Country Overview

Niger is a large landlocked country of 1.27 million square kilometers. It has a current population of 17 million and a population growth rate of 3.9%, one of the fastest population growth rates in the world. Niger is prone to political instability, chronic food security, and natural crises, notably droughts, floods and locust infestations.

Political Context

In 2011, Mahamadou Issoufou of the Socialist Party was elected president, and a new government was formed and the Economic, Social and Cultural Council and the High Court of Justice were established, in accordance with the constitution. Political tensions have been stirring since August 2013, when the Speaker of the Parliament, Hama Amadou, broke out of the ruling coalition and became the main challenger to President Issoufou. In August 2014, Amadou fled the country after his immunity was lifted in a child-trafficking scandal that shook the country's political class.

The time frame for the next general election was submitted to the Government by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and scheduling the first round of the presidential elections, coupled with legislative elections, for February 21, 2016. The second round of elections will take place on March 20, 2016, with local elections taking place in May 2016. The main opposition parties have however rejected this timeline on the grounds that the texts governing elections in Niger indicate that local elections should take place first, followed by the general elections (presidential and legislative).

On the security front, in February 2015, Parliament unanimously approved the deployment of troops as part of a regional offensive against the armed group Boko Haram. The resolution authorized the country to send some 750 troops to Nigeria to join a regional combat operation. As a result of Niger’s participation in this operation, the country was repeatedly attacked by Boko Haram resulting in hundreds of casualties and wounded, as well as thousands of refugees fleeing the conflict in search of safer havens in Niger.

Economic Overview

Despite a difficult external environment, Niger’s economy is performing well. Low average rainfall and insecurity affecting the production of uranium offset by the increase of revenues generated from the production of oil which is estimated at 12,000 barrels/day. In 2014, economic growth accelerated to 6.5%, thanks to a rebound in agriculture and large public investment projects. Economic growth is still highly dependent on climatic conditions, large-scale investment projects in extractive industries, and security conditions.

From a macroeconomic perspective, risks of disruption through growing external or fiscal imbalances continue to be moderate, given the protection and related fiscal policy obligations provided by the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). Yet, debt sustainability risks, still considered moderate by at the end of 2014, will continue to require close attention given the rapid increase in external public debt (from 23% of GDP in 2013 to 33% in 2014) to finance projects in extractive industries, in a context of declining uranium and oil prices. The increase is projected to peak at 37% in 2018 before declining as projects are completed. Given such exposure, the quality of debt and public investment management will continue to have an important bearing on debt and fiscal sustainability.

Medium-term outlook

The social and economic impacts of the ongoing military intervention against Boko Haram on the southeastern border with Nigeria are yet to be fully known. However, preliminary estimates suggest that the fiscal impact in terms of additional security expenditure and the need to host refugees could cost 1% of GDP on an annual basis, crowding out equivalent resources to finance economic development investments.

Increased dependence on extractive revenues could indeed make the budget and public investment in particular more vulnerable to price and production changes. In addition, a larger demand for non-tradable goods and services fueled by growing revenues could affect external price competitiveness. In the face of such risks, the introduction of stabilization mechanisms and improved investment management considered under the new development policy operation (DPO) series would constitute powerful responses.

Social Context

The recent violent clashes between Boko Haram and the Nigerian army have displaced over 115,000 people from Nigeria into Niger. Refugees are concentrated in Diffa, a region suffering from food insecurity and which is currently experiencing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. In response, the government of Niger has put forward a contingency plan of $40 million and requested the assistance of the development partners to help cope with the immediate humanitarian needs up until March 2015. The World Bank Group which has established an Immediate Response Mechanism (IRM) that allows uncommitted resources (contingency funds) under projects in the existing portfolio to put together a Compact Response to help alleviate this economic burden.

Last Updated: Nov 19, 2015

World Bank Group Engagement in Niger

The International Development Association (IDA) has supported Niger’s efforts to improve economic management, public sector performance, economic growth, infrastructure, and core basic service delivery in energy, water, basic education, and health.

