Niger understands the need to adopt a long-term strategy capable of optimizing natural and human resources to promote sustainable economic and social development and inclusive growth. The government has renewed planning efforts in the preparation of three principal strategic documents. These three strategic planning tools are complementary, and the government is committed to implementing them so that they interact with each other synergistically while ensuring dynamic linkages between short-, medium-, and long-term programs.


Niger understands the need to adopt a long-term strategy capable of optimizing natural and human resources to promote sustainable economic and social development and inclusive growth. The government has renewed planning efforts in the preparation of three principal strategic documents. These three strategic planning tools are complementary, and the government is committed to implementing them so that they interact with each other synergistically while ensuring dynamic linkages between short-, medium-, and long-term programs.

Chapter I: Diagnostic Analysis of 1960-2010 Economic and Social Performance1

This chapter seeks to perform a diagnostic analysis of the economic and social situation and the status of Niger’s government, but also to rank the major challenges the country faces, taking into account constraints, difficulties, areas of potential, and resources that can be mobilized. This analysis, based on the contributions of various participants at both the central and regional levels, seeks to determine the key strategic objectives and guidelines for accelerating the pace of economic and social progress, in order to respond to the population’s aspirations for development and emancipation.

This diagnostic analysis consists of four broad areas. The first covers economic performance, examined according to the principal sectors. The second analyzes the social development situation. The third addresses the situation of the various aspects of governance. The fourth addresses the conditions for sustainable development. This chapter closes with a summary of the principle issues and challenges that form the basis for the formulation of development guidelines, objectives, and strategies.

I.1 Economic Performance

I.1.1. Economic situation from 1960 to 1990

The review of economic performance is based on analysis of the macroeconomic framework, conditions in the sectors that drive growth, and economic infrastructure. The economic history of independent Niger has gone through three major periods:

A rural economy from 1960 to 1975. During this period, Niger’s economy was dominated by the rural sector, with only six percent of the population residing in urban areas. About 60 percent of GDP came from the agricultural sector and administration represented seven to eight percent. The very rural nature of the economy was perfectly symbolized by its low degree of monetarization. In 1965, the country’s money supply was 7.4 billion CFAF, or about nine percent of GDP. Peanuts were the engine of Niger’s monetized economy throughout these years, on a par with their importance in terms of exports (50% to 70%), farmers’ incomes, and modern trade through the Niger Peanut Corporation (SONARA), and informal trade with peanut buyers.

The uranium boom from 1975 to 1982. Starting in 1976, climate conditions recovered and grain harvests were again in line with needs. However, this period was primarily marked by the start-up of uranium mining. It began in 1971 with the production of about two billion CFAF but expanded starting in 1975 with production of 11 billion CFAF, reaching its maximum of 102 billion CFAF in 1982. Uranium represents nearly three-quarters of exports.

This rapid growth was due to the combination of the larger quantities produced, increasing from 400 tons in 1971, to 1,300 tons in 1975, to 4,250 tons in 1982, and sales prices boosted by the petroleum shock of 1973. The sales price of Nigerien uranium thus went from 5,000 CFAF per kilo in 1974 to 24,500 CFAF per kilo in 1979.

This new resource radically transformed the givens of Niger’s economy: GDP increased over the period in constant terms by an average of 20 percent per year. Exports grew by 28 percent a year, and tax revenues grew by 20 percent. Uranium mining produced significant knock-on effects on the rest of the economy and the added value of the modern sector increased by 25 percent a year.

By the end of this period, the country’s productive structure had changed. The agricultural sector represented no more than 40 percent of GDP, the modern sector accounted for 20 percent, and administration for 8 percent. The economy was significantly monetized and the money supply represented 12.5 percent of GDP. Grain harvests were improved and diversified, the growing of cowpeas developed and took the place of peanuts as an export crop.

An economy undergoing adjustment from 1982 to 1990. Starting in 1982, Niger undertook a structural adjustment policy intended on the one hand to contain domestic and external imbalances and on the other to control supply-side responses, and thus resume growth on expanded and strengthened foundations. This policy was to be based on cost control and enhanced resource mobilization. It also included reforms designed to strengthen the role of the private sector in the economy and restructure the parapublic sector.

However, this adjustment occurred in an unfavorable environment World demand for uranium was weakening, with Nigerien production amounting to 4,250 tons in 1982 holding steadily below 3,000 tons in the late 1980s. In addition, the resumption of demand for uranium caused a sharp decline in prices.

Increasingly, rainfall was generally poor and between 1984 and 1990 five out of seven grain harvests represented losses, with the grain deficit tending to become structural. However, the drought of 1984 was the jumping-off point that energized the off-season crops that now account for annual production of about 100,000 tons of grain equivalent.

The period saw a decline in real GDP of close to 9 percent or an annual decline of 4.6% in real GDP per capita. The regression is still greater in terms of investment, the volume of which contracted by 7.8 percent per year. Imports also fell by 5.3 percent per year and the volume of exports fell by 3.5 percent.

These developments led to new changes in the structure of the economy. In 1990, the modern commercial sector represented only 13 percent of GDP. Agriculture represented about 40 percent of GDP, the informal sector represented 33 percent, the modern commercial sector represented 13 percent, and administration represented 13 percent.

This retrospective analysis makes it clear that whenever the political leaders adopt a proactive economic policy, the results in terms of growth and the standard of living are clearly positive. This is because the national economy is still in developing stage where investments in infrastructures and major public works produce significant returns in terms of these variables.

I.1.2. Economic and financial situation from 1990 to 2010

I.1.2.1 Real sector performance

During the period 1990-2010, the Nigerien economy recorded average growth on the order of 3.8 percent in real terms, or less than 1 percent in terms of per capita GDP. This average obscures significant variations, particularly in terms of agricultural sector performance.

Table 1:

Change in GDP between 2000 and 2011

(in billions of CFAF and as a %)

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Source: MF/INS/Economic Accounts of the Nation, 2011 Early Accounts, March 2012.

Between 1990 and 1999, the tertiary sector represented 46.2 percent of GDP compared to 36.5 percent for the primary sector and 17.3 percent for the secondary sector. The decade between 2000 and 2010 saw a relative increase in the primary sector’s contribution to GDP of 42.2 percent, to the detriment of the tertiary sector that stood at 40 percent. The secondary sector’s contribution stabilized during the same period. The principal sources of growth were agriculture and trade. The share of value added in each broad sector remained stable. Moreover, GDP was marked by a strong preponderance of the informal sector, which contributed an average of more than 67 percent over the course of the period 1990-2010.

Apart from the informal nature of the GDP and the predominance of the primary sector, the weakness and volatility of Niger’s economic growth is due on another level to a business climate that is unfavorable to private sector development and more generally to the Nigerien economy’s lack of competitiveness. The underlying factors include: (i) a weak institutional framework; (ii) limited infrastructures; (iii) weak human capital (health, primary education, higher education, and continuing education); (iv) narrow and non-competitive goods and labor markets combined with a weak industrial sector, an undeveloped financial market, and the absence of technological innovations.

Inflation has generally been relatively well controlled in accordance with related community provisions (BCEAO monetary policy and the WAEMU convergence pact). Following fluctuations and sharp increases between 1991 and 1999, inflation receded between 2001 and 2010, with an average level of 3.3 percent.

Final demand was characterized by a strong propensity toward household consumption and a weak propensity toward savings. Final consumption during the period 1990-2010 averaged 89.7 percent of GDP. Private consumption (75.1% of GDP over the period 1990-2010) grew at an average annual rate of 1.9 percent. The result was a weak domestic savings rate that went from 7.6 percent in 1990, to 5.9 percent in 1999, and then to 10 percent in 2011.

Figure 1:
Figure 1:

Change in consumer prices and GDP deflator between 2000 and 2011

(as a %)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2013, 105; 10.5089/9781484315286.002.A001

Gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) averaged 14.8 percent of GDP during the period 1990-2010. This percentage is inadequate in comparison with levels for the developing countries, on the order of 25 percent to 30 percent of GDP. This is due in part to weak domestic savings and foreign direct investment (FDI).

The import rate averaged 32.8 percent of GPO over the period of analysis. It was 23.6 percent before devaluation (between 1990 and 1993). This development reflected essential imports (food products, petroleum products, and intermediate goods) as well as increased imports of capital goods associated with the mining sector.

The export rate averages 20.2 percent of GDP. This rate, which averaged 16.5 percent between 1990 and 1993, stood at 21.1 percent after devaluation (between 1994 and 2010).

The major challenge is to promote strong and sustainable economic growth, to improve the rate of investment, particularly foreign investment, as well as the country’s external position in order to create the necessary conditions for sustainable and inclusive development, on the assumption of an increase in the domestic savings rate.

I.1.2.2. Public finances

The overall fiscal balance consistently showed a deficit for the entire 1990-2010 period. The deficit was primarily financed with external resources in the form of grants and loans but also through exceptional loans. The contribution of foreign assistance to GDP actually reached 50 percent in 2006 compared to 5.3 percent in 2011, as a result of debt relief within the framework of the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) and the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program.

