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Niger Overview

    Context

    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 3.9%, one of the fastest population growth rates in the world. Prone to political instability and natural crises, notably droughts, floods and locust infestations, Niger suffers from chronic food insecurity.

    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 to allow 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 stood up as 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.

    Economic Overview

    Despite a difficult external environment, Niger’s economy is performing well. In 2013, gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 4.1%, driven by the primary sector. The deceleration compared to 2012 was mainly due to a lack of rainfall, following an exceptional agricultural harvest and the launch of oil production. Consumer price inflation, which reached a record-low of 0.5% in December 2012 thanks to an abundant food supply, began to climb in 2013 as food prices started to increase but remained contained below 3%.

    Being part of a monetary union with a fixed peg to the Euro, Niger’s economic policy is anchored around the maintenance of a moderate fiscal deficit of around 3% of GDP, financed through non concessional external borrowing and restrained domestic and regional financing. Strict cash based management allows authorities to promptly respond to shocks. In 2013, higher than anticipated expenditures (wage arrears clearance, health and education goods and services, and security expenditures) and lower than anticipated non tax revenue were offset with cuts in investment expenditures (including co-financed projects with donors) to maintain an overall balance of 3% on a commitment basis.

    According to the updated debt sustainability analysis (DSA), Niger remains subject to moderate risk of debt distress. In comparison with the previous DSA, the large oil project is expected to generate net revenue and lead to an improvement in the fiscal and external accounts. In the baseline scenario, the external and public debt indicators remain below their policy-dependent thresholds throughout the projection period. However, Niger’s continued risk of debt distress calls for the authorities’ continued commitment to strengthen debt management. An expected refinancing loan to SORAZ refinery and individual loans contracted under the Chinese master facility would increase the public external debt stock.

    In 2013, current account deficit including grants increased by 1.6 point of GDP percentage. In the coming years, current account dynamics will continue to be mostly driven by large scale mining investments projected to expand in 2014 through 2016, before gradually tapering off.

    Medium-term outlook

    The medium-term economic outlook remains favorable. Growth is expected to rebound in 2014 up to 6.3%, driven mainly by the mining and agriculture sectors. If current trends are maintained, average inflation would remain in check.  The fiscal deficit will increase to 16% of GDP in 2014 due to a project loan of 437.4 billion West African francs (CFAF) to refinance the loan for the construction of the Soraz refinery. Border security with Mali, Libya, and Nigeria as well as climatic and commodity-price shocks will nonetheless continue to expose Niger to significant macroeconomic risks. The pursuit of the program with the IMF, as well as efforts from the Government and its partners to strengthen security, diversify the economy (mining, electricity, irrigation) and reinforce social resilience will partially mitigate these risks.

    Social Context

    Niger’s poverty rate, at 46.3% of the population, 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: Dec 11, 2014

    LENDING
    Niger: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*
    *Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments
    Strategy

    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 new 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 strategy is fully aligned with the 2012 government Plan for Social and Economic Development (Plan de Développement Economique et Social or PDES) and the World Bank strategy for Africa. In particular, the CPS is aligned with the following PDES objectives:

    • Strengthen credibility of public institutions
    • Create the conditions for inclusive, sustainable and balanced development
    • Support food security and sustainable agricultural development
    • Create a competitive and diversified economy for accelerated inclusive growth and social development 

    Last Updated: Dec 11, 2014

    LENDING
    Niger: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*
    *Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments
    Results

    As of mid-September 2014, the Niger portfolio comprises 14 active projects amounting to $800 million. Sector representation in terms of commitments is as follows: water, sanitation and flood protection (23%), public administration, law and justice (23%), health and social services (14%), and rural development, transport and private sector (40%).

    In addition Niger benefits from three regional operations: the West African Agricultural Productivity Program, the Niger Basin Water Resources Development and Sustainable Ecosystems Management Program, and the initial implementation of the second phase of the Kandadji Growth Pole (APL 2A). These three regional operations amount to a total of $303 million. Finally, the World Bank disbursed $70 million in August 2014 as part of its development policy operation in support of key sector reforms.

    Agriculture and Climate Resilience

    In response to the August 2014 livestock crisis, 3 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 1076 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 1320 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 August 2014, 433,250 additional people representing 85% 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: Dec 11, 2014

    LENDING
    Niger: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*
    *Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments
    Partners

    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. There are currently 25 thematic groups, however ongoing discussions are working to consolidate the thematic groups based on the five pillars of Niger’s new Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper for 2012-2015, contained within the PDES. Non-G-19 countries such as Japan and Turkey also attend the monthly OECD/DAC meetings. Finally, 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).

    A harmonized approach that includes the European Union and the African Development Bank has been developed for budget support. Although France is not participating in the harmonized approach, French agencies cooperate in mutual information-sharing. Denmark has expressed interest in providing budget support to Niger and in joining a harmonized budget-support mechanism.

    The 4th Donor Round-table in Vienna agreed upon Donor coordination arrangements, including AfDB providing leadership on civil works, the World Bank on power, the French Development Agency (Agence française de développement) on irrigation and local development and the Arab funds on power transmission lines. No donor has been appointed yet to lead on safeguards or the overall program coordination.

    Last Updated: Dec 11, 2014

Country Office Contacts
In Niger :
Jaime I. Mayaki
Operations Officer

Banque mondiale
Bureau du Niger
187, Rue des Dallols
B.P: 12402 Niamey
Tel: (227) 20.72.21.88
(227) 20.73.59.29
(227) 20.73.56.16
Fax: (227) 20.73.55.06

jmayaki@worldbank.org
In Washington:
Paola Ridolfi
Country Program Coordinator
+1-202-458-7868

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433

pridolfi@worldbank.org