2014 Investment Climate Statement - Niger

2014 Investment Climate Statement
Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs
June 2014

Executive Summary

Niger has enjoyed political stability and an increase in development of natural resources including uranium and oil over the past three years. In response to the troubled security climate in the wider region, Niger has increased security-sector spending and become a keen partner of the U.S. and other allied nations in efforts to ensure the security of Nigerien citizens and foreigners in Niger alike. Some of the biggest opportunities in Niger include infrastructure projects and development of its natural resources. Modernization of the agricultural sector presents another opportunity, as agriculture makes up 39 percent of GDP and employs 55 percent of the active workforce yet it does not employ modern practices and is susceptible to climactic shocks which slow the economy. Inflation has been kept low and the IMF estimates that GDP will continue to grow at one of the fastest rates in the world. Niger is open to foreign trade and President Issoufou has met with interested U.S. investors and followed up the meetings by ensuring his staff works to ensure potential investors have the information and assistance they need. The country's aim is to implement the trade policy of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and it has joined the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) of the European Union. Customs duties and taxes have been revised recently, though the implementation of new codes is still in progress. In 2014 a new investment code was adopted.

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

Niger is open to foreign investment and has adopted new tax and investment codes which the Government of Niger (GON) is working to implement. The GON has negotiated with companies interested in investing, but several international business representatives note what they believe are “unrealistic expectations,” saying the GON has dreams of collecting unfairly high taxes in sectors including telecommunications, soft drink production, gold mining, and uranium mining. However, the GON has negotiated with businesses and regularly waives taxes for companies involved in importation, exportation and production of goods in Niger. The GON is working to strike the balance between attracting investors and collecting taxes at a fair rate; it is flexible when a solid case is made. Under the Investment Code, industrial investments can enjoy some tax and customs exemptions, including in some cases exemptions from the value-added tax (VAT).

While the extractive industries lead the way in terms of investment opportunities for foreign companies, Niger’s agricultural and service sectors are also areas where the GON is extremely open to foreign investment. In the agricultural sector, Niger lags far behind in modernization in all aspects of the value chain, including production, harvesting, transportation, processing, storage, and marketing. There is great demand for the mechanization of farming, but Niger has few financing opportunities that would allow for an increase in productivity that would enhance food security, a GON priority. In 2014, the GON purchased hundreds of tractors from China. When the U.S. embassy invited the GON and the private sector to participate in an escorted delegation to a U.S. agricultural trade show, both expressed immediate and significant interest.

The investment code lays out the general principles governing the reception and protection of foreign investment, as well as the incentives available for approved projects. The code offers guarantees to foreign direct investors, allowing them to transfer income of any kind from the capital invested and the proceeds from the liquidation of the investment, and ensures the existence of arbitration via the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The code allows for tax breaks, though terms are to be negotiated with the Ministry of Commerce on a case-by-case basis. Most investors benefit from special tax treatment and tariff protection for varying periods depending on the level and location of investment. The investment code guarantees equal treatment of investors regardless of nationality. Nigerien authorities have announced that the National Council of Private Investors (CNIP), which is charged with reviewing Niger’s investment climate and performance and proposing specific actions to address national investment priorities, will re-start activity soon, though it has not met for over a year and has not been an effective mechanism for instituting change to improve the business climate.

The Chamber of Commerce’s Guichet Unique, or one-stop shop, is the first step for foreign investors interested in doing business in Niger. The Guichet Unique can inform potential investors of investment incentives and the laws and regulations that govern investment. It is currently undergoing a World Bank-funded transformation into what is supposed to be a more efficient structure that will be called the House of Business. The Chamber of Commerce also has a division called the Center for Investment Promotion (CPI) that welcomes, directs, advises, and assists national and foreign investors. The investment code offers incentives to sectors the GON deems key to economic development: energy production, mineral exploration and mining, agriculture, food processing, forestry, fishing, low-cost housing construction, handicrafts, hotels, schools, health centers, and transportation. Total foreign ownership is permitted in most sectors except energy, mineral resources, and sectors restricted for national security purposes. In the extractive industries, any company to which the GON grants a mining permit must give the GON a 10 percent share of the company. However the GON reserves the right to require companies developing mineral resources to give the GON up to a 33 percent stake in their Nigerien operation. Foreign ownership of land is permitted but requires authorization from the Ministry of Planning, Land Management and Community Development. The Investment Code has established three different tiers of privileges for investors, listed below.