Table 2:

Indicators of Official Development Assistance

(in millions of US$ and as a %)

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Source: MPATDC/DGP/Report on Development Cooperation, 2010-2011

Total revenues excluding grants averaged 10.6 percent of GDP over the period 1990-2010. Despite the government’s efforts, the tax ratio, which had been increasing slowly since the early 2000s, reached 13.3 percent in 2010 but still remained below the community norm (17%). The tax ratio is low because agriculture, accounting for 30% of GDP, is not taxed; because informal activities, accounting for 70% of the economy, predominate; and because the performance of the tax authority is inadequate.

Until 2004, the structure of the Table of Government Financial Operations (TOFE) for total expenditures and net lending was characterized by the predominance of current expenses to the detriment of investment expenses. Starting in that year, thanks to economic and financial programs put into effect, current expenditures were relatively controlled.

The most recent diagnostic analysis of public financial management in Niger was conducted within the context of the Ministry of Finance’s formulation of the Public Finance Management Reform Program (2011-2014 PRGFP). This analysis uncovered the following major constraints that continue to be concerns for the PDES:

  1. For revenues: (i) a narrow and volatile resource base (tax revenues averaging less than 11 percent of GDP over the period 2003-2008); (ii) limited ability to manage additional flows of mining and petroleum revenues (managing changing prices and revenues); and (iii) the delay in implementing the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is reflected in the need to strengthen transparency in the management of revenues.

  2. In terms of expenditure: (i) sizeable gaps between actual government expenditures and appropriations approved (budget credibility problem); (ii) ineffective public spending in comparison with comparable countries in the subregion; (iii) weak linkage between national and sectoral strategic priorities and the budget; (iv) the lack of a public investment management system; and (v) inadequate consideration of macroeconomic constraints in sectoral medium term expenditure frameworks (MTEFs).

  3. The public finance management system: (i) the performance of Niger’s financial management system is below the average for the WAEMU countries; (ii) excessive use of special procedures that undermine the efficacy of public spending; (iii) the lack of regular production and comprehensive and reliable reporting of budgetary accounts; (iv) weak operation of the General Treasury Directorate and the Government Accounting Office and weak cash management; and (v) inadequate internal and external control of the budget (General Directorate of Financial Control, Court of Accounts).

  4. Public procurement: (i) the public procurement code is not in line with WAEMU directives; (ii) persistent conflicts of interest; and (iii) weak internal controls and no audit of public procurement.

The major challenge is to implement the 2011-2014 program of reforms in the area of public finance, particularly to improve the predictability and mobilization of tax and non-tax revenues, manage the expenditure chain better, and promote economic and financial governance.

Table 3:

Table of Financial Operations

(in billions of CFAF)

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Source: MF/DRF.
I.1.2.3 Public debt

Outstanding public debt nearly tripled between 1990 and 1999, increasing from 337.47 billion CFAF to 912.41 billion CFAF, primarily due to the effect of devaluation of the CFA franc.

The overall stock of public debt went from 1.12998 trillion CFAF in 2005 to 583.6 billion CFAF in 2010. This change is basically due to the dynamic of external debt, which went from 956.95 billion CFAF in 2005 to 494.91 billion in 2010. The decline in the stock of debt in 2006 was due to the cancellation of debt resulting from implementation of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC) and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). In contrast, the gradual increase starting in 2007 is due to external disbursements associated with implementation of development projects and programs. As of year-end 2011, the stock of external public debt was estimated to be 629.41 billion CFAF.

As regards domestic debt, in 1999 the government formed a committee to track payment arrears for fiscal year 1999 and prior years. It then adopted a plan to clear this debt. In 2005, the stock of domestic debt amounted to 172.03 billion CFAF. This amount basically consisted of claims from government suppliers, bank debt, and salary arrears.

The stock of domestic debt is clearly declining. It went from 172.03 billion CFAF in 2005 to 88.75 billion CFAF in 2010, thus reflecting the government’s effort to clear domestic arrears. In late December 2011, domestic public debt was 68.52 billion. The total stock of public debt stood at 697.93 billion in 2011.

Thanks to the implementation of these initiatives, Niger’s nominal external debt fell from more than 90 percent of GDP to about 15 percent in late 2009, and 17.5 percent in 2010. To maintain these gains with implications for the development of natural resources, debt management was strengthened. In connection with the challenge of maintaining macroeconomic equilibria, the issue here is to develop and implement a national policy on the subject of sustainable debt.

I.1.2.4 Money and credit

Overall liquidity in the economy has consistently expanded since 2000, increasing from 103.2 billion CFAF in 2000 to 576.3 billion CFAF in 2010. During the period 1990-2010, the development of the money supply was affected by the development of domestic credit and credits to the economy, while the government’s commitment to the banking system was relatively controlled.

BCEAO monetary policy, which prioritizes inflation rate monitoring and intervention through interest rates, is quite restrictive of economic activity in general. Thus, the distribution of loans within the economy gives preference to short-term loans at the expense of long-term loans, indicating weak bank participation in the financing of productive activities and activities that create added value. In addition, the high interest rates that follow BCEAO refinancing rates, at about 3.25 percent in 2011, do not encourage investment. Monetary integration also makes it difficult to devise monetary policy suited to each economic policy, which entails a certain degree of divergence between the monetary policy pursued by the BCEAO and Niger’s economic policy. Moreover, poor sectoral distribution of loans results in the stagnation of activities in certain sectors, and this was to some extent the reason for adopting the 3N Initiative.

As of December 31, 2010, the Nigerien financial sector included only ten (10) commercial banks and one financial institution, five (5) insurance companies, two (2) social security organizations, one management and intermediation company (SGI-Niger), one subsidiary of the Regional Stock Exchange (BRVM), and twenty-four (24) authorized exchange bureaus. In addition, the microfinance penetration rate is low (1.1 client for every 1,000 inhabitants compared to 7.4 clients for every 1,000 inhabitants for the WAEMU zone).

Total banking institution assets amounted to about 660 billion CFAF. From 2005 to 2009, Niger saw strong growth rates in bank loans (148%), bank deposits (97.6%), and total bank balances (124%). The monetization rate went from 8.06 percent in 2000 to 20.84 percent in 2010, but remains below the African average of 40 percent. Niger’s insurance sector is under-developed; only four insurance companies and one life-insurance company operate in the country.

The major challenge is to increase the use of banking services in the economy and promote loans to the economy in order to develop production and marketing activities.

I.1.2.5 Balance of payments

The current account deficit has clearly worsened since 2006 due to the effect of unfavorable change in the trade deficit.

Export development since 1990 indicates a predominance of mining products (uranium and gold) and agricultural and livestock products (particularly cattle, onion, and cowpeas). Uranium, the principal export product, was nearly stagnant between 1990 and 2006, before rebounding in 2007. Imports basically consist of capital goods (35.7%) as well as food, energy, and intermediate goods.

While the increase in the value of imports following the purchase of capital goods consists of essential expenditures, the increase caused by rising prices for food products represents a significant medium- and long-term challenge that underscores the urgency of increasing agricultural production to ensure food security.

Figure 2:
Figure 2:

Change in the trade balance, its components, and the current account between 2000 and 2011

(in billions of CFAF)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2013, 105; 10.5089/9781484315286.002.A001

With regard to the capital and financial operations account, the balance showed a notable increase of 63.6 billion CFAF between 2004 and 2005, followed by 140.1 billion CFAF from 2008 to 2009. This change is basically the result of improvement in the financial operations account, all the more so since the balance in the capital account deteriorated between 2005 and 2009. This favorable development is due to the benefits of the HIPC and MDRI initiatives, the signing bonus on the petroleum production sharing contract, and a significant increase in FDI between 2001 and 2009.

The challenge is to significantly reduce the current account deficit to the level of the balance of payments. This is linked to the challenge of promoting local industries and private investments by taking advantage of the country’s comparative advantages and an improved business climate.

In conclusion, regarding the economic situation, economic and financial conditions are unfavorable, the macroeconomic situation shows weak and inadequate growth accompanied by a widening of internal and external deficits and significant dependence on assistance. The aforementioned debt relief was achieved solely thanks to the HIPC and MDRI initiatives. This situation calls for actions to monitor the macroeconomic framework, including tracking the indicators of public and external finances and debt management.

I.1.3 Diagnostic analysis of economic sectors

I.1.3.1 Agriculture, forestry, and livestock sectors

The agriculture, forestry, and livestock sectors represent the country’s primary source of economic activity. They occupy more than 80 percent of the workforce. Over the period 2007-2009, the contribution these sectors made to the national economy is estimated to average 42.8 percent of GDP, with nearly 25 percent for the agriculture subsector, 12 percent for livestock, and close to 4.5 percent for forestry and fisheries. Over the period 2006-2010, added values in these subsectors grew by an average of 9.5 percent, 2.1 percent, and 6.3 percent, respectively. However, these sectors were highly dependent on climate factors, which limited economic growth and affected their sustainability.

