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

After a 13 month military transition in 2011, Niger returned to political stability. Under President Mamadou Tandja (1999-2010), the country experienced a decade of relative stability however his efforts to seek constitutional changes allowing himself to run for a third term led to a political crisis. The turmoil ended in a coup d’état in February 2010. Throughout the following year, Niger was ruled by a transitional government that adopted a new constitution by referendum. A series of local, legislative, and presidential elections, generally considered fair and transparent, paved the way for a return to democracy.

Mahamadou Issoufou of the Socialist Party was elected president, and a new government was formed in April 2011. In accordance with the constitution, the Economic, Social and Cultural Council and the High Court of Justice were established. Political tensions have risen 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, he fled the country after his immunity was lifted in a child-trafficking scandal that has shaken the country's political class.

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. Despite housing thousands of refugees who have fled from the conflict, Niger has been mainly spared the violence with only a few sporadic attacks carried out on its territory at the beginning of the joint military offensive with Chad against Boko Haram.

Economic Overview

Despite a difficult external environment, Niger’s economy is performing well. Low average rainfall and insecurity affecting the production of uranium offset 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. Such a rate 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 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. A swift and successful military intervention will undoubtedly positively affect the country in the medium to long run.

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 good and services fuelled 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 is putting together a Compact Response using uncommitted resources of the existing portfolio to help alleviate this economic burden.

Niger’s poverty rate, at 46.3%, makes it one of the world’s poorest countries. Per capita income, at $360, puts it at the bottom of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Human Development Index (HDI) with a ranking of 187th out of 187 countries in the 2014 HDI. Niger’s social indicators have improved significantly over the past two decades but remain low. HIV/AIDS prevalence has remained at 0.7%, one of the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa. Progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is a main priority of the government, although most of them still remain out of reach.


Last Updated: Jun 01, 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 is currently conducting a Performance and Learning Review (PLR) of the CPS which will be presented to the Board in May 2015. The PLR aims 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: Jun 01, 2015

As of April 2015, the Niger portfolio comprises of 13 active projects amounting to $800 million. Sector representation in terms of commitments is as follows:  agriculture and environment (27%), infrastructure (transport and energy – 18%), water, sanitation and flood protection (20%), social protection, health, and education (20%) and finally budget support, governance and public financial management (15%).

In addition, Niger benefits from four regional operations: the West African Agricultural Productivity Program, the Niger Basin Water Resources Development and Sustainable Ecosystems Management 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. These four regional operations amount to a total of $358 million. The World Bank disbursed $70 million in August 2014 as part of its development policy operation in support of key sector reforms and is preparing a new one which will be disbursed before the end of FY15.

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

Water and Sanitation

The Urban Water and Sanitation Project seeks to assist the Government of Niger in increasing access to sustainable water and sanitation services in selected urban areas. As of December 2014, 444,250 additional people representing 89% of the end-of-project target, have gained access to piped water under the social connections and standpipes program launched in September 2012.With regards to the policy reform supported by the project, the following results have been achieved:

  • The urban water sector has maintained a financial equilibrium
  • Operational performance of the sector has increased water access rates, improved the bill collection ratio for private consumers, and reduced unaccounted for water

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
  • 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: Jun 01, 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: Jun 01, 2015


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

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments