André Salifou

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André Salifou (born 1942[1]) is a Nigerien politician, diplomat, and professor. He was President of the High Council of the Republic during the 1991–93 transitional period, briefly served as Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1996, and was an unsuccessful presidential candidate in 1999.


Salifou was born in Zinder. From 1972 to 1979, he worked for the Agency of Cultural and Technical Cooperation (Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique), UNESCO, and the Common African and Mauritian Organization.[1] He then became a Professor of History at the University of Niamey until 1991.[1][2] For his doctorate d'état he wrote the thesis Colonisation et sociétés indigènes au Niger de la fin du XIXe siècle à la début de la Seconde Guerre mondiale (Colonization and indigenous societies of Niger from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the Second World War).[2]

Political career[edit]

Role in the National Conference and High Council of the Republic[edit]

At the end of the 1980s the military regime of Brigadier General Ali Saibou came under increasing domestic pressure and civil resistance. At the end of 1990, the regime acquiesced to demands for a return to civilian rule and a national conference was convened in July 1991 to prepare the way for the adoption of a new constitution and the holding of free and fair elections. Professor Salifou was chosen as a neutral figure to be President of the Presidium of the National Conference,[3] which was held from July 29, 1991 to November 3, 1991[2] and established a transitional government leading to democratic elections. At the Conference, he was elected as President of the High Council of the Republic, which was created to function in a legislative role during the transitional period,[3] which lasted from November 1991 to April 1993.[1][2] In late February 1992 he was briefly kidnapped, along with the Interior Minister, Mohamed Moussa, by soldiers demanding back pay; he and Moussa were freed after the soldiers were promised that they would receive the pay.[4]

Opposition politician[edit]

In the February 1993 parliamentary election, Salifou was a candidate for his party, the Union of Democratic and Progressive Patriots (UPDP-Chamoua), in Zinder constituency,[5] and was elected to the National Assembly.[6] Like Prime Minister Ahmadou Cheiffou, he was prohibited by the National Conference from standing as a candidate in the presidential election held later in the same month due to his role as President of the High Council of the Republic.[7] Following the election, the UPDP, which was led by Salifou, formed part of the opposition along with the National Movement for the Development of Society (MNSD). Salifou participated in an opposition protest on April 16, 1994 and was arrested along with 90 others, including MNSD leader Tandja Mamadou.[3]

Under military rule[edit]

After Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara seized power in a military coup on January 27, 1996, Salifou was appointed as Minister of State in charge of Higher Education and Research in the new transitional government named on February 1. Three months later, on May 5, Salifou was instead named Minister of State in charge of Foreign Relations.[8] He left this position in December 1996, when he was moved to the post of Minister of State in charge of Relations with the Assemblies;[9] he remained in the latter position until December 1997.[8]

Return to democracy[edit]

In late August 1999, Salifou announced that he would run as the UPDP candidate in the October 1999 presidential election.[10][11] In the election, he placed sixth with 2.08% of the vote.[12]

After the 1999 election, Salifou acted in a diplomatic role for international organizations. He was special envoy of La Francophonie to the Comoros; on March 15, 2001, the Comoran opposition alleged that Salifou, together with the French ambassador, had been secretly working against the presence of the Organization of African Unity in the Comoros.[13] Later, on April 30, 2002, Salifou was named special envoy of OAU Secretary-General Amara Essy to Madagascar.[14]

Salifou was appointed by President Tandja as his Special Representative to La Francophonie, and he was included in the Nigerien delegation to La Francophonie's ninth summit, held in Beirut in October 2002.[15] He also headed an African Union mission to the Central African Republic in November 2002, meeting with Central African President Ange-Félix Patassé on November 19 to discuss "the conditions for the restoration of peace in the CAR".[16] On February 13, 2003, he was designated as the special representative of Essy, who was by this time the interim Chairman of the Commission of the African Union, to Côte d'Ivoire.[17]

After Mahamadou Issoufou took office as President, he appointed Salifou as Special Adviser to the President, with the rank of Minister, on 20 April 2011. Salifou was to hold that post concurrently with his role as the President's Personal Representative to La Francophonie.[18]


  1. ^ a b c d Page on Salifou's book L'empereur des menteurs et autres contes du pays haoussa Archived March 23, 2005, at the Wayback Machine (in French).
  2. ^ a b c d Back cover biographical summary of Salifou, from his book La question touarègue au Niger (1993), Karthala Editions.
  3. ^ a b c Jibrin Ibrahim and Abdoulayi Niandou Souley, "The rise to power of an opposition party: the MNSD in Niger Republic", Politeia, Unisa Press, volume 15, number 3, 1996.
  4. ^ "Mutinous soldiers return to barracks, government promises to pay up", Associated Press, 28 February 1992.
  5. ^ "Afrique de l'Ouest - Niger - Cour suprême - 1993 - Arrêt no 93-3/cc du 1er février 1993", (in French).
  6. ^ "Afrique de l'Ouest - Niger - Cour suprême - 1993 - Arrêt no 93-10/cc du 18 mars 1993"[permanent dead link], (in French).
  7. ^ "Niger's 1st Democratic Vote Beset by Revolt and Famine", The New York Times, 14 February 1993, section 1, page 22.
  8. ^ a b "Gouvernements du Président Ibrahim Maïnassara Barré" Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine, official web site of the Nigerien presidency (in French).
  9. ^ Africa South of the Sahara 2004 (2003), Routledge, page 795.
  10. ^ "Niger: Two more presidential candidates announced", Radio France Internationale, August 25, 1999.
  11. ^ "Programme summary for Radio France Internationale news 25th August 1230 gmt", Radio France Internationale, August 25, 1999.
  12. ^ "Rapport de la mission d'observation des élections présidentielles et législatives des 17 octobre et 24 novembre 1999" Archived 2005-10-18 at the Wayback Machine, (in French).
  13. ^ "Comoros: Opposition leaders withdraws from accord implementation process", Panapress, March 17, 2001.
  14. ^ "Ces quinze jours au cours desquels les chances d’aboutir à un règlement pacifique de la crise se sont évaporées" Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Afrique Express, number 249, May 6, 2002 (in French).
  15. ^ "Niger: President Tandja leaves for Francophone summit in Lebanon", Financial Times, 17 October 2002.
  16. ^ "Programme summary of Central African Republic radio news 0700 gmt 21 Nov 02", Radio Centrafrique, November 21, 2002.
  17. ^ "Nominations: André Salifou, nommé représentant spécial d’ Amara Essy et Lansana Kouyaté, nommé représentant spécial de l’OIF pour la Côte d’Ivoire" Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Afrique Express, number 264, February 17, 2003 (in French).
  18. ^ "Le Chef de l'Etat signe plusieurs décrets de nomination", Le Sahel, 22 April 2011 (in French).
Preceded by
Mohamed Bazoum
Foreign Minister of Niger
May 1996 - December 1996
Succeeded by
Ibrahim Hassane Mayaki