These sectors are handicapped by the reduced productivity of agricultural, livestock, forestry, wildlife, and fisheries ecosystems, due to limited control of water, limited organization of producers, limited access to equipment and inputs, and the decline in soil fertility. Other factors include difficulties associated with the weak structure of marketing channels, inadequate storage facilities, and limited ability to process agricultural products.

In agriculture, water mobilization and management remain weak as evidenced by operators’ failure to adhere to the irrigation schedule of the Hydro-Agricultural Schemes (HAS). In addition, inadequate advisory support for producers, poor governance of producers’ organizations, and persistent land disputes should be noted. Limited access to equipment and inputs is associated both with producers’ limited buying power and inadequate supply, while the decline in soil fertility is due to overuse, erosion, unsuitable growing practices, and poor utilization of inputs. The consequence of this situation is inadequate agricultural production, which represents a major constraint on all medium- and long-term development. Increased agricultural production calls for a certain number of reforms, including significant efforts to modernize production techniques and ways to mobilize water.

In the area of livestock, reduced productivity is due to the weakness of the research and extension system as reflected in inadequate and poor utilization of existing and/or innovative technologies, the persistence of certain animal diseases, and insufficient livestock feed. This reduced productivity is also due to an inefficient institutional and organizational environment and inadequate human resources in the sector.

Declining productivity in forestry, wildlife, and fisheries ecosystems is due to the progressive loss of biodiversity, poor resource utilization practices, and inadequate implementation of sectoral reforms.

The major areas of potential that could provide the basis for development of agricultural, forestry, and livestock activity include estimated land resources of 15 million hectares, only 7 million of which are being used; an estimated 270,000 to 330,000 hectares of land that could be irrigated, or approximately 1.8 percent to 2.2 percent of the total area of arable land; promising subsectors (onion, tiger nuts or souchet, sesame, pepper, etc.); a large and varied number of livestock, amounting to more than 36 million heads, all species combined and free of foot-and-mouth disease;2 the traditional know-how of cattle raisers that has made it possible to develop marginal species;3 and the proximity of subregional markets.

Note should also be made of significant fisheries potential (more than 400,000 hectares of fresh water and numerous hill dams and fish ponds), rich and varied biodiversity with 2,274 plant species and 3,200 animal species, significant wildlife, fishery, and bee resources, significant water resources, particularly a hydrographic network providing an annual average of more than 30 billion cubic meters of water, 97 percent of which comes from the Niger river and its right bank tributaries.4 There are also more than 1,000 natural pools, including about 170 permanent pools and 142 small dams for a total of nearly 420 million cubic meters. In addition, there is significant potential in groundwater, a very small portion of which is used to meet mining activity needs in the north of the country, provide drinking water, and irrigate crops. In effect, groundwater is estimated to represent more than 2.5 billion cubic meters of renewable water resources and 2 trillion in non-renewable resources. The development of these resources is still difficult because of the extreme depth of the productive water table, particularly in the regions of Tahoua, Tillabery, North Maradi, and Zinder.

Furthermore, several achievements in the area of both national and regional research represent significant potential. The transfer to producers of new technologies related to plant and animal production, environmental protection, and natural resource management mean that substantially improved production could be achieved in each of these sectors.

The major challenge is to contribute to Niger’s sustainable food and nutritional security in the wake of the 3N Initiative, due to strengthening of the agriculture, forestry, and livestock subsectors at all points in the value chain (production, processing, conservation, marketing).

I.1.3.2 Industrial sectors
a. Extractive industries

The GDP of extractive activities recorded estimated annual growth of about 9 percent over the period 2007-2011. Uranium, gold, coal, and limestone are the principal products being mined. Uranium production grew from 3,153 tons in 2007 to 4,300 tons in 2011. Gold fell from 2,625 to 1,446 kilograms. This downward trend for gold of nearly 45% between 2007 and 2011 is due to natural considerations associated with the low grade of the deposit being mined during this period.

The search for oil in Niger began in 1958. In January 2007, a new oil code was adopted with a view to making the conditions for oil exploration and production much more attractive. In June 2008, the government signed a production sharing contract for the Agadem block with the Chinese company, CNODC, which provides significant infrastructure within the context of this contract. Operations began in November 2011.

In terms of spillover effects with respect to the trade balance, petroleum and mining exports should more than double between 2011 and 2016, when the integrated oil project (deposit, refinery,5 and pipeline) becomes a reality in 2012. This will have some impact on Niger’s economic growth and on a significant reduction in poverty, assuming good governance in the management of the resulting resources.

This sector has a solid institutional framework, particularly the Geological and Mining Research Center (CRGM), the state-owned mining company (Société de Patrimoine des Mines du Niger—SOPAMIN), and support opportunities. However, there is a major constraint linked to limited knowledge regarding mining potential due to undeveloped geological and mining research, which should now be revived. Other constraints involve poor management of the mining environment (due to a lack of supervision instruments) and inadequate utilization of mining resources.

Niger, the second largest producer of uranium in the world, does not utilize this wealth to meet its own electricity production requirements. The electrical power factor still represents a significant limitation on industrial production, agricultural modernization, the competitiveness of the tertiary sector, and improved living conditions for the population.

Other factors are inadequate management of the sector due to weak coordination, the lack of synergies among stakeholders, limited collaboration among environmental and mining services, limited involvement of technical mining services in the management of mining resources, a lack of planning in the area of geological and mining research, and limited institutional and human capacities. This situation led to adoption of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

Niger has five large provinces rich in mineral resources with varied mineralization rates and significant deposits. Uranium deposits estimated at 280,000 tons were identified in the Agadez region. Proven reserves6 of coal in Niger exceed 80 million tons, with 60 million tons in the region of Tahoua at Salkadamna, 10 million tons at Anou Araren, and significant deposits at the Solomi site in the Agadez region.

The major challenge in the area of extractive industries is to improve the mining and petroleum sector’s contribution to the national economy and strengthen governance in the management of resources.

b. Manufacturing industries

This sector accounted for less than two percent of GDP during the period 1990-2004. About 68 companies operate in the country, primarily in Niamey (80%), with agri-food processing being the predominant branch of activity. Total jobs in these industries fell from 1,194 in 1990 to 1,022 in 1995 before increasing from 2,117 in 2004 to 4,039 in 2010.

Products in this sector are characteristically uncompetitive due to the high cost of industrial production and a weak institutional and organizational framework. This situation is itself the result of poorly controlled factor costs, particularly for raw materials; unsuitable equipment, transportation, and energy; and the lack of strategic monitoring. In addition, there are other obstacles such as limited regulation of the sector (standards are unavailable or not followed) and inadequate training in the area of standardization.

With appropriate support, these obstacles can be overcome, making it possible to promote the development of an industrial sector that would create strong added value and jobs. The challenge is then to increase the manufacturing sector’s contribution to the national economy and to improve the competitiveness of manufacturing industries.

c. Energy

Based on 2009 data, 83 percent of the country’s energy requirements are covered by traditional energy sources (wood fuel, agricultural wastes) and 17 percent are covered by modern power sources. Per capita energy consumption, which is 0.14 TPE (Ton of Oil Equivalent) is the lowest in the world. In terms of distribution by type of energy as shown in 2004, there is a notable predominance of biomass at 87 percent, with modest consumption of petroleum products at 11 percent, and electricity at 2 percent. The use of coal is negligible at 0.03 percent.7

The percentage of the population with access to electricity went from 22.2 percent in 2007 to 23.6 percent in 2009,8 with a significant disparity between rural areas (0.5% in 2008) and urban areas (45% in 2008). However, the impact of access to electricity is important, particularly for improving household living conditions, especially for vulnerable populations, young people in particular. For example, several reviews of the poverty reduction strategy (PRS)9 have indicated that economic activities that are highly effective in empowering vulnerable populations (women, young people) can develop at a spectacular pace in rural communities that have benefited from of a rural electrification program. These activities basically consist of convenience stores, restoration, mechanics, and soldering.

Other forms of energy, particularly renewables like solar and wind power, are currently being explored.

Solar energy is used particularly for pumping, irrigation, telecommunications, communications, lighting, refrigeration, etc. Its use is growing and installed power went from 240 kWp in 1993, to 416 kWp in 2000, and to 1,112 kWp in 2007.

The production of safe drinking water continues to be inadequate although the needs coverage increased from 54.2 percent in 2001 to 64.3 percent in 2010.

