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August 5, 2020, 07.07 PM

"The EU wants to stop migration, but to do that you need to help the people recover. Without that, they will have to try something else."

An EU official familiar with the program said the rollout in Agadez was “in line with the timings for EU processes.”

The official, who declined to be named, citing EU protocol, also said it took Agadez authorities longer than expected to draw up a list of potential beneficiaries, evaluate their proposals and purchase goods.

The authorities did not respond to requests for comment.

Under EU rules, local officials buy merchandise and equipment for EUTF beneficiaries. They are not allowed to receive cash.

The Agadez business proposals were submitted for approval to a committee including local authorities, aid groups and ex-traffickers — not EU representatives.

Some phases of the EUTF program were delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, the official said. But that did not affect Chani and many other Agape residents who applied long before the outbreak.

Migration crisis

Thousands of migrants have perished since 2010 on the journey northward, often during crossings of the desert in open-back pick-up trucks or the Mediterranean Sea in overloaded, rickety boats.

In 2016, about 300,000 migrants passed through Niger to Libya. That dropped to around 50,000 in 2019, due largely to Niger’s EU-backed clamp-down.

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