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close this bookThe Courier N 143 - Jan - Feb 1994 Dossier: Fighting Poverty - Country Report : Niger (EC Courier, 1994, 96 p.)
close this folderCountry report
close this folderNiger: Winning the economic battle - a very long shot
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentProfile
View the documentUranium - Euphoria gives way to disenchantment... but oil and gold may soon be in prospect
View the documentAn interview with President MahamaneOusmane
View the documentPrime Minister Mahamadou Issoufou outlines the Government's five priorities
View the documentEU-Niger cooperation - Off to a fresh start




1 270 000 km²


8 000 000

Population growth rate:

3.4% per annum

Infant mortality:

134 ‰

School attendance:

Down from 30% in 1988 89 to slightly more than 27% in 1992. Attendance by girls nationwide and rural children in general is even lower.


Niamey (350 000 inhabitants)

Other major towns:

Tahoua, Maradi, Zinder, Agadez, Diffa and Dosso. Niger is not highly urbanised because of, infer alia, the way of life of the population of predominantly nomadic herdsmen and farmers.

Official language:


Other common languages:

Hausa, Djerma and Tamasheq (Tuareg)

The economy:

Long dominated by uranium, the main export. This sector has been hard-hit by declining production and, in particular, the collapse of world prices under pressure of competition from the former Soviet Union and by shrinking demand from the main purchasing countries, which have had to revise their nuclear energy programmes in response to pressure from ecologists.

Agriculture, once the mainstay of production, was neglected in favour of uranium. Drought, combined with what the Head of Government calls endogenous factors (no diversification policy etc.), has considerably reduced agricultural activity and resources.

Main products:

Millet, sorghum, maize, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, rice and market gardening products (23% of GDP) and cattle and sheep

rearing (14% in 1991).


The transport and communications infrastructure is a genuine handicap for the economy, for there are only 12 000 km of roads(all categories) in the country's national and international network - which is poor for a country as large as this, with seven neighbours. Niamey, the capital, is more than 600 km away from the nearest sea port, Cotonou (Benin).


CFAF 682970 million, in June 1993, according to the latest figures from the Central Bank of West African States. Per capita GDP declined by 0.4% in 1992.


CFAF 114 512 million


CFAF 142 361 million

Trade balance:

Deficit of CFAF 27 849 million. Most imports come from Nigeria, whose currency, the Naira, is non convertible and declining steadily, making the powerful neighbour's products particularly competitive, to the point where they are a serious threat to the whole of Niger's manufacturing potential.

External debt:

CFAF 336 billion in 1992. Servicing the debt was reckoned to cost CFAF 45 billion (75% of the State's domestic revenue), which was higher than the CFAF 18 billion of 1990 (26% of domestic revenue) because of the rescheduling measures taken by the funders but not carried over to 1992.