In 2006 Niger adopted the National Strategy on Access to Modern Energy Services (SNASEM), which seeks in particular to give at least half of the population access to modern energy services by 2015, based to a large extent on renewable energy sources for cooking food, pumping water, rural electrification, equipping schools and health centers. The objectives of this strategy are: (I to provide all of Niger’s population with access to modern cooking fuels by 2015 (coal, butane gas, kerosene, solar cookers and ovens; (ii) to equip 100 percent of communities with a population between 1,000 and 2,000 inhabitants with engine power in 2015 (multifunction platforms, engine power for handicrafts, for the management of irrigated lands, and water points); and (iii) to bring the electricity coverage rate of the population to 66 percent by 2015.10

The SNASEM is not yet operational but a certain number of programs have put renewable energy at the center of their concerns. Thus, the Ten-Year Program for Educational Development is considering electrification using solar power for villages to supply primary and second schools. Similarly, the National Communication Plan, which seeks to improve the new communication technologies penetration rate by increasing community call centers and the coverage of community radios and television, is based on solar energy as the primary source of power. The Health Development Plan seeks to increase access to modern power services in order to offer better quality care and, to this end, it has provided for the use of solar electrification in integrated health centers.

The weak performance of the energy sector is due to dysfunction in the institutional and regulatory framework and to limited promotion and utilization of national energy resources. However, Niger has opportunities in this area as shown by the partners’ involvement in financing for this sector, the surpluses that are transferred to NIGELEC by those who produce their own power (case of SORAZ and the future Kandadji Dam), and the prospects for the installation of petrochemical industries. In addition, there is regional cooperation in the context of the 4,188 kilometer Nigeria-Niger-Algeria pipeline for exporting African gas to Europe, expected to launch in 2015, and the construction of an Agadem-Chad-Cameroon pipeline for exporting Nigerien crude, which was to launch in 2012. These areas of potential and the country’s political commitment may allow Niger to ensure its energy independence and to mobilize the resulting resources to finance its economic and social development.

Ultimately in terms of energy problems, the country’s electricity supply is clearly based on essentially thermal national production and imports from Nigeria, at 30 percent and 70 percent, respectively, reflecting the country’s great external dependence. Besides its external dependence and limited household access to electricity (about 10% in 2009), the electricity supply is subject to frequent outages that hamper economic and administrative activity.

The challenge in terms of the supply of electricity is a problem of scale: to ensure national energy independence, an essential factor for development. To achieve this, Niger must explore other forms of energy to supplement the electricity produced by thermal plants. In particular, natural gas and renewables (primarily solar and wind) offer interesting prospects.

I.1.3.3 Artisanal trades

The artisanal sector’s contribution to GDP is estimated at 25 percent, with estimated annual growth of 2.5 percent and a market value-added rate of 80 percent.

In 2005, there were 700,000 artisans in Niger. In terms of organizations, Niger has a National Federation of Artisans; eight regional federations; 43 subregional federations, and more than 740 grass-roots professional organizations of artisans (cooperatives, associations, groups, NGOs, etc.). A trades chamber is being created and 206 trades are listed.

In terms of improving artisans’ working conditions, Niger has nine artisanal centers or villages and five tanneries, two of which are semi-modern (Niamey and Zinder).

However, Nigerien artisanal trades are faced with limited development of their products due to the lack of an adequate financing system, insufficient quality artisanal production, inadequate marketing of quality artisanal products, and a weak institutional framework. Despite the international reputation of Nigerien handicrafts and numerous professional training centers under various ministerial departments, this situation means that artisanal products are losing their competitiveness.

I.1.3.4 Tourism

Niger’s eight regions have great wealth based on culture, wildlife, historical and archeological remains, and landscapes (river, deserts, etc.). This includes the Air Massif and the Tenere desert (Agadez region), Central and Eastern Niger (Tahoua, Maradi, Zinder, and Diffa) with the Termit-Tin Touma biosphere reserve that was just classified by the government in February 2012 (Tahoua, Zinder, and Diffa), the dinosaur cemetery, rock carvings, the Addax Sanctuary, architecture, a vast cultural heritage, the last specimens of giraffes in west Africa, the River Niger National “W” Game Park (Niamey, Dosso, Tillabery), and rich and varied handicrafts. As of late 2010, the country had 3,049 beds and 2,123 rooms in 94 hotels compared to 2,412 beds and 1,333 rooms in 55 hotels in 2001. The number of registered overnight stays in hotels amounted to 120,000 in 2008. In 2005, this sector accounted for 8,000 direct jobs (compared to 5,500 in 2000).

The limited quality of tourism service, due to under-financing of this sector, weak production capacities and an inadequate institutional and management framework hamper the sector’s growth and the development of its competitiveness on the international level. The under-financing of this sector is particularly linked with the lack of special incentives for tourism and limited public investment. The consequences of sociopolitical crises and conflicts in neighboring countries as well as increasing insecurity represent additional limitations on professionals in this sector.

I.1.3.5 Culture

Niger is a melting pot of cultures based on its position as a bridge between Northern Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. As of now, there are 44 maisons de culture and cultural centers, reading centers, a national museum, and two regional museums (Dosso and Zinder), a National Cinematography Center, an Agency for the Promotion of Cultural Companies and Industries (APEIC), and the Niger Copyright Office (BNDA).

APEIC is currently working on five promising major cultural sectors that create wealth and jobs, on the basis of which nearly thirty (30) culture-related trades have been identified and grouped for purposes of issuing professional licenses and professional cards for cultural entrepreneurs.

The principal constraint is limited development of the cultural and artistic sector, associated with limited social participation in cultural life, inadequate cultural and artistic infrastructures, limited professionalization of artists, and a weak institutional and legal framework.

The major challenge is rational exploitation of the wealth of cultural heritage in order to make it a true tool for inclusive growth.

I.1.3.6 Trade and Transportation

The trade sector is hampered by: (i) the delay in setting up an integrated framework for its development; (ii) an unfavorable business environment; (iii) the lack of a trade policy; and (iv) insufficient trade due to problems in warehousing domestic products, limited processing capacities, degraded transportation infrastructures, and the informal nature of trade. However, there are opportunities that could be exploited for investing in trade in the following major areas: agriculture, livestock, mines, and handicrafts.

Merchandise and people are basically transported by road (95%). Airline service is very limited. River transport is on a limited scale. Transportation by rail is non-existent as Niger has no railroad as yet. With the formalization of the transportation sector, interest in the sector has been keen in recent years and modern passenger and freight transportation companies have been created. There are a total of 61 freight transport companies and 19 passenger transportation companies (11 of which are operational). In the area of civil aviation, 11 companies have a valid license to operate.

However, the transportation services sector faces problems with renewal of an obsolescent truck fleet, inadequate airline service, limited institutional and management capacities, and unsuitable quality of land transport services. The sector also suffers from inadequate and inconsistent financial resources allocated for maintaining and rehabilitating the road system. Other constraints to be noted are limited support for a liberalized transportation sector, particularly in terms of freight transportation, the lack of basic up-to-date data, which limits effectiveness and efficiency in planning medium- and long-term road maintenance, non-tariff barriers, and delay in clearing merchandise at the port.

The result is high transportation services costs, and controlling this situation is the principal challenge in this sector.

I.1.4 Transportation and communication infrastructure

I.1.4.1 Transportation infrastructure

Road assets went from 11,560 kilometers in 1990 to 19,267 kilometers in 2011 (including 4,053 kilometers of paved road, 2,444 kilometers of modern earthen roads, and 4,577 kilometers of unpaved roads, with the remaining roads consisting of rough unmaintained trails). The organized network (paved roads and earthen roads, without the trails) thus went from 8,703 kilometers in 1990 to 11,074 kilometers in 2011, or an increase of 27.24 percent (2,371 kilometers in 20 years, including 749 kilometers of paved roads and 1,622 kilometers of earthen roads).

However, these road assets are subject to maintenance problems due in particular to insufficient resources allocated to the roads fund through the Autonomous Fund for the Financing of Roadway Maintenance (CAFER).

In addition, Niger now has three international airports (Niamey, Zinder, and Agadez), airfields in the regional capitals (Diffa, Tahoua, and Maradi), as well as landing strips. These infrastructures are still subject to problems primarily due to obsolescence and not enough equipment.

Niger does not have a railroad network, but some sections are planned, notably the rehabilitation and extension of the Cotonou-Parakou-Gaya-Dosso track, the studies for which are in the detailed pre-project (DPP) stage, in addition to the Dosso-Diamey route, the studies for which are at the start-up stage.

Regionally, Niger is a stakeholder in the Cotonou-Niamey-Ouagadougou-Abidjan rail loop, for which the Donors’ Roundtable seeking financing was held on November 29, 2011 in Niamey.

Construction of the Dosso dry port through a public-private partnership is under review.

With regard to river transportation infrastructures, besides the study on the Tombouctou-Gaya river reach development project within the framework of the Liptako-Gourma Authority (ALG), a feasibility study was done on construction of wharves on the Niger River. However, silting of the river considerably limits navigability along this watercourse.

