Timeline of Humanity
in focus: Niger West Africa
Timeline: Niger West Africa | BeingBlackToday.com
Areva, a French multinational group
and primary uranium miner in Niger
Multinational Corporations or Groups
Multinational means that a corporation or group that own or controls the production of goods or services in two or more countries, other than your own country.

Criticism of Multinationals
Multinational corporations are often criticized for entering countries that have low human rights or environmental standards.

In addition, they typically use their capital to play workers, communities, and nations against one another. 

Some negative outcomes generated by multinational corporations include increased inequality, unemployment, and wage stagnation.

The aggressive use of tax avoidance schemes allows multinational corporations to gain competitive advantages over small and medium-sized enterprises, and cause less money to be spent on public services.

The 5 Major Cons of Multinational Corporations

  1. Market Dominance - The market dominance of multinational corporations makes it hard for the local small firms to succeed and thrive.
  2. Price Gouging - The multinational companies commonly have the power of monopoly that gives them the chance of making excess profit.
  3. Pushing Local Firms Out Of Business - In the developing economies, these giant multinationals push the local firms out of their businesses.
  4. Use of "Slave Labor" - Multinational corporations use so-called slave labor wherein the workers are paid with very small wages.
  5. Environment Threat - For the sake of profit, these global companies commonly contribute to pollution as well as make use of the non-renewable resources that can be a threat to the environment.

Niger Traditional Chief
Niger Achieves Complete Independence from France
Although the Republic of Niger was created in 1958, the nation did not receive its complete and formal independance from France until August 3, 1960.

China Nuclear Mining Company Causes Unrest in Niger
In 2009, the government leased the lands of the people of Azalik in Niger to China for uranium exploration. This deal left the people there without a livelihood

In 2009, without any offer of compensation, the government leased the lands of the people in a region of Niger, to China for uranium exploration. This deal left the Tuareg, the majority population there, without a livelihood or means for supporting themselves. Like their ancestors, they once eked out a living selling dried salts from an ancestral well.

President Mamadou Tandja, ousted in February 2010 by a military coup
Beginning in 2007, President Mamadou Tandja, awarded China and other foreign countries, several exploration and operating permits, for uranium, gold, silver, and oil in the desert of northern Niger.

The Tuareg rebels, who want local people to have greater control over resources, have claimed that despite billions of dollars pouring into the country, the Tandja administration and mining companies of have neglected development in the north.

In the past, the Tuareg rebel organization, Movement of Nigeriens for Justice (MNJ), fought against Niger troops and sabotaged Chinese mining operations.

In 2010, Nigerien workers – many Tuareg -- denounced in a written statement conditions at SOMINA, claiming it resembled “a Chinese colony."

Nigerien laborers sleep in dorms, separately from Chinese workers. The rooms are located in illegal proximity to open pit uranium mines, and the Nigeriens suffer chronic diarrhea on account of an unsanitary water supply, the document charged. Trouble at the mine has led Azalik to be referred to throughout northern Niger as “Guantanamo.”

Despite poor conditions, the mine offers a coveted chance to work. But further frustrating locals, SOMINA employs hundreds of Chinese nationals and recruits ethnically Hausa workers from the south despite widespread poverty and unemployment among the local Tuaregs.

What work is available for Tuaregs is hazardous and poorly paid, according to Ali Idrissa, president of the coalition of nongovernmental groups ROTAB, which recently completed a study on mining conditions in the north. Hard, manual labor like digging holes and transporting bricks under the glaring sun is reserved for Nigerien workers, while bureaucratic and engineering jobs are given to Chinese workers. A Nigerien engineer’s salary at the Chinese-run mine at Azalik is about $350 a month, compared with $2,000 a month at France’s Areva.

Chinese companies are "exploiting" the local Tuareg population in areas like Azelik, according to Mr. Idrissa. "Their land is expropriated and given to the Chinese in order to mine riches. And in return, [Tuareg workers'] jobs don't even provide the minimum they need to support their families," he says.

Meanwhile, Chinese mining executives refuse invitations from local elected officials to discuss improving conditions. "The [Chinese] company at Azalik does not even respect the region's local elected officials," Idrissa says. "They won't even receive them."

“They say they don’t have to answer to us because they have direct communication with the central government,” adds Mohamed Mamane Illo, a former Tuareg rebel and elected councilor of Ingall.

Mostly duplicated from: 
China mining company causes unrest in Niger, by Hannah Armstrong, March 29, 2010, The Christian Science Monitor, https://m.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/2010/0329/China-mining-company-causes-unrest-in-Niger

France Slammed for Radioactive Contamination of Niger
Greenpeace, an environmental pressure group, accusses the French uranium mining company, Areva, of contaminating the environment neat its two uranium mines in Niger, putting lives in danger.

Half of Areva's uranium comes from Niger, one of Africa's poorest countries. French nuclear group Areva is not paying enough attention to the health of workers and inhabitants around its two uranium mines in Niger, Greenpeace said on Monday. The environmental lobby group called in a report for an independent radiation study to be conducted around the two mine sites at Arlit and Akokan in the country's northwest and for the area to be decontaminated.

"The people of Arlit and Akokan continue to be surrounded by poisoned air, contaminated soil and polluted water," Greenpeace said. "With each day that passes, Nigeriens are exposed to radiation, illness and poverty - while Areva makes billions from their natural resources," it said. Half of Areva's uranium comes from Niger, one of Africa's poorest countries, despite being the world's third uranium producer, where the company has been mining since the late 1960s. Areva, the world-leader in nuclear energy and Niger's leading employer, has also signed a deal to start tapping a third mine in the desert nation from 2013 or 2014.

"Greenpeace is calling for an independent study around the mines and towns of Arlit and Akokan, followed by a thorough clean up and decontamination (...) Areva must start to act like the responsible company that it claims to be," it said. Greenpeace carried out soil, water and air tests in Arlit and Akokan last November, which were studied in collaboration with the France-based Research and Independent Information on Radioactivity Commission (CRIIRAD) and Niger's Network of Organisations for Transparency and Budgetary Analysis (ROTAB). The research, which Greenpeace said was not exhaustive, showed abnormal concentrations of uranium in the soil, as well as of radon, a radioactive natural gas in air.

"Radioactive scrap metal" from the mines was also available at local markets, according to the report. The tests were carried out around the mines as well as in mining villages, located several kilometres (miles) away and home to 80,000 people. "In four of the five water samples that Greenpeace collected in the Arlit region, the uranium concentration was above the World Health Organisation recommended limit for drinking water," the report stated.

Often slammed by Greenpeace and other environmentalist groups, Areva said in January it would before the end of the year carry out a general inspection of its Niger sites to ensure the population was not exposed to radioactivity. "That move should resolve definitely the problem and ensure that members of the public are free from radioactive exposure," Areva spokeswoman, Patricia Marie, told AFP. Areva promised to shed light on the situation after Greenpeace's November visit identified "high levels of radiation on Akokan streets."