Overview

  • Niger is a vast, Sub-Saharan country, located in the heart of the Sahel region, with an estimated population of 22.4 million (2018). The Nigerien economy is not well diversified and depends primarily on agriculture, which represents 40% of its gross domestic product (GDP).

    Political Context

    The current president, Mahamadou Issoufou, was reelected to a second term in 2016. The next presidential and legislative elections will be held in 2021, preceded by municipal and regional elections.

    Security conditions have deteriorated in recent years, particularly in the areas bordering Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Mali, where armed groups have established bases and carry out repeated attacks against the security forces and civilians. To date, the government has declared a state of emergency in the Diffa, Tahoua, and Tillabéri regions.

    Niger is a member of the G5 Sahel, which also includes Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, and Chad.

    In June 2017, France, Germany, the European Union, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and the United Nations Development Programme launched the Sahel Alliance to help respond to the challenges faced by the G5 Sahel member countries. Since then, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Denmark, and the Netherlands have joined the Alliance.

    Economic Overview

    • Economic growth increased from 4.9% to 6.5% between 2017 and 2018, surpassing the estimated potential growth rate of 4.8%. This increase is due primarily to the sound performance of the agricultural sector and sustained activity in the construction and services sectors.
    • The external current account deficit (including grants) worsened, from 15.7% of GDP in 2017 to 18.2% in 2018, owing to significant infrastructure projects under way financed primarily by development partners, and to a lesser degree by foreign direct investment (FDI).
    • The fiscal deficit (including grants) fell from 5.7% of GDP in 2017 to 4.1% of GDP in 2018. This decline is explained by the sharp increase in total fiscal revenue, which largely offset the increase in expenditure.  This fiscal deficit was financed by domestic or external concessional and regional loans. Public debt dropped slightly, from 54.4% of GDP in 2017 to 53.8% in 2018.

    Medium-term Outlook

    The outlook is positive, with growth projected to reach an average of 6% between 2019 and 2021, which is expected to reduce poverty by 1.5%. Major projects in the agriculture, energy, and services sectors, as well as the construction of a crude oil pipeline, will support this growth. Niger's mid-term fiscal objective is to achieve and maintain the West African Economic and Monetary Union's (WAEMU) convergence criterion, which sets a ceiling of 3% of GDP for the overall fiscal deficit. Downside risks include fluctuations in the prices of basic goods, climate shocks, and insecurity.

    The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was launched in July 2019 on the occasion of the 12th African Union Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government, which was held in Niamey. This agreement aims to promote trade across the continent and to attract more investors.

    Social Context

    Over the past decade, Niger has made considerable progress in the area of poverty reduction. However, extreme poverty remains very high, at an estimated  41.5% in 2019, affecting more than 9 million people.

    For a number of years, Niger has become a host country to populations fleeing conflict. It currently harbors 246,000 refugees and 186,000 displaced persons, primarily in Diffa and Tillabéri and more recently, in Maradi, which is further exacerbating the country's fragility.

    Last Updated: Oct 18, 2019

  • In September 2017, Niger adopted a new Economic and Social Development Plan (PDES). The World Bank aligned itself with the PDES to prepare its Country Partnership Framework (CPF) with Niger for the 2018-22 period. The World Bank's strategy in Niger is articulated around three pillars:

    • Boosting productivity and revenue in rural areas;
    • Developing human capital and social protection; and
    • Strengthening governance.

    The goal is to help preserve and scale up economic and social development in Niger by tackling the obstacles that impede growth and poverty reduction efforts. The World Bank's strategy also takes into account the risks of fragility, conflict, and violence by supporting Niger's response to the existing crises and helping calm growing tensions.

    As of August 2019, the World Bank was financing 21 national projects and 8 regional projects valued at a total of $2.26 billion (grants and loans included). These projects support the development of several sectors:

    • water and sanitation (20%);
    • mining and energy (17%);
    • agriculture (16%);
    • health and nutrition (10%);
    • social protection and employment (9%);
    • urban development, disaster management, and resilience (9%);
    • poverty and equitable growth (5%);
    • education (4%);
    • finance and competitiveness (3%);
    • environment and natural resources (3%);
    • governance (2%); and
    • transport and infrastructure (2%).