Analysis of the road equipment situation reveals rapid deterioration of road assets; limited capacities for managing road infrastructures; inadequate personnel in units responsible for the sector, and in building and public works (BPW) companies, and providers; limited planning capacities; and limited resources allocated to protect assets. However, the political will expressed in the DPG, the willingness of partners to finance actions in this area, and the Law on Public-Private Partnership are all factors supporting the medium- and long-term development of the sector.

As for airports and airfields, there are problems with implementing infrastructure standards related to safety and security due, inter alia, to the government’s limited investment in the subsector.

I.1.4.2 Communications infrastructure

Considerable investments were made in the Nigerien telecommunications network following liberalization of the sector. Thus, teledensity could be increased from 0.19 percent in 1999 to 25 percent in 2010.

At the same time, a multitude of access providers developed access to the Internet. More than one million Nigeriens have access to the Internet, a significant success, but this performance is still below that recorded in neighboring countries.

Besides public radio and two public television stations, thirty-two (32) private radio stations broadcasting on FM have been created since 1994, with some of them relaying international stations. In addition, 129 community radios have been installed throughout the country. About ten private television channels have also been created since 2001.

As for the print media, there are more than seventy (70) print titles and twenty (20) printing plants.

As regards mail services, Niger has an infrastructure based on a postal network of some fifteen offices with 11,332 postboxes, a national mail sorting center, a postal check center, and a stamp center.

However, it should be noted that despite these advances, the communications sector is subject to various constraints: weak national coverage; inadequate resources of the Nigerian Press Agency (ANP); irregular publication of some private newspapers; insufficient quantity and quality of human resources; obsolescent equipment for public audiovisual production; the high cost of communications; and unsuitable community radio equipment in an environment that is difficult in terms of geography and climate.

The frame of reference for harmonization of policies and regulations in the area of telecommunications and ITC in Africa, national policy documents on communication for development, the national strategy on the transition to digital terrestrial broadcasting, and sectoral policy on telecommunications and information and communication technologies represent opportunities that could make it possible to meet the challenge of improving citizen access to communication.

I.2 Social Conditions

I.2.1 Demographic change

The Nigerien population, estimated at 16 million inhabitants in 2011, continues to grow at a very rapid pace, with a rate of demographic change of 3.3 percent combined with a high total fertility index of 7.1 children per woman in 2006. The rate of demographic growth was virtually unchanged between 1990 and 2010. At that rate, the population is expected to double every 23 years. High fertility is due11 in particular to cultural and religious factors that often lead to a high degree of community reticence on the subject of spacing and limiting the number of births. This is associated with a low level of education and literacy that prevents people from mastering family planning methods, the median age when women in particular marry for the first time, or polygamy.

This situation is reflected in the difficulties households face in meeting the needs of a relatively high number of infants and children to feed, tend to, and educate. It also creates strong social pressure on the limited ability of the State and communities to improve living conditions. These pressures are primarily felt when trying to manage family budgets, dealing with household autonomy expenditures like those related to health, nutrition, education, school/work tradeoffs for children, preference given to educating boys rather than girls, etc.

Moreover, the annual demographic growth rate in urban areas, estimated at 6.2 percent per year, is about twice the growth rate for the population as a whole. If the current trend continues, the urban population will represent more than 40 percent of the total population by 2030. Consequently, urgent solutions are needed to deal with the migratory pressure of rural youth moving to urban centers.

In terms of potential, Niger’s population is extremely young (more than 45% are under the age of 20). In addition, the country has strategic frameworks supported by its development partners in the area of population, promotion of women, education, and training that are capable of striking a balance between very high demographic growth and economic growth insufficient to create equilibrium between social supply and demand.

The major challenge is to control demographic growth to facilitate the balance between social supply and demand, so as to preserve resources for future generations and promote sustainable development. This challenge cannot be met without providing adequate schooling, keeping girls in school, taking measures to prevent early marriage, ensuring literacy among the population, enabling women to become economically autonomous, or raising community awareness to promote changed behavior in terms of family planning.

I.2.2 Poverty trends and profile

Based on the monetary approach the National Institute of Statistics (INS) prefers when mapping the profile of poverty using data from different surveys on household living conditions, poverty has been receding12 very slightly, falling from 63 percent in 1990 to 62.1 percent in 2005, and to 59.5 percent in 2008. From 2005 to 2008, multidimensional poverty13 based on the lack of social services has not fallen significantly. This is evidenced by limited progress made in terms of access to basic social services, healthy and balanced nutrition, sources of safe drinking water, and a decent standard of living and housing.

The two most recent poverty profiles also indicated that poverty affects rural areas more than urban areas, and is more pronounced among the female population. In addition, the phenomenon takes on an endemic dimensions in the Maradi, Dosso, and Tillaberry regions. Although the depth and severity of poverty, as well as social inequities, declined slightly between 2005 and 2008, they still remained at high levels.

The female face of poverty and inequality in Niger is particularly obvious in per capita consumption, which was less than 45 percent in households headed by women in 2008. Women also have much less access to credit (17.5% of demand met compared to 27.4 percent for men in 2008) and fewer job opportunities (27.4% access although women represent 51.1 percent of the active population). Rural populations are most affected by the phenomenon of poverty due to their structure and a model of production that is essentially based on rainfed agriculture and livestock, which are highly dependent on the vagaries of the weather. Other factors associated with cultural constraints would explain the low level of per capita consumption in the Maradi region, which is structurally the poorest region.

The major challenge is to put in place effective “pro-poor” strategies to benefit the most economically vulnerable populations first (the unemployed, women, children in need, rural households) by ensuring better targeting and more social equity in the distribution of the fruits of growth and by promoting accelerated achievement of the MDGs.

MDG situation in Niger

Upon the conclusion of the Millennium Summit in New York in 2000, 180 countries, including Niger, adopted the “Millennium Declaration,” with its eight (8) objectives, 18 targets, and 48 indicators to be achieved by 2015.

At the current rate of progress in the indicators, only the objectives on reducing infant and child mortality, primary education, and reducing the prevalence of certain diseases have good prospects. The current situation in terms of the MDGs is as follows:

  • (i) MDG1 (Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger): the incidence of poverty and hunger continues to be high and improvement can only be seen within the framework of the 3N Initiative;

  • (ii) MDG2 (Achieve universal primary education): primary school enrollment is notably improved, suggesting achievement of the targeted education for all by 2015, but the challenges of quality and retention remain;

  • (iii) MDG3 (Promote gender equality and empower women): insufficient gains have been made in reducing gender-based inequalities and empowering women despites advances that have been made, particularly reducing boy/girl disparity in school and implementing the law on quotas in elective and appointive positions;

  • (iv) MDG4 (Reduce child mortality): progress must be consolidated in the area of reducing infant and child mortality;

  • (v) MDG5 (Improve maternal health): maternal mortality is still too high and suggests that the target will not be achieved;

  • (vi) MDG6 (Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases): significant gains have been made in combating HIV/AIDS but high malaria-related mortality persists;

  • (vii) MDG7 (Ensure environmental sustainability): the impact of climate change and the weight of environmental constraints on natural resources and the national economy continue to be significant;

  • (viii) MDG8 (Develop a global partnership for development): despite international commitments to support the developing countries, in Niger the official development assistance to GDP ratio and the debt service to exports ratio indicate that the country finds it difficult to take advantage of the global partnership for development. On the other hand, there does seem to be some improvement in terms of access to new information and telecommunication technologies (NITT), with a cellular phone penetration rate that in 2012 is about to exceed the target set in the MDGs.

In such a context, achieving the MDGs in Niger is a major issue and implementation of the PDES will help to overcome MDG-related challenges by combating the bottlenecks that have delayed progress toward these goals in recent years.

I.2.3 Household living conditions

I.2.3.1 Food security

Over the last 50 years, Niger has very often experienced grain deficits (in an average of one out of every two years).14 For example, based on consumption of local grain production (millet, sorghum, maize, and fonio), the final results from the 2009-2010 season show a deficit of nearly 120,000 tons. That same year, 20 percent of the population was identified as being in a “severely vulnerable” situation.”15

Nonetheless, agriculture and livestock form the foundation of the national economy and their contribution to GDP formation is estimated to average more than 40 percent over the last ten years. Recurring food crises make rural populations highly subject to frequent food and nutritional vulnerability, which means women and children in this case. Even in those years when production is balanced or yields a surplus, a significant segment of the population finds itself in a more or less severe situation of food insecurity. About six out of every ten households is only able to cover their food requirements for three months.

The situation is often particularly dramatic for children under the age of five: about four out of every ten children are in a situation of chronic under-nutrition and one out of every ten is in a situation of acute under-nutrition. During the 2004-2005 food crisis, some 3.6 million people (or more than 30% of the population) needed food assistance. This figure practically doubled in 2009-2010 (7.1 million people).

The emergency response to food insecurity is based in particular on strengthening grain banks and developing labor intensive jobs. The use of small-scale irrigation, the development of fruit tree production, and forest use products (non-timber products) or date production (estimated at 8,000 tons per year) also help to improve producers’ incomes and food security.

The National System for Disaster and Crisis Prevention and Management (DNPGCC), which has been in existence for more than 15 years and includes the Early Warning System (SAP) and the Food Crisis Unit (CCA) and their regional and departmental agencies, strives to support a dynamic of food security in coordination with the ministerial departments concerned.

Nigerien agriculture is basically subsistence-level food farming dominated by rainfed production of grains, primarily millet and sorghum, which alone cover more than 70 percent of the area sown each year. Increased production was basically achieved by extending cultivated areas to increasingly marginal lands and by reducing fallow periods, leading to continued deterioration of land quality and declining yields. Faced with accelerated desertification, degraded land and water resources, illegal felling of trees, climate change, and their adverse effects on the environment, the country’s response capacity is generally weak.

The challenges to be met are thus significant. They include (i) increasing the level of household income to improve access to basic community resources (land, livestock capital, water, etc.); (ii) sustainably managing environmental resources; (iii) improving community resilience for confronting climate change; (iv) improving currently poorly-performing production, agricultural financing, and livestock systems; and (v) managing strong demographic pressure and effectively implementing appropriate food policies and strategies.

Despite the constraints involved in promoting sustainable food security, Niger has enormous potential on which it could rely to remedy its situation. These assets primarily include significant water resources, a young population, the strategic framework of the 3N (Nigeriens nourishing Nigeriens) initiative in response to cyclical food crises, the real willingness expressed by officials of the Seventh Republic who have made sustainable food security a major priority, and the international community’s awareness of the magnitude of the situation faced by the Sahelian countries and WAEMU in particular, necessitating responses based on a coordinated approach.

The principle challenge to be met consists of successfully transitioning, within the PDES timeframe, from a situation of cyclical management of recurring food crises to more structural responses, particularly through the 3N initiative, for promoting sustainable food security and agricultural development.

I.2.3.2 Urban standard of living, housing, and habitat

The urbanization rate went from 16.3 percent in 2001, to 17.5 percent in 2005, to 20.4 percent in 2010. The government developed and implemented an urban planning policy based on formulation of an Urban Planning and Development Scheme (SDAU), as expressed in the reference urban plan (PUR) and a National Urban Development Strategy (SNDU) in 2004. In addition, a law providing guidance on urban land planning and development establishes the decentralization of jurisdiction in urban planning (2010). The last ten years were thus marked by progress made in establishing the institutional and legal framework for urban development in Niger in a context of decentralized management. However, this framework has not been accompanied by efficient implementation of the urban development strategy, given the lack of sufficient political will and mobilization of partners to facilitate the actions to be initiated. Other constraints relate to the poor management of urban areas and inadequately prepared subdivision plans.

From 1960 to 2010, the government and developers built about 2,500 housing units for an annual requirement of 45,000 housing units, 6,000 of which are in Niamey. This reflects the entire set of problems involved in developing decent housing in Niger. In effect, since 1998, the percentage of households living in a residence with a floor made of durable materials (15%) has not improved. In 2006, solid floors were clearly more prevalent in urban housing (56%) than in rural housing (2%). In 2005, earth (banco, clay) was to a great extent the construction material most often used by households (76%). Construction using solid materials (cement, concrete) represented only four percent and straw construction accounted for 15 percent. Even in Niamey, the percentage of solidly built homes was insufficient and was no more than 54 percent in 2005. In urban centers, very few households own their homes. In addition, despite steps taken to strengthen the legal and institutional framework, particularly the 1998 housing policy law, a high percentage of households, particularly in urban areas, face problems in accessing decent housing. Moreover, there is a strong correlation between the standard of living and housing, health, and the morbidity of individuals within a household. Analysis of data from the CWIQ survey,16 conducted in 2006 by the INS, indicated that the morbidity rate was higher for categories of households living in a dwelling made of banco and using wood fuel for cooking and kerosene lamps as a source of home lighting. In addition, women in rural areas, who use much more fuel wood for cooking, have a higher morbidity rate than men. Consequently, the challenges of improving living and housing standards cannot be met without taking women into account in an effort to achieve greater social equity and mainstream the gender dimension in the conduct of public policies.

In terms of the constraints noted, the major challenges to be met in the area of urban planning, housing, and habitat are to update the urban development strategy and its effective implementation, substantial improvement in covering requirements for decent housing with a policy favoring access to decent housing for all and social housing for the lower income quintiles in towns. This approach will have positive effects on health, particularly for women and children, who are most exposed to the adverse consequences associated with current living and housing standards in Niger.

I.2.3.3 Safe drinking water

The percentage of Niger’s population using a potable water source went from 22.3 percent in 1992 to 50.1 percent in 2008 (National Survey on Budget and Household Consumption—ENBC) or an increase of nearly two percent points per year. In 2006, there was a significant gap between rural (30.8%) and urban (93%) rates. However, significant efforts were made in rural areas in terms of investments in the village water supply. As a result, the rate of coverage of drinking water needs went from 54.2 percent in 2001 to 62.1 percent in 2008, to 64.25 percent in 2010 (and then 66.48% in 2011). However, this level is still insufficient to achieve the MDG target of 80 percent set for 2015.

The principal constraints in this sector are: inadequate financing and investments, the lack of maintenance and obsolescence of infrastructures, particularly in rural areas, the fact that structures lie at great depth, and/or poor quality of water in some areas.

The major challenge to meet in this sector continues to be mobilizing human, material, and financial resources sufficient to give households sustainable access to drinking water in rural and periurban areas, and to produce the necessary behavioral changes among individuals as well as in the management model of towns and villages in terms of the supply of hygiene and sanitation services: garbage collection and disposal of rainwater and wastewater.

I.2.3.4 Sanitation and hygiene

In rural areas, households produce “domestic” waste from household activities (cooking, cleaning, etc.). Many households also breed domestic animals on a small scale. As there is practically no organized system for removing household waste in rural areas, households collect their waste and dispose of it outside, most often in areas immediately nearby. Animal droppings are taken to the fields to be used as organic fertilizer.

In urban areas,17 with insufficiently controlled and accelerated urbanization of towns and rapidly increasing populations, urban households, particularly in large population centers, do not have appropriate waste removal systems. In small urban centers and in rural areas, waste is disposed of in surrounding areas or between residences. In large centers, waste is collected and most often disposed of in unimproved garbage pits or, in rare cases, in dumpsters scattered throughout the municipality that are emptied out irregularly and taken to garbage pits, although waste is not pretreated anywhere.

Between 1998 and 2008,18 about eight out of every ten rural households had no sanitation system of any kind. Even in urban areas, access to sanitation systems is limited. Uncovered latrines are the most common means of elimination in Niamey (one out of every two households uses them).

In addition, drainage gutters, which extended for only 630 kilometers nationally in 2007, reached just 750 kilometers in 2012, reflecting the seriousness of the problem of waste water disposal in urban centers.

The principal constraints in the area of hygiene and sanitation are the population’s limited education on hygiene, with high health risks, insufficient promotion of latrines in rural areas, inadequate maintenance of existing sanitation structures in towns (gutters, public dumpsters, etc.), minimal proactive approach in communities and municipalities for promoting actions in this area, and under-investment in sanitation facilities in towns.

In addition, the major challenge relates to effective implementation of national policy in the area of hygiene and sanitation under the priority pillars of the urban planning scheme and the land management policy.

I.2.3.5 Electricity

Over the period 1990-2008,19 the principal source of household lighting was kerosene lamps (45% of households), which are used more often in rural (46.7%) than in urban (33.8%) households. Electricity is the second source of lighting and is used by only 10.8 percent of households although with disparities between urban (56.2%) and rural (2.4%) households. In addition, annual reviews of the PRSP have indicated that limited access to electricity in rural areas has a negative impact on the development of income-generating activities and the delivery of public services. Rural communities20 that have public lighting offer more opportunities for development than those that do not.

In terms of constraints, note should be made of the country’s high degree of energy dependence, associated with limited development of national energy resources, limited electricity coverage and service in both urban and rural areas, and the lack of reforms and resulting investments in the subsector to renew the network and improve the national level of electricity coverage.

Nonetheless, there are areas of potential such as the initiative to carry out the Kandadji hydroelectric dam project and the Salkadamna power station, the achievements of an extensive rural electrification campaign, and the opportunities offered by solar power.

In terms of constraints, the major challenge is to promote access to electricity in rural areas, to improve urban service, and strengthen energy independence, particularly based on renewable sources such as solar power and hydroelectricity.

I.2.4 Levels of human development

I.2.4.1 Education, teaching, vocational and technical training

At the preschool level, the gross pre-school attendance rate has improved significantly, increasing from 1.4 percent in 2001-2002 to 5.7 percent in 2010-2011. In 2011, the gross pre-school attendance rate for girls was 5.7 percent compared to 5.6 percent for boys. Despite the increasingly strong presence of community nursery schools in rural areas, preschool education continues to be primarily an urban phenomenon, due in particular to the absence of a national policy in this subsector.

