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Niger: Niger Art / Culture Profile 2012

2012/03/21

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Niger Art / Culture Profile 2012

Important reforms have characterised sports and cultural development over the last few years. As proof of this, amongst other things, a Youth Parliament has been set up, youth forums have been held, the Youth National Festival and school championship have been reorganised, as have sports and cultural activities. It also includes contributions from the private sector, the local authorities and communities towards sporting and cultural activities.
On top of this, a ministerial position has been created to take better care of this age group of the population. This minister is responsible for the country’s youth and for helping them to find employment.


However, in spite the existence of an adequate training and management framework, and a legal framework that is capable of promoting the development of sporting and cultural professionalism, these sectors only contribute marginally to the country’s economic and social development, whose performances, in particular the sporting sector, are far from being satisfactory.
To make up for these shortfalls, and improve the results in these areas, the Government has made sports and cultural development one of the stances in reference to its social development policy. That is why the Minister in charge of these sectors was educated as to how to undertake action about the following priorities:

  • The selection and the implementation of national teams in all sports and cultural domains to prepare for the 5th Games of the French-speaking world;
  • The implementation of the necessary measures to make an honourable and successful standing during the 5th Games of the French-speaking world;
  • The implementation of a successful management of sporting, cultural, and social education infrastructures;
  • The creation of an arts institute to ensure the training and strengthening of local talents;
  • The development and promotion of the Nigerien cultural and sports heritage, in its variety, through the regular organisation of competitions that can stimulate creativity and performance.

Projects
In terms of actions and the urgent projects to complete, the investments and the efforts made for the organisation of the National Youth Festival are noteworthy, and are as follows:

  • Setting up of a youth parliament;
  • Holding of the National Youth Forum;
  • The first Traditional Wrestling Tournament organised by the CEDEAO;
  • The National Competition for Nigerien Modern Music -The “Dan Gourmou Prize";
  • The Tales, Legends and Epics of Niger Festival.

Besides this, the preparations for the 5th Games of the French-speaking world which are programmed from 7th until 17th December 2005 continue and are becoming more intense as time goes on, both at a ministerial level and at a National Committee level, which was created for this purpose.


Amongst its numerous present day activities, it is important to point out the significant developments taking place in the following domains:

  • strengthening the management capacities for projects and programming, for data processing and NTICs
  •  elaboration of a training plan for executives and the organisation of competitions and relative internships,
  • consolidation of the actions that have been started in school sports on a larger scale, through the construction of sports fields, and the availability of sporting equipment in the major areas of each region,
  • the organisation of regular school sporting events;
  • the identification and selection of athletes and successful artists, to establish really competitive national teams.

In reference to the 5th Games of the French-speaking world in Niger
Niger is getting ready to welcome the 5th Games of the French-speaking world in Niamey from 7th until 17th December 2005.
In order to show the large importance which they attach to this event, the Nigerien authorities created a specific Ministry that is responsible for the Games of the French-speaking world, whilst the organisation of the 5th Games has been entrusted to a National Committee run by the Minister, Mr. Almoustapha Soumaïla.


The National Committee of the 5th Games of the French-speaking world (CNJF) and the supervisory ministry are working in close collaboration with the Ministry that is responsible for the Insertion of Youth and social and occupational associations. Their aim is to make a success of the organisation of these games and ensure that Niger’s participation meets current expectations.
To this end the CNJF proceeded in a systematic way to make an inventory of the cultural and sports infrastructure in the capital Niamey, and began their renewal and renovation work in order to meet the standards set for international competitions.
The places concerned are the General Seyni Kountché Stadium, the Municipal Stadium, the Youth Training Centre in Fenifoot, the Traditional Games Arena and the National Academy for Martial arts.


After this comes the Oumarou Ganda Cultural Centre (CCOG), the French Cultural Centre of Niger (CCFN), the National Museum and the Conference Centre for cultural events.
Now that the design phase is over, the CNJF is in its second phase, the action phase, with the pursuit of the construction and renovation of infrastructures, and the construction of the Academy for Martial Arts.


As far as the Games Village is concerned, the construction of housing which have to accommodate 2 800 people continues, and everything indicates that the work will be finished on time.
To create a specific dynamic of national participation and to unite the efforts of the whole population so that the 5th Games of French-speaking countries are a success, the CNJF has launched public festivals in different regions, the first of which took place from September 22nd until October 3rd 2003 in Agadez et Tahoua.


The second festival was organized in April 2004 in the central eastern region, which includes the towns of Diffa, Zinder and Maradi. As for the third one, it will concern the river region of Dosso and Tillabéry in December 2004. And finally, the fourth festival will take place in the capital Niamey in March 2005.


These regional festivals are a part of the communications program, the objective of which is to inform the Nigerien population about the challenges regarding the games, during which Niger will be a host of 55 countries and governments, all of which having French in common.
The CNJF is trying to put a partnership in place based on the voluntary service to mobilize 2 000 - 3 000 young Nigerien volunteers in order to welcome the estimated 2 000 young people coming from the other countries.


The Ministry of Sports and Culture and the Games of the French-speaking world have set up two committees which are responsible for the follow-up of the national teams and the national cultural groups in ensuring the goals set by authorities make sure that Niger has an honourable place during the 5th Games of the French-speaking world.
The CNJF budget, whose income and expenses total 6 092 155 000 CFA Francs mainly relies upon the usual large contributors for the Games, which are affiliated with the CIJF. From this budget, the CNJF will have to mobilise 695 million CFA Francs in receipts, and collect 2 698 597 500 CFA Francs from its CIJF partners, as a contribution towards the organisation of the Games.
For the inhabitants of Niger, it is a question of making the organisation of these games a real project of sustainable development.
Niger, a visionary country with big intentions, is also a meeting place with attractions that are worth coming for.

Nigerien Crafts
Craftsmen’s skilfulness recognised on a global scale.
Nigerien crafts are plentiful and very varied. Having won several prizes during fairs and international exhibitions, it quickly brought enough attention to the political authorities for them to show enough interest to enhance and promote them. Several things were done to organise an association for the craftsmen, and to create art profession centres in regional museums throughout the eight regions of the country.
As far as the capital Niamey is concerned, the crafts village represents all the craftsmanship of Niger.
The craftsman’s work is very varied, whether his work is destined for practical use or for art. Thus, they make objects such as:
- Pokerworks on calabash
- Basketwork (braided mats and baskets)
- Potteries (Canaries, godmothers, earthenware water jugs, flowerpots); the most renowned are the Boubon pottery crafts (from the Tillaberi department) and Mirryah (the Zinder department)
- Tanneries (bags, belts, horse and camel saddles, sandals). The best tanners can be found in Maradi, Agadez, Zinder, Niamey and Tahoua.
- Wax used in ironwork (knives, sabres, kitchenware, mud vases and animal representations)
- Jewellery: made in every area of the country with each region having their own styles: the Southern cross from Agadez, pendant purse from Tahoua, multicoloured braids from Dosso, twined bracelets from Tillaberi, leather sandals from Maradi, tapered daggers from Diffa, gold and silver in Niamey.


Several jewellers have set up shops in Niamey, for working precious metals (either gold or silver), but also for bronze, copper and iron.
In the various workshops that can be found in national museums and in Niamey, in the crafts village and National Museum, the craftsmen try to reproduce traditional models to offer them directly to tourists.
But the manual production techniques hinder mass production and their distribution. Every piece is thus original and unique in its own right.