    The Niger Refugees and Host Communities Support Project (PARCA), aimed at improving access to basic services and economic opportunities for refugees and host populations, was approved in September 2018. Moreover, Niger benefits from special financing mechanisms from the International Development Association (IDA), which were designed to help low-income countries respond to a significant flow of refugees, as well as additional financing aimed at addressing factors contributing to fragility and violence.

    International Finance Corporation (IFC)

    In recent years, IFC has committed to identifying the means to support private sector development in one of the most challenging markets in Africa.

    In 2016, the Management Advisory Service (MAS) launched an irrigation project in the agrifood sector to spur private investment in irrigated agriculture as part of the Sahel Irrigation Initiative. Efforts were intensified in late 2017 with the organization of the Niger Renaissance Conference in Paris, which garnered large-scale participation by the private sector.

    Building on this momentum, in early 2019, the MAS team established consultative support for about 20 small and medium enterprises in order to enhance their ability to mobilize funds from local financial intermediaries (including IFC clients).

    Last Updated: Oct 18, 2019

  • The following are some examples of progress made possible by World Bank financing:

    Education

    The World Bank is providing technical and financial support to the education sector to boost human capital in Niger. These efforts have helped expand access to education, increased pupil retention rates, and improved the quality of the teaching and learning environment in basic education and vocational training. Implementation of the Quality Education Support Project (PAEQ 2015-2019) has helped with the construction of 1,187 classrooms and the education of 59,350 pupils, of whom 29,675 are girls.

    Through the Skills Development for Growth Project (PRODEC), more than 3,000 out-of-school young people were enrolled in the dual apprenticeship program, 31% of whom were female. According to a PRODEC assessment finalized in early 2018, the entrepreneurship training offered new professional opportunities to 71.5% of beneficiaries.

    Social Safety Nets

    The objective of the Safety Net Project for Niger is to establish and support an effective safety net system that will help increase access for poor people and those vulnerable to food insecurity to cash transfer and "cash for work" programs. Over 1 million people in total have benefited directly from the project, which has resulted in several achievements:

    • Cash transfers were implemented in all regions of the country. In total, 98,747 households benefited from cash transfers, for an overall total of $47 million;
    • The establishment of "cash for work" activities helped support 50,256 households to the tune of $12 million. More than 700 community assets were also built or restored;
    • Approximately 5,000 households in the regions of Diffa and Agadez received transfers in response to shocks;
    • Support and outreach measures were implemented to promote behavior change among 87,331 households, as well as productive support measures for more than 16,700 households.

    Water, sanitation, hygiene (WASH)

    In June 2016, financing totaling $35 million for the Urban Water and Sanitation Project (PEAMU) helped more than 893,500 people gain access to potable water, 52% of whom were women. Moreover, 67,560 pupils of the 86,940 targeted by the project had access to an improved sanitation system in their schools, and 708 latrines were constructed for teachers.

    The major infrastructure project financed under this project was the construction of a waste sludge treatment plant in Niamey, which was launched in December 2018. A second waste sludge treatment plant was also built in Niamey. The use of these plants, which alone will receive almost half of the wastewater from households, will help improve living conditions and the environment in the capital.

    Last Updated: Oct 18, 2019

  • The World Bank collaborates with various multilateral agencies and donors such as the Agence française de développement, the African Development Bank, and the European Union to coordinate its support for Niger's development.

    Last Updated: Oct 18, 2019

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LENDING

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

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments


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Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Main Office Contact
187, Rue des Dallols
B.P: 12402 Niamey
Niamey, Niger
For general information and inquiries
Habibatou Gologo
Communications Officer
hgologo@worldbank.org
For project-related issues and complaints
nigeralert@worldbank.org