At the basic cycle 1 level of instruction (grade school), the number of students increased from 210,000 in 1979 to 1,901,115 in 2010. The public sector accounts for the overwhelming majority of students (averaging 96% over the period 2000-2010) The gross attendance rate (GAR) has grown steadily since 1997-1998, increasing from 30.46 percent to 76.1 percent in 2010-2011. Despite this increase, disparities based on region, setting, and gender persist. The GAR thus reached an average of 84.9 percent for boys compared to 67.3 percent for girls. There are also significant differences between urban (99.1%) and rural (70%) settings.

Indicate, the results for the 2008-2009 school year show that in terms of the distribution of the completion rate by gender, there is a strong disparity between girls (38.6%) and boys (58.3%). Gains have clearly been made in quantitative terms, but this is not true in qualitative terms. In fact, between 80 percent and 90 percent of teachers in this cycle are contract teachers and most of them do not have the appropriate initial training and provide instruction without any ultimate assurance of quality.

At the basic cycle 2 level of instruction (middle school): The GAR is lower than in basic cycle 1, particularly for girls (about 18% in 2010) notably due to losses recorded between the two basic cycles. In addition, there are inter-regional disparities: in 2009-2010, the Niamey region had the highest GAR (46.2%) and the Tillabery region had the lowest (9.9%). Moreover, the national rate is very low compared to the average for the West African subregion, which was 34.4 percent in 2006.

Coverage is also low in the secondary cycle (high school). The GAR was 3.9 percent in 2010 compared to 2.9 percent in 2002, or an increase of one percent over nearly ten years. Gender disparities indicate a GAR of 5.3 percent for boys compared to 2.5 percent for girls. It should be noted that the average GAR for the countries of the subregion was 15.5 percent in 2006.

The literacy rate for adults held steady between 2005 (28.7%) and 2008 (29%), meaning that fewer than three out of every ten people aged 15 and older achieved literacy. The literacy rate for women is very low. It was 11.6 percent in 2006 for women between the ages of 15 and 49, compared to 27.8 percent for men in the same age group. The implementation of literacy programs has a limited impact with a success rate of less than 50 percent in tests conducted at the end of the campaign. Niger had one of the lowest literacy rates in the world in 2009,21 negative impacting the level of its human development index.

Besides educational supply and teaching quality problems, there is a gender-based imbalance at all levels of instruction (grade school, middle school, high school, literacy). Girls’ limited access to and retention in the educational system minimizes their opportunities to assert themselves later on, to develop their own initiatives, and to fully participate in the decision-making process in family, community, administrative, political, and economic life.

The principal constraint in terms of education in basic cycles 1 and 2 and secondary school is an inadequate supply of quality education, specifically: not enough school facilities; inadequate teaching quality; imbalance based on setting and gender in terms of access and retention (higher dropout rates for girls, urban areas with strong predominance of educational facilities and services); insufficient numbers and quality of teaching and administrative staff; not enough teaching materials and school supplies; limited development of pedagogical research and development; and inadequate financing for the sector. In the area of literacy and informal education (basically in Koranic schools), there are significant losses noted among rural learners, inadequate infrastructures for promoting literacy, insufficient financing, the heavy weight of social norms, and misperceptions regarding school among families and communities.

With regard to all the constraints identified, there is an urgent challenge of stimulating demand among vulnerable groups (girls, women, rural areas, etc.), promoting quality instruction particularly through good policy on training/retraining/recruitment, human resources management, adaptation of teaching programs, and gradual establishment of suitable school infrastructures. Another challenge is to implement strategies to reduce gender disparities.

In terms of vocational and technical education and training (VTET), formal facilities and staff (three professional high school, three technical high schools, and eleven vocational and technical training centers) have not developed significantly. Thus, formal staff increased from 2,457 in 2007 to 3,090 in 2011 and facilities increased from 12 to 17.

For informal learners, staff for them increased from 200 in 2000 to 13,752 in 2010-2011 for over a million potential learners (young drop-outs, the unschooled, artisans, etc.) who are not included in any system. Training facilities include Training Centers in Community Development (CFDC) numbering 19 in 2010 and 54 in 2012, two National Participation Service centers, and the Center for Leather and Art Trades of Niger (CMCAN). There are 76 private facilities with more than half of them located in Niamey.

Constraints on VTET involve inadequate quantity and quality of training, characterized by: (i) inadequate VTET capacity (facilities); (ii) limited deployment of facilities among rural populations; (iii) lack of diversification in subsectors and limited adaptation to the needs of the economy; (iv) limited pedagogical supervision; (v) lack of pedagogical training for most trainers; (vi) limited integration of trained teachers; (vii) not enough textbooks and equipment; (viii) a multiplicity of government agencies; and (ix) the failure to encourage women to enroll in technical and industrial programs.

The principal challenge is to increase the supply of training in quantitative and qualitative terms and to adapt programs to the needs of the national economy and the labor market.

With respect to higher education and applied scientific research, the number of Nigerian students has markedly increased over the course of the last two decades. Students at the University of Niamey increased by 179 percent between 1990 and 2010 and those at the Islamic University of Say increased by 123 percent between 1998 and 2011. Three University Institutes of Technology were created in 2008 in the regions of Maradi, Zinder, and Tahoua, followed by the creation of three universities in 2010.

During the same period, the number of private institutions of higher education nearly quadrupled in Niger, increasing from 15 to 55. However, there are still serious problems in terms of ensuring the quality of instruction, controlling standard programs in private institutions of higher learning, but above all in adapting training to the needs of the labor market.

In response to international requirements and standards, Niger introduced reform of the LMD (license [bachelors], masters, doctoral) system, but there is a lack of degreed teachers in many programs and a lack of equipment and materials in academic and university research. In addition, the availability of specialized high-level regional training centers (AGRHYMET, EAMAC, EMIG) represents an important asset.

The principal constraints in higher education are insufficient quantity and quality of teaching and support staff, limited ability to accept more students at institutions of higher learning, inadequate training programs, under-financing of higher education, and poor management of institutions of higher learning.

In terms of the constraints, the principal challenge to be met in promoting higher education is to ensure consistency between the types of vocational programs and training and the needs of the market, in order to satisfy social demand and allow it to play a true role in the country’s development.

With respect to scientific research, the absence of any real policy in the area of science, technology, and innovation is to be noted, as is very limited and exclusively public financing (0.25% of GDP).

The major limitations on promotion of the subsector include the mismatch between research and the needs of development, inadequate human resources management, an inadequate institutional framework for research, under-financing of research, not enough research equipment, and the lack of private sector involvement.

I.2.4.2 Health and nutrition

Health policy is implemented through health development plans, which are now in their third generation (1994-2000, 2005-2010, and 2011-2015). In terms of the population’s health, the diagnosis indicates that the prevalence of underweight went from 42.1 percent in 2006 to 40.6 percent in 2010, or a decline of 1.5 percent. The level of chronic malnutrition remained very high over the course of the last decade. It went from 39.8 percent in 2000, to 50 percent in 2005, to 46.3 percent in 2009, and then to 48.1 percent in 2010, associated in particular with being vulnerable to repeated food insecurity during the country’s recurring food crises. Children under the age of five are those most affected by malnutrition, due to adverse behavior in the area of hygiene and sanitation.

The overall progress noted in most indicators of maternal health is in line with fewer difficulties faced by women in accessing health care and services between 2005 and 2008. These areas of progress, as revealed by the 2010 PSIA study,22 should be attributed to a number of maternal health promotion activities carried out within the context of the 2005-2010 Health Development Plan (PDS), particularly activities on curative care, assisted childbirth, free caesarian sections, iron supplements, and treatment for diseases undermining maternal health. This favorable trend in the indicators continued between 2008 and 2009 according to the 2009 PDS implementation report.

Positive change in these indicators explains to a large extent why the national maternal mortality rate has fallen slightly over the last decade. This decline, although marginal,23 illustrates to some extent the impact of actions taken to promote maternal health between 2005 and 2010. However, these actions are still quite insufficient to accelerate the trend toward achievement of the MDG target of 175 for every 100,000 live births in 2015. With regard to children, the change in health status was more marked between 2005 and 2008. Thus, the deprivations-based approach used to achieve these results in the 2010 PSIA study revealed significant improvement in the level of social indicators, particularly those involving access to healthcare.

The results of the survey on nutrition, survival, and mortality in children from 0 to 59 months in Niger in 2010 confirmed the generally downward trend in mortality at all levels (infant, child, infant-child, maternal, etc.).

In general terms, mortality in children under the age of five has declined significantly, falling from 123 deaths for every 1,000 live births in 1992 to 81 deaths for every 1,000 in 2006, and then to 76 per 1,000 in 2010. This raises hopes for achieving the target by 2015.

