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Algeria and Niger have decided to reopen their land border, closed for sixteen months due to the coronavirus pandemic, to facilitate exchanges between the two countries, according to the official APS press agency.
This decision was announced by Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune during a joint press briefing with his Nigerian counterpart Mohamed Bazoum, who is on a working visit to Algeria.
Algeria had declared the borders closed on March 17, 2020, three weeks after the detection of the first case of Covid-19 in this country of some 44 million inhabitants.
Algiers and Niamey have agreed to “The opening of the border for the export of Algerian products to Niger and the import of Nigerian products”, said Mr. Tebboune. The two countries also agreed on the need for a “Clear policy” concerning Nigeriens working in Algeria, added the Head of State.
Tens of thousands of migrants
For his part, Mr. Bazoum said he had expressed his wish to see the border with Algeria. “Definitely” reopened for, he said, that the flow of trade “Quite natural between our two countries is developing”.
Algeria has expelled since 2014 tens of thousands of irregular migrants from Niger and from other West African countries, according to the United Nations. Algerian authorities are regularly criticized for the way they treat sub-Saharan migrants, some of whom seek to reach Europe.
The country, which does not have asylum legislation, has faced in recent years an influx of migrants from West African countries, estimated at some 100,000 in Algeria by NGOs.