The current Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) discussed by the World Bank Group Board of Directors in April 2013 aims to make the Bank’s interventions more conflict and gender sensitive to promote greater inclusiveness. The strategic objectives of the CPS are to help Niger to achieve resilient growth, reduce vulnerability, and strengthen capacity for service delivery. In addition, the CPS is fully aligned with the 2012-2015 government Plan for Social and Economic Development (Plan de Développement Economique et Social or PDES) and the World Bank strategy for Africa. The World Bank Group has completed the mid-term review of the CPS with Niger and validated June 26, 2015 to the Board of Directors. The PLR aimed to assess the implementation of the CPS for Niger covering the FY13 to FY16 period and adjusts it to changes in the country context.

Last Updated: Nov 19, 2015

As of August 2015, the Niger portfolio comprises of 14 active national projects amounting more than $800 million. Sector representation in terms of commitments is as follows: water, sanitation and flood protection (22%); agriculture and environment (18%); health, education and other social services (33%); infrastructure (22%) and public sector (5%).

In addition, Niger benefits from five regional operations: the West African Agricultural Productivity Program,  the initial implementation of the second phase of the Kandadji Growth Pole (APL 2A), and the recently approved Sahel Women’s Empowerment and Demographic Dividend, the Regional Sahel Pastoralism Support Project, and the Sahel Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases Project. These four regional operations amount to a total of $423 million.

Agriculture and Climate Resilience

In response to the August 2014 livestock crisis, three IDA projects have provided a timely and key response to the government’s request.

Through the third phase of the Niger Community Action Program, the World Bank ensured the following:

  • The delivery of 1,394 tons of cattle feed to 29 districts for a total amount 460,943,017 FCFA through sub-projects presented by the affected rural districts
  • The construction of storage facilities for the aforementioned districts
  • The preparation of a final report on the support to the pastoral emergency response

Through the Niger Community Action Project for Climate Resilience:

  • The delivery of 1,076 tons of animal feed to 5,380 beneficiaries in 11 affected districts
  • A cash transfer started in August 2014 to support herders that lost their animals. In the 11 districts supported by the project, a total of 105,600,000 FCFA was distributed to 1,320 households, each receiving 80,000 FCFA.

Through the Niger Agro-Pastoral Export and Market Development Project:

  • More than 3,824 subprojects throughout the onion, cowpea, livestock/hides and skins supply chains have been financed for a total amount of $16 million
  • A structuring of agricultural commodity chains resulted in the implementation of 62 regional agricultural colleges with more than 2,000 actors
  • 13 subprojects were created to protect onion production sites and secure more than 1,340 ha of crops
  • 14 groundwater recharge thresholds were completed to help secure 2,228 ha

Social Safety Nets

The Niger Safety Net Project looks to establish and support an effective safety net system which will increase access to cash transfers and cash for work programs to poor or food insecure populations. The project has already yielded the following results.

  • 42,949 beneficiaries have received cash transfer payments totaling $6,747,700 in the five targeted regions of Dosso, Maradi, Tahoua, Tillabery and Zinder
  • 798 villages have been participating in accompanying measures to the cash transfer, which aim to promote parenting practices conducive to early childhood nutrition and development.
  • 502 community groups in targeted areas were organized and registered, 82 of which started income generating activities
  • In the cash for work program, 26,777 beneficiaries have received cash payments totaling $3.6 million to facilitate micro-projects.

Last Updated: Nov 19, 2015

The development partners’ community in Niger is comprised of traditional and non-traditional donors. The OECD/DAC (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development/Development Assistance Committee) serves as the umbrella group for coordination. Co-chaired by the World Bank Group and the United Nations Development Programme, the group meets on a monthly basis. The Joint Consulting Commission for Donor States (Commission Mixte de Concertation États-Donateurs), under the leadership of the prime minister’s office, meets up to four times a year depending on the emerging issues (such as food insecurity last February and the flood crisis last June).

Last Updated: Nov 19, 2015


Niger: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments