Domestic and international investors are taking over increasing amounts of arable land in Mali. In the Macina commune of south-central Mali, a giant irrigation canal is in the final stages of construction. Libya is in the process of developing 100,000 hectares of land it has leased adjacent to the Niger River.

In meetings with media stakeholders, Niger's transitional Prime Minister Mahamadou Danda is promising full press freedom. Already, prison sentences for journalists are repelled and the Niamey House of the Media is reopened.

The African Union (AU) has demanded an urgent election timetable, leading to the return to constitutional order in Niger following the ousting of President Mamadou Tandja in a coup on 18 February in the West African nation.

Niger's ruling Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy (CSRD) has stopped all demonstrations in support of the military junta which seized power in the West African nation 18 Feb., according to statement from the junta.

Members of Niger's military junta and the interim administration it is setting up will not be allowed to run future democratic elections. Junta spokesman Abdoul Karim Goukoye reiterated that the coup leaders' priorities were to hold transparent polls and restore democracy.