headlines
MINUSCA, the UN's mission in Central Africa Republic has not helped to improve the image of the United Nations in Africa. French troops have been accused of sexually abusing children by the Code Blue Campaign. Three years on, victims haven't got any help from the UN. Since 2014, 10,000 soldiers and 1,800 police officers have been deployed. Violence in the country has receded but tensions remain.
Western Sahara: Hope for lasting peace
The UN mission in the Westsahara known as MINURSO has been active since 1991. MINURSO is there to monitor the armistice between Morocco and the rebels of the "Frente Polisario" who are fighting for the independence of the Western Sahara. In 2016, Morocco which has occupied this territory since 1976, dismissed 84 MINURSO staff after being angered by a statement from the UN Secretary-General.
Ivory Coast: Peaceful end of a mission
The UN mission in Ivory Coast fulfilled its objectives on June 30, 2016 after 14 years. Since 2016, the troops have been gradually withdrawn. Former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said this was a "turning point for the United Nations and the Ivory Coast." But only after the full withdrawal will it be clearly known whether or not the mission was successful on a long-term basis.
Liberia: Mission accomplished
The UN deployment in Liberia is - as in neighboring Ivory Coast - will soon be history. The soldiers are leaving by mid-2017. Since the end of the 14-year civil war, UNMIL has ensured stability in Liberia and helped build a functioning state. Liberia's government now wants to provide security for itself. The country is still struggling with the consequences of a devastating Ebola epidemic.
Sudan: Ethiopians as peace promoters?
The UNISFA soldiers are patrolling the disputed oil-rich region of Abyei. Sudan and South Sudan both claim to be rightful owners of this territory located between the two countries. More than 4,000 blue helmets from Ethiopia are deployed. Ethiopia is the world's second largest peace-keeping contributor. At the same time, the Ethiopian army is accused of human rights violations back home.
Somalia: Future model AU mission?
UN peacekeepers in Somalia are fighting under the leadership of the African Union in a mission known as AMISOM. The soldiers are in the Horn of African country to battle the al-Shabaab Islamists and bring stability to the war-torn nation. Ethiopia, Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Nigeria have all contributed their troops for AMISOM.