Niger is the world's fourth largest uranium producer and the second largest supplier of French nuclear group Areva. However, the country is one of the poorest in the world.

Niger agreed terms with Areva in May over the extraction of uranium from its mines, after months of fractious negotiations. Although the government insisted it had secured the best deal for its people, the agreement continues to provoke discontent amongst civil society, including trade unions.

The agreement has been criticised as largely favourable to Areva, at the expense of the Nigerien population, with allegations that environmental and other significant issues have been left out of the agreement.

These and other similar protests across many countries in Africa are typical of the sensitivities encountered by companies engaged in the mining and other primary industries. With calls for greater transparency and fairness, employers operating in these markets must consider the needs of all stakeholders, if they are not to find themselves subject to protests which can receive negative publicity across the world’s media.