The Nigerien economy is exposed to severe climate shocks that hinder the country’s economic performance, and development. Niger is one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change (and one of the world’s poorest countries), especially because the country’s economic performance is closely linked to rainfall patterns. Between 1984 and 2010, Niger experienced eight years of negative growth rate and drought was largely responsible for six of them. Over the years, natural disasters and climate shocks have threatened the lives and livelihoods of the Nigerien people.
Niger is currently hosting over 300,000 refugees and displaced persons fleeing the crises rocking neighboring countries. Niger is repeatedly challenged by security threats such as the Libyan conflict, the Mali crisis and the Boko Haram armed attacks. Refugee camps are concentrated in the southeastern region of Diffa and the northern and northwestern regions of Tahoua and Tillaberi, where a humanitarian crisis has been unfolding.
The population is highly vulnerable to shocks which make poverty volatile over time and between regions.
Poverty reduction and resilience are closely linked to growth in agriculture and economic diversification. With a fertility rate of 7.6 children per woman, Niger has one of the most rapidly growing populations in the world
Safety net programs have strengthened over time, but the coverage of multi-year programs remains insufficient given the prevalence of poverty and extreme poverty. While programs are evolving and improving, coverage of safety nets projects (including emergency assistance) remains limited compared to the needs, targeting is not necessarily geared toward reaching the chronically poor, and most of this assistance is channeled toward ad hoc short-term interventions.
Over the past seven years, the project has established a basic government-led adaptive safety net system. With the support of the Bank, the Government has made important progress in strengthening the DN to better coordinate and manage adaptive social protection programs in Niger.
Niger is one of the few countries in West Africa where the safety net is capable of disbursing monthly cash transfers to over 60,000 beneficiary households (2018). In addition, the project has laid the foundations for the establishment of a Unified Social Registry (USR).