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Overview

  • Niger is a vast country located in the heart of the Sahel region. Its economy is not well diversified and depends primarily on agriculture, which accounts for 40% of its gross domestic product (GDP). Despite significant strides made by Niger over the past decade to reduce the country’s poverty rate, the extreme poverty rate remained very high at 41.4% in 2019, affecting more than 9.5 million people.

    Niger has, in recent years, also been grappling with a significant influx of refugees fleeing conflicts in the region, particularly in Nigeria and Mali. In April 2019, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) registered 221,671 refugees and 196,717 displaced persons, mainly in Diffa and Maradi.

    Political Context

    The current president, Mahamadou Issoufou, was reelected to a second term in 2016. The next presidential and legislative elections are scheduled to take place 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.

    In July 2017, the African Development Bank, the European Union, France, Germany, the United Nations Development Program and the World Bank launched the Sahel Alliance to provide an appropriate and coordinated response to the challenges faced by the G5 Sahel member countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger). Since then, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom have joined the Alliance.

    Economic Situation

    • Niger’s economic growth remained robust at 6.3% in 2019, driven by agriculture, which benefited from favorable weather conditions and investments aimed at boosting agricultural productivity. Economic activity was also driven by the construction of infrastructure for the hosting of the African Union Summit in July 2019 and by major donor-supported projects. These achievements were realized despite a host of obstacles such as low commodity prices, a slowdown in trade triggered by the closure of the border with Nigeria since mid-August 2019, and escalating security challenges. The government prevented the spread of conflicts in Niger's border regions, thereby protecting the main economic activities.
    • Between 2018 and 2019, the fiscal deficit fell from 4.1% to 3.9% of GDP. Higher government spending and lower domestic revenue were offset by an increase in grants.  Tax revenues did not increase substantially, owing primarily to the closure of the border with Nigeria, which resulted in a loss in import duties.  In addition, the sharp decline in domestically financed investment spending and tighter control of current expenditure helped contain public expenditure in 2019. Niger nevertheless remains one of three WAEMU countries that fail to meet WAEMU’s fiscal convergence criterion of 3% of GDP.
    • The current external account deficit (grants included) widened to 19.5% in 2019, driven by high import volumes associated with infrastructure projects. Substantial external capital inflows, concessional loans, and foreign direct investment financed a large share of the current external account deficit.

    Medium-term Outlook

    Three factors are likely to undermine Niger’s economic performance:

    • In 2020, the global coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) will strain Niger's economy, owing mainly to increased spending on health and social assistance services for vulnerable households aimed at mitigating the impact of COVID-19. The pandemic will also have an adverse impact on international trade and foreign direct investment channels.  
    • Deteriorating security conditions pose another major risk to economic growth and public finances.
    • Lower oil prices could adversely affect the real sector, public finances, and the balance of payments.
    • Niger also remains vulnerable to climate shocks and fluctuations in global non-oil commodity prices.

    Last Updated: Apr 17, 2020

  • In September 2017, Niger adopted a new Economic and Social Development Plan (PDES), which the World Bank used as a basis for preparing its Country Partnership Framework (CPF) with Niger for the 2018-2022 period.  The World Bank’s strategy in Niger is based on three pillars:

    •  Boosting productivity and income 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. 

    In February 2020, the World Bank was financing 20 national projects and 8 regional projects valued at a total of $2.38 billion (grants and loans included).  These projects support the development of several sectors:

    • water and sanitation (18%);
    • mining and energy (16%);
    • assistance with reforms (15%);
    • agriculture (13%);
    • health and nutrition (10%);
    • social protection and employment (5%);
    • urban development, disaster management, and resilience (9%);
    • poverty and equitable growth (1%);
    • education (4%);
    • finance and competitiveness (2%);
    • 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 for local financial intermediaries (including IFC clients).

    Last Updated: Apr 17, 2020

  • 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, increase pupil retention rates, and improve the quality of the teaching staff as well as learning outcomes 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 are female. According to a PRODEC assessment finalized in late 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;
    • Transfers were implemented in response to the shocks for approximately 5,000 households in the regions of Diffa and Agadez;
    • 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, hygiene, sanitation (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: Apr 17, 2020

  • 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: Apr 17, 2020

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LENDING

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

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments


PHOTO GALLERY

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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
External Affairs Officer
hgologo@worldbank.org
For project-related issues and complaints
nigeralert@worldbank.org