  • Tier 1: Promotional tier, for investments of 25 million CFA francs (US$50,000) or above.
  • Tier 2: Priority tier, for investments of 50 million CFA francs (US$100,000) or above.
  • Tier 3: Conventional tier, for large businesses with investments of at least 2 billion CFA (approximately USD 4 million). During the investment phase, the approved investments are exempt from import duties and taxes on material and equipment needed for the project that are not available locally. The advantages provided during the operational phase include exemption from profit tax (35 per cent). Apart from these regimes, two additional incentive schemes are part of the investment code. These apply to companies operating in remote regions, energy, agro-industry, and low-cost housing sectors.

Disincentives to investment include the limited domestic market, high transportation costs (Niger is landlocked), and a slow and cumbersome government bureaucracy. Niger's low literacy rate and weak education system limit the availability of skilled labor and service providers. English is not widely spoken (French is the official language). Additional deterrents to investment include limited institutional capacity for sustained growth, inadequate infrastructure, and corruption. Investors must exercise due diligence in selecting local business partners, and recognize that the sanctity of contracts - specifically with regard to dispute-resolution provisions - has not always been observed. International companies are required to have a local representative, and a good local representative can help the company navigate the complex political and bureaucratic processes.

Niger ranks near the bottom of the IFC’s “Doing Business” index, and the regulatory environment has been a barrier to private-sector growth. According to 2014 data, starting a business in Niger took 17 days and required six different procedures.

Amendments made in 2011 to the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA)’s Uniform Act on Secured Transactions sought to improve access to credit. The amendments broadened the range of assets that can be used as collateral to include future assets, extended the security interest to the proceeds of the original asset and introduced the possibility of out-of-court enforcement. However, financing for projects remains difficult to obtain and hinders private sector development.

TABLE 1: The following chart summarizes several well-regarded indices and rankings.



Rank or value

Website Address

TI Corruption Perceptions index




Heritage Foundation’s Economic Freedom index




World Bank’s Doing Business Report “Ease of Doing Business”




Global Innovation Index




World Bank GNI per capita


USD 390


TABLE 1B - Scorecards: The Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. Government entity charged with delivering development grants to countries that have demonstrated a commitment to reform, produced scorecards for countries with a 2012 per capita gross national income (GNI) of $4,085 or less. A list of countries/economies with MCC scorecards and links to those scorecards is available here: http://www.mcc.gov/pages/selection/scorecards. Details on each of the MCC’s indicators and a guide to reading the scorecards are available here: http://www.mcc.gov/documents/reports/reference-2013001142401-fy14-guide-to-the-indicators.pdf.

Economic Indices

MCC Government Effectiveness



MCC Rule of Law



MCC Control of Corruption



MCC Fiscal Policy



MCC Trade Policy



MCC Regulatory Quality



MCC Business Start-Up



MCC Land Rights Access



MCC Natural Resource Protection



MCC Access to Credit



MCC Inflation



2. Conversion and Transfer Policies

As a member of the African Financial Community (CFA) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Niger has benefited from a foreign exchange system that is free from restrictions on payments and transfers. Foreign capital and domestic capital are legally equal. Investments are not screened, and most sectors of the economy are open to foreign investment. Currency conversions above 2 million CFA (about USD 4,000) must be approved by the government.

3. Expropriation and Compensation

Article 28 of the 2010 Constitution states “Everyone has the right to own property and no one shall be deprived of his property except for public purposes subject to prior and just compensation.”

The investment code guarantees that no business will be subject to nationalization or expropriation except when deemed "in the public interest" as prescribed by the law. The code requires that the government compensate any expropriated business with just and equitable payment. In 2009, the then-GON unilaterally terminated the operating license of DATAPORT, a consortium of foreign investors from Libya and China that had purchased the national telecommunications provider SONITEL when it was privatized in 2002. The quantity of compensation paid to the companies was not publicized.

