One of the poorest countries in the world

The Gross National Product per inhabitant is very low (1000 Euros in 2017) and the debt is huge. The standard of living has dropped by 40 % from 1980 to 2000.Progress is still limited.
Since 2000, the country has resumed growth again, thanks to some better crops and international aid (over 6% annual growth in 2018 and 2019), The country however remains poor and indebted, But since 2011 oil fields have been exploited.


90 % of the population lives on production of millet, dry vegetables and sorghum but yields are quite low. Rice crops can be seen in the river valley only. Peanuts are grown from Dosso to Zinder, cotton from Tahoua to Maradi. Agricultural seasons are short and irregular. Desertification is expanding and causing emigration to Nigerien towns and to the coast. The agricultural production increase is not catching up with the population growth. Niger has difficulty feeding its population and must rely on grain purchases and food aid to meet food requirements.

Stock breeding

15% of GDP is generated by livestock production and exports – camels, goats, sheep and cattle. This sector depends heavily on rainfall.

Recurrent famines

In such a precarious background, insufficient rain and crop loss from cricket attacks result regularly in food shortage situations for human and animal needs in some areas (Agadez, Tahoua, Maradi, Diffa).


The slowdown of nuclear energy programs in Europe and in the United States has caused a persistent uranium price slump and drastically cut the revenues of the uranium sector, the largest export of the country. Niger has oil potential but the oil fields have not been exploited. There are a few conversion and packaging plants of local raw materials (foodstuff, leather and pelt) and a few conversion plants of imported goods: soap factories, chemical plants, breweries, textiles and small mechanical engineering.


Since 2007, cellular telephony has been growing fast, The penetration rate was already 24,6% in 2010 (only 0,6% for line phones) and it has grown fast since,

Foreign aid

The main economic partners are traditionally France and the European Union but relations are developing with mainly China and Turkey.
Several other countries and agencies bring support for Niger’s development. Numerous NGOs are active in various projects.

Inter-african cooperation

Niger belongs to the West Africa economic and monetary Union (UEMOA) and to West Africa’s Economic Community,( CEDEAO)

Reference : Index Mundi site

Photo d’Alain Roux