flag Niger Niger: Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

Niger's economy relies heavily on agriculture and is prone to instability due to climate-related shocks, resulting in fluctuating growth. Despite being a source of political stability in the Sahel since 2011, Niger faced challenges following a military coup on July 26, 2023. This led to extensive commercial and financial sanctions by ECOWAS and WAEMU, along with border closures lasting nearly 7 months and a halt in development assistance. In response, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali formed the "Alliance of Sahel States" (AES) in September 2023, aiming for security, military cooperation, and economic goals. On January 28, 2024, the three countries jointly announced their immediate withdrawal from ECOWAS through a shared communiqué. Concerning the economy, following an 11.5% increase in 2022, GDP growth decelerated to 1.2% in 2023 due to the freezing of government assets, the loss of access to the WAEMU regional bond market, and a significant reduction in external financing which caused a contraction in government spending. Following the lifting of sanctions in February 2024, growth is projected to bounce back to 6.9% (2.9% per capita) in 2024 and maintain an average of 4.5% over 2025-26. This surge will be propelled by substantial oil exports, although the non-oil industry and service sectors are expected to encounter difficulties in their recovery, as outlined by the World Bank.

The 2023 budget underwent revisions, with cuts to capital expenditures, leading to a reduction in the deficit to 3.9% of GDP, compared to 6.8% in 2022. Financial sanctions resulted in Niger defaulting on several debt repayments to government bondholders and international financial institutions. As of February 19, 2024, Niger owes CFAF 314 billion (USD 512 million or 3.1% of GDP) to bondholders, and Moody’s downgraded Niger's credit rating from B3 to Caa3. Public debt is projected to reach 54.5% of GDP, including arrears. Annual average inflation remained stable at 3.7% in 2023, after starting subdued in H1-2023 (average 1.2%), then rising sharply in H2-2023 (average 6.3%) due to food inflation from import disruptions. Inflation is anticipated to stay above 3% during 2024-26 as large-scale imports from the region resume, offset by higher import costs due to exiting the ECOWAS free trade area. The outlook carries substantial downside risks, such as a worsening security situation, terms of trade shocks, climatic disruptions, challenging financing conditions, and the withdrawal from ECOWAS. An uncoordinated exit from ECOWAS, causing disruptions to transportation, transit, and the free movement of goods, services, capital, and labor, could intensify adverse effects by spreading onto WAEMU trade.

Niger is one of the world’s poorest countries, and it has one of the highest demographic growth rates. The anticipated decline in overall and agriculture GDP per capita, coupled with a rise in food prices, is expected to escalate the poverty rate by 2 percentage points to 52.0% in 2023. Approximately 2.3 million individuals (8.9% of the population) were projected to be food insecure in Q4-2023, marking a 13% increase compared to Q4 2022, attributed to food inflation and localized food deficits. Additionally, an estimated 300,000 internally displaced persons due to insecurity, along with an equal number of refugees from Nigeria, Mali, and Burkina Faso, further contribute to the humanitarian challenges. The World Bank estimated that the official unemployment rate in Niger was around 0.5% in 2023; nevertheless, the figure is not reliable, and a good portion of the economy remains informal.

 
Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 15.4516.5318.8220.4122.09
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 11.91.410.46.15.9
GDP per Capita (USD) 592611670701731
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 50.751.848.947.446.5
Inflation Rate (%) 4.23.76.44.63.2
Current Account (billions USD) -2.50-2.12-0.96-0.88-0.98
Current Account (in % of GDP) -16.2-12.8-5.1-4.3-4.4

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database - October 2021.

Note: (e) Estimated Data


 
Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
CFA Franc BCEAO (XOF) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 GHS 148.62133.80121.19112.67102.86

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 

Main Sectors of Industry

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 70.7 7.6 21.7
Value Added (in % of GDP) 36.5 20.8 37.1
Value Added (Annual % Change) -5.1 4.1 5.4

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 

The Active Population in Figures

201820192020
Labour Force 8,108,8928,435,8878,749,634

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

 
201720182019
Total activity rate 73.60%73.49%73.39%
Men activity rate 84.88%84.72%84.55%
Women activity rate 62.49%62.42%62.37%

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

 

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Indicator of Economic Freedom

Definition:

The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

Score:
57,3/100
World Rank:
117
Regional Rank:
19

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation

 
 

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.

 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Partly Free
Political Freedom:
3/7

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House

 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
59/180

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Sources of General Economic Information

Main Online Newspapers and Portals
Allafrica, Niger News
BBC Country Profile, Niger
Useful Resources
Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Agriculture
Ministry of Energy
Central Bank of West African States
 
 

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Latest Update: May 2024