There were cases in which the former government of Niger reduced terms of telecommunications licenses due to failure to provide quality service. In early 2010, the Minister of Communications stated that the government of Niger would reduce the duration of two mobile phone operators' licenses because of poor service. According to the Minister, the fifteen-year license awarded to the Kuwaiti telecommunications firm Zain in 2000 was cut by five years pending a return to the agreed level of service quality. A second mobile telephone company, Moov, operated by Atlantique Telecom and majority-owned by Abu Dhabi-based Etisalat, saw its fifteen-year license reduced by three years. The quality issues included inadequate national coverage and a call loss rate more than double the international norm of five percent or less.

Niger’s parliament voted to nationalize incumbent telecoms operator Sonitel, abandoning a renewed attempt to privatize the company. The move allows the GON to carry out investments in the company over the next five years. The GON began looking for a new buyer for Sonitel and its mobile arm SahelCom in August 2011, after a deal to sell a stake in the company to Libya’s LAP Green Network for USD 62 million was scrapped the previous June. After heavy criticism of the deal by Niger’s main telecommunication union, the GON decided to cancel it and claimed the Libyan government investment vehicle had not been able to meet the terms of the agreement.

4. Dispute Settlement

While Niger’s laws protect property and commercial rights, the administration of justice can be slow and unequal. The investment code provides for settlement of disputes and indemnification by arbitration or by recourse to the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Disputes on Investment. However, investment dispute mechanisms in contracts are not always respected and due diligence is extremely important. Procedures are in place but are often not adhered to because of a lack of resources and corruption in the judicial system.

In 2011, an American contractor was detained by police at the behest of a disgruntled Nigerien subcontractor, in violation of contract provisions. The contractor was released by mid-day when the complaint was determined to be civil rather than criminal. There is an ongoing commercial dispute between U.S. firm SeaBoard against both ECOBANK and a Nigerien trader for the loss of rice shipped from SeaBoard to the Nigerien trader that defaulted on its payment to SeaBoard. Before SeaBoard was able to recover the rice, ECOBANK seized the rice as payment of a debt between the private trader and ECOBANK. SeaBoard is working with Nigerien counsel to resolve this commercial dispute.

Niger has been a member of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) since 1995. OHADA aims to harmonize business laws in sixteen African countries by adopting common rules adapted to their economies, setting up appropriate judicial procedures, and encouraging arbitration for the settlement of contractual disputes. OHADA regulations on business and commercial law include definition and classification of legal persons engaged in trade; procedures for credit and recovery of debts; means of enforcement; bankruptcy; receivership; and arbitration. Niger is a party to the New York Convention on the Recognition of Foreign Arbitral Awards.

5. Performance Requirements and Investment Incentives

Performance requirements are not imposed as a condition for establishing, maintaining, or expanding foreign direct investments. Niger offers incentives that are dependent on the size of the investment and number of jobs created. The Investment Code offers VAT-inclusive tax exemptions depending on the size of the business. Potential tax exemptions include start-up costs; property, industrial and commercial profits; services and materials required for production; and energy use. Exemption periods range from ten to fifteen years and include waivers of duties and license fees. There are no restrictions on foreign companies opening a local office in Niger, though they must obtain a business certificate from the Ministry of Commerce.

Niger has been a member of the WTO since 1996 and as such is committed to trade liberalization and opening its market to foreign investments. Products including traditional handicrafts of West Africa Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) origin enter duty free, together with a limited number of industrial products from producing enterprises approved by the WAEMU Commission. Niger’s African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) eligibility was reinstated in 2011 after the restoration of democracy that year. Under the provisions of AGOA, most Nigerien exports may enter the United States duty free. In December 2003, it was determined that Niger qualified for textile and apparel benefits provided under AGOA. Niger qualified for Category 9 of AGOA in 2006, which allows for the duty free entry of hand-woven fabric into the United States.

6. Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

Foreign and domestic private entities have the right to establish and own business enterprises. Private entities can freely establish, acquire, and dispose of interests in business enterprises. Legally established private-sector companies have the same access to markets, credit, and other business operations as do public enterprises. Foreign ownership of land is permitted but requires authorization from the Ministry of Planning. While Niger’s legal framework grants private companies wide ranging freedoms, companies encounter barriers to business on an almost daily basis. The poor legal and physical infrastructures make it difficult and expensive for firms to operate, and an inadequate regulatory framework hampers private sector development. In addition, onerous and inconsistent regulations impose substantial costs.

7. Protection of Property Rights

Niger is a member of the West African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI), which sets the legal framework for protecting intellectual property and approves requests for registration. Protection is initially granted for ten years and is renewable for an additional ten years.

As a signatory to the 1983 Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Niger provides national protection under Nigerien patent and trademark laws to foreign businesses. Niger is also a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and a signatory to the Universal Copyright Convention.

Niger’s judiciary system is understaffed. Despite a legal regime that protects intellectual property rights, the government of Niger lacks the capacity and resources to enforce copyright violations. Counterfeit CDs, videocassettes and pharmaceuticals are readily available. The international property rights index does not rank Niger. Law enforcement is poorly trained and there are weak administrative controls. Property rights also remain hampered by an ineffective judicial framework and a court system that is vulnerable to political interference. On average, it takes 35 days and 4 procedures to register a property in Niger. The World Intellectual Property Organization’s page for Niger can be found at: http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/profile.jsp?code=NE.

Local lawyers list: http://niamey.usembassy.gov/niger/attorney.html

Embassy point of contact: Mr. Samaila Salifou, +227-20-72-26-61 extension 4443 SalifouS@State.gov

8. Transparency of the Regulatory System

Investment approval should be within thirty days from the date of application but investors should be prepared for delays due to inter-ministerial processing. While efforts continue to make the tax laws more transparent, investors find it useful to specify financial obligations, such as tax liability, in individual business agreements. It is important to seek qualified guidance to ensure compliance with tax and labor regulations.

In March 2011, the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) designated Niger as “compliant.” The GON has made improvements towards transparent management and public disclosure of revenues generated from mining activities. Niger ranked 106 out of 177 in the 2013 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, an improvement of seven spots over 2012.

A multi-sectoral regulatory agency (ARM) established in 2004 has been replaced by a single-sector regulatory agency (ARTP) in 2013 to focus on telecommunications oversight. Other sectors are regulated by the relevant ministry in charge of the sector.

Niger is a member of the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development’s international network of transparent investment procedures: http://niger.eregulations.org/ (French language only). Foreign and national investors can find detailed information on administrative procedures applicable to investment and income generating operations including the number of steps, name and contact details of the entities and persons in charge of procedures, required documents and conditions, costs, processing time, and legal bases justifying the procedures.

9. Efficient Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment

There are no limits on the free flow of financial resources. Credit is allocated on market terms and foreigners do not face discrimination. However, the Nigerien banking sector is poorly developed, inefficient, and expensive. All the local banks are subsidiaries of banks based elsewhere in the region; there are no American or European banks. Bank credit to the private sector has been less than 10 percent of GDP and fewer than two percent of Nigeriens have a bank account. The Central Bank of West African States governs Niger’s banking institutions and sets minimum reserve requirements. Credit is generally allocated on market terms, but the cost is high and credit is usually extended only to large businesses. Four major commercial banks control roughly 90 percent of deposits. The government of Niger holds shares in several financial institutions.

10. Competition from State-Owned Enterprises

There are no laws or rules that offer preferential treatment to State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) but there are SOEs operating in the telecommunications, services, oil, uranium, and electricity industries. The GON passed a privatization law that provides the legal framework for privatization of 12 SOEs but further progress towards privatization has not occurred. The oil-distribution company (SONIDEP) and the national electricity company (NIGELEC) still hold monopolies. However, three mobile phone and two Internet licenses have been granted and competition exists in these sectors. For 30 years the French government-owned company AREVA held a virtual monopoly over Niger’s uranium, but recently uranium mining concessions have been awarded to companies from several other countries. Various foreign firms are competing in other extractive industries including the oil and gas sector.

11. Corporate Social Responsibility

The GON has focused on ensuring existing corporate social responsibility (CSR) obligations are met and that communities benefit in compliance with the Nigerien law that states 15 percent of revenues from the extractive industries must be returned to the municipality affected by the project. However, the money is difficult to track and local authorities who do receive funds note the GON has not published implementation procedures for how local authorities can spend the funds. As a result, foreign companies are forced to do any and all corporate social responsibility projects without an active and engaged government using the tax revenue generated by the company. Companies often engage in CSR projects involving health care, education, and other visible projects.

12. Political Violence

Niger has enjoyed political stability for the past three years. Democratic elections were held in 2011 and are due to be held again in 2016. While there can be political tension between the ruling majority and opposition, there has been almost no political violence since the current government took office. The GON has effectively improved its security posture as it seeks to remain a relative oasis of stability in a region marred by conflict and violence in neighboring countries Mali, Nigeria, and Libya. There is a continuing threat of terrorist activity by al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and associated groups, which have conducted kidnappings for ransom and terrorist attacks in Niger, Algeria and Mali. The security situation of neighboring Mali and the presence of violent extremist groups AQIM, Ansar al-Din and MUJAO have been a serious concern for the GON, which is an active participant in the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali. There is concern that Boko Haram’s violent tactics may spill over from northern Nigeria, although there have been no attacks in Niger.

13. Corruption

Niger ranked 106 out of 177 in Transparency International’s 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index. Niger’s economic freedom score is 55.1, making its economy the 127th freest in the 2014 Index. Improved control of government spending, labor freedom, monetary freedom, and freedom from corruption helped Niger outweigh a substantial decline in trade freedom and move up in the index. Niger is ranked 24th out of 46 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, and its overall score is slightly above the regional average.

President Issoufou has set up two anti–corruption institutions: the Bureau of Information, Claims and Fight Against Corruption and Bribery at the Ministry of Justice, to tackle corruption within the judiciary, and the multi–sector High Authority to Combat Corruption and Related Infractions (HALCIA). Both have been in place since October 2011. HALCIA reported that it received 55 complaints in the first four months of 2014, 21 of which it opened cases on and ten of which it referred to the Ministry of Justice for potential prosecution. However, to date no cases from 2014 or prior years have been prosecuted. The Constitution adopted in 2010 contains provisions for greater transparency in government reporting of revenues from the extractive industries, as well as the declaration of personal assets by government officials, including the President. Key officials from the previous administration were indicted for fraud and corruption in 2013but were released provisionally and no further court dates were set.

Corruption in the executive and legislative branches is compounded by poorly financed and poorly trained law enforcement and weak administrative controls. Foreigners are advised not to pay bribes to policemen, customs officials, or other government officials. Bureaucratic processes can be slow, but this is often due more to inefficiency and lack of information technology than to corruption. The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Board selected Niger for the first time in 2012 as a country eligible for a Compact. The Board recognized the country's efforts in good governance, the engagement and commitment of the GON in the fight against corruption, the respect of political rights, civil liberties, freedom of information, and the adoption of policy reforms to strengthen economic freedom.

14. Bilateral Investment Agreements

Niger signed a bilateral investment agreement with the United States in September 1962. Foreign investment in Niger has been predominantly French, but recently Chinese, Turkish and Indian investors have shown interest. Niger is a signatory of investment treaties with Algeria, Egypt, Germany, Switzerland, and Tunisia. As a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), Niger has asked its trade partners to deal with WAEMU regarding trade agreements.

15. OPIC and Other Investment Insurance Programs

Niger is eligible for OPIC coverage but OPIC has not been involved in any Niger investments to date. The Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) has a number of programs geared towards helping sub-Saharan manufacturers expand their business by financing U.S. exports of manufacturing equipment and services. Niger joined the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) in May 2012, so direct foreign investment into the country is eligible for the agency’s political risk insurance. Niger is also a member of the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM), a regional stock market located in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

16. Labor

Niger has ratified eight fundamental International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions, including conventions on forced labor, freedom of association, right to organize and collective bargaining, equal remuneration, discrimination, minimum age, and child labor, and also enforces the Niger labor code. The Constitution provides formal recognition of a worker’s right to establish and join trade unions; however, roughly 95 percent of the work force is employed in the nonunionized subsistence agricultural and small trading sectors. The National Union of Nigerien Workers (USTN), a federation consisting of 38 unions, represents the majority of salary earners; most are government employees, such as civil servants, teachers, and employees in state-owned corporations. The USTN and affiliated National Union of Nigerien Teachers (SNEN) profess political autonomy, but they have informal ties to political parties. There are several breakaway union confederations and independent teachers' and magistrates' unions. In addition to the Constitution and the labor code, there is a basic framework agreement among the USTN, employers and the Government that defines all classes and categories of work, establishes basic conditions of work, and defines union activities.

The labor code is based on ILO principles and protects the right to organize and prohibits antiunion discrimination by employers. Labor unions reported no such discrimination. In private and state-owned enterprises, unions used their right to bargain collectively with management without government interference for wages greater than the statutory minimum as well as for more favorable work conditions. Collective bargaining also exists in the public sector. The USTN represents civil servants in bargaining with the Government. Agreements between labor and management apply uniformly to all employees.

The labor code regulates employment, vocational training, remuneration, collective bargaining, labor representation and labor disputes and establishes the Labor Court and the Consultative Commission for Labor and Employment, and regulates the Technical Consultative Committee for Occupational Safety and Health. The code introduces provisions to promote employment of disabled persons by requiring companies to set aside 5% of jobs when recruiting. The Labor Code establishes a minimum wage for salaried workers of each class and category within the formal sector; however, minimum wages were not sufficient to provide a decent standard of living for workers and their families. The legal workweek is 40 hours with a minimum of one 24-hour rest period; however, for certain occupations, the Ministry of Labor authorizes longer workweeks of up to 72 hours.

17. Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports

Niger is open to foreign trade. The country's aim is to implement the trade policy of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and it has joined the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) of the European Union. Custom duties are not very high. Production costs, restricted facilities in terms of loans, and import/export activities through the informal sector have limited the development of international trade. Nevertheless, the country is trying to diversify its mining base in order to promote trade. Niger is landlocked, has no free trade zones and relies on the Ports of Cotonou in Benin and Lome in Togo as its primary seaports. Importers also use the ports of Tema, Ghana and sometimes Lagos, Nigeria. Delivery can take months due to delays at borders and internal control points along the route. The relatively low number of commercial flights to Niger means that transport costs are high. The trade balance is in deficit, a trend that increased slightly in 2013, since Niger's uranium exports were lower than expected. The country's main trade partners are Nigeria, the European Union, the United States, China, Ivory Coast and Algeria.

18. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

Data on the annual inflow of FDI to Niger were gathered from the West African Central Bank (BCEAO). Niger welcomes FDI. The investment code guarantees equal treatment to foreign investors regardless of nationality. Total foreign ownership of businesses is permitted in all sectors except those few restricted for national security purposes, such as arms and munitions and private security forces, which require special arrangements.

Recent Foreign Investments



Millions US$







France (Bollore)





Canada (Green Castle Resources)





Nigeria, Britain


Office Towers



Islamic Development Bank





China (CNPC)





West African Development Bank


Road Interchange



China (CGC)





ECOWAS Bank of Investment & Development(EBID

Kandadji dam

Electricity & Irrigation



World Bank, ADB, OPEC, France (AFD)

Malbaza Factory




Niger, India, Norway










France (AREVA)

SORAZ Refinery





19. Contact Point at Post for Public Inquiries

  • Mr. Samaila Salifou
  • Economic and Commercial Assistant
  • BP 11201, Niamey, Niger
  • +227-20-72-26-61 extension 4443
  • SalifouS@State.gov