These two types of mortality occur more frequently in rural areas than in urban areas during the period. Despite advances made, there are still challenges to be met, particularly in strengthening interventions on access to care, vaccination, prenatal checkups, childbirth assisted by qualified personnel, dealing with the emergence of non-communicable diseases, etc.

In the area of nutrition, the diagnostic assessment indicates that the prevalence of underweight went from 41.1 percent in 2006 to 33.9 percent in 2009, and then 40.6 percent in 2010. Chronic malnutrition went from 50.0 percent in 2005 to 46.3 percent in 2009, and then 48.1 percent in 2010. Overall acute malnutrition, which was 15.3 percent in children under the age of 5 in 2005, held steady at about 11.0 percent since 2007, before rebounding to 16.7 percent in 2010. For severe acute malnutrition, the rate went from 1.8 percent to 0.8 percent between 2005 and 2007, and climbed to 3.2 percent in 2010. It varies from 16.8 percent in Niamey to 61.8 percent in Zinder.

The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the general population (15-49 years) was estimated at 0.7 percent in 2006 compared to 0.87 percent in 2007. In 2008, it was 0.3 percent among young people aged 15 to 24 compared to 1.7 percent among pregnant women and 35.6 percent among sex workers, indicating that the epidemic is concentrated. Despite the low level of seroprevalence in Niger, it is important to be prudent and measured given the resistance to voluntary screening (2% according to the data from the 2006 Demographic and Health Survey - EDSN) and migratory flows following crisis situations occurring in some neighboring countries.

The annual incidence of malaria, the primary cause of morbidity and mortality in Niger, averages 80.5 cases for every 1,000 inhabitants with upward and downward changes (51.4 cases per 1,000 inhabitants in 2000, 146.2 cases per 1,000 in 2008, 154.8 cases per 1,000 in 2009, and 226.4 cases per 1,000 in 2010). In contrast, the mortality rate shows significant improvement, falling from 0.27 percent in 2005 to 0.13 percent in 2008, and 0.13 percent in 2010. The incidence of tuberculosis was 168 cases per 1,000 inhabitants in 2005, compared to 180 cases per 1,000 inhabitants in 2008 (all types combined), a slight increase due to its association with the AIDS epidemic. Tobacco use is also a new public health problem.

On the organizational level, despite progress made in terms of health infrastructures, sources of supplies, and distribution of medications, as well as in the area of human resources, there is still the problem of an inadequate supply of health care.24 Moreover, on the financial level, the change in the government’s budget allocated to health between 1990 and 2010 was not very significant: 6.71 percent of the total budget in 1990 compared to 7.85 percent in 2010, below regional and international commitments in this areas.

The principal constraint is the inadequate supply of services and health care due to: (i) weak health coverage; (ii) insufficient numbers and quality in certain personnel categories; (iii) inadequacies in the system for supplying medications, inputs, and reagents; (iv) limited development of reproductive health services; (v) limited development of research; (vi) inadequate alternative financing mechanisms; (vii) inadequacies in health systems management; (viii) inadequate provision of care with respect to communicable and non-communicable, emerging and reemerging diseases; and (ix) inadequate and obsolescent equipment.

Areas of potential include the existence of a framework for consultation between the Ministry of Health and the TFP, a common fund (COMPACT) facilitating the mobilization of resources and monitoring of results, the inclusion of the nutritional component in the 3N Initiative, and decentralization with the installation of communal and regional councils.

The principal challenge is universal access to primary health care for the population through better targeting of the most vulnerable populations (mother/child, child, the elderly, vulnerable households).

I.2.4.3 Protection and social advancement

Social protection is one of the major tools in the effort to combat poverty. It is an important link in efforts to reduce economic, social, food/nutritional vulnerability and provide protection against shocks and risks. Many advances have been made, particularly in the institutional and legal framework, with the government’s ratification of several legal instruments on the subject of social protection and its adoption of a national policy document on social protection. In the area of human resources, the principal indicators of social exclusion are a high level of unemployment and under-employment, no social assistance or insurance of any kind, particularly for the most vulnerable populations, and vulnerability to food and nutritional insecurity.

Since 1965, the National Social Security Fund (CNSS) has been the principal structure providing social protection for workers. However, government employee retirement pensions are managed by the National Retirement Fund (FNR), a part of the National Treasury.

In the area of social advancement of the disabled, the government ratified the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol. It also adopted Order No. 2010-028 of May 20, 2010 amending and supplementing Order No. 93-012 of March 2, 1993 establishing the standard minimum rules on the protection of the disabled and its implementing decree.

In terms of potential in this area, note should be made of the installation of the national commission responsible for the advancement of the disabled and the institutionalization of a national fund to support the disabled pursuant to Order No. 93-102 of March 2, 1993.

In terms of results in providing assistance and social security for the disabled, between 2008 and 2910, more than 2000 disabled persons were hired in civil service. Moreover, since 1974, the government has recognized several associations providing care for the disabled. There is a national federation of the disabled grouping together six associations. They are the National Union of the Blind in Niger (UNAN), the Association of the Deaf of Niger (ASN), the Nigerien Association of the Walking Disabled (ANHL), the Nigerien Association for the Advancement of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (ANPPDI), the Nigerien Raoul Follereau Association (ANRF), and the Nigerien Association of Persons Suffering from Occupational Accidents and Diseases (ANAMP).

In addition, to combat food and nutritional insecurity, the government uses significant social protection measures in implementing its support plan, including the free distribution of foodstuffs, price subsidies on essential goods, and community support programs. Measures being used to combat chronic poverty and social inequities on a sustainable basis include: (i) the National Program of Social Safety Nets, the implementation of which began in 2012, strengthens the resilience of vulnerable populations to repetitive crises; (ii) expanded free delivery of certain benefits to increase the supply of social protection services, necessitating improvement in the supply as well; and (ii) the school canteens program.

In the area of child protection, between 1990 and 2010, Niger ratified or acceded to several texts and instruments establishing the rights, well-being, and protection of children. In order to follow up on these various commitments, the government has set up institutional mechanisms ensuring that children are protected 25 against all forms of violence, abuse, and exploitation. In addition, the government has always made combating violence against children a national priority and a framework document in the area of child protection was prepared. This document is consistent with a systemic approach that seeks to strengthen the current system and works in synergy with other sectors, including justice, education, civil status, labor, and health. However, despite legal provisions seen as advances, the phenomenon of children26 living on the streets and begging reflects the ineffectiveness of the strategies implemented over the period 1990-2010 for the social protection of children in both urban and rural settings.

As regards child protection, areas of potential involve reforms undertaken, particularly the preparation in 2011 of a framework document in this area. Another area of potential is based on creation within the Ministry of Justice of a national directorate for the legal protection of youth and adoption of a national policy on civil status (2007) intended to gradually cover the entire country. Finally, the existence of a platform of NGOs and associations working to advance and protect the rights of children is also an area of potential.

Issues relating to the advancement of women and gender inequities have also clearly changed since the 1990s, with the emergence of women’s civil society organizations. A significant milestones leading to this change is the historic Nigerien women’s march on May 13, 1991 that demanded greater participation in the Sovereign National Conference. These advances have been reflected in the adoption of several legal instruments and sectoral polices. In terms of achievements, the implementation of the law on quotas for appointments and elective office made it possible to significantly increase women’s participation in the management of public power. For example, there were 15 women among the 113 members of Parliament in 2011, or 12.5 percent, while in 1999 (before adoption of the quota law) there was only one woman among the 83 members, or 1.2 percent. As for women members of government, their percentage went from 8 percent in 1999 to 25 percent in 2011. However, a study on the situation of women in Niger, conducted in 2009, indicates that their participation in decision-making bodies is still very weak.

In terms of advancing the status of women and taking the gender dimension into account, the principal constraint is women’s limited participation in decision-making as well as in family, community, administrative, or economic life. Moreover, despite their activism urban women have not been in a position to significantly influence change favorable to the full development of women in a variety of settings, particularly in rural areas. This is due to insufficient convergence between urban and rural women in terms of perceptions and the choice of actions to be undertaken. Hierarchical social status, sociocultural obstacles, and weak institutional capacities of structures responsible for the advancement of women and mainstreaming of the gender dimension are not conducive to the appropriate handling of these issues.

However, there are areas of potential on which to rely in taking the gender dimension into account, including political commitment through the provisions of the Constitution of November 25, 2010, adoption of the law on quotas for elective (10%) and appointive (25%) office, the national policy on gender, the development partners’ commitment to supporting the advancement of women and gender, and the energy and commitment of civil society.

The principal challenge in terms of social protection is to expand it by raising the level of social security coverage, adapting the legislative and regulatory framework, and providing adequate protection for vulnerable groups.

At the same time, it is important to achieve the women’s full participation in decision-making by providing appropriate solutions to social obstacles, with particular emphasis on the empowerment and autonomy of rural women.

I.2.4.4 Labor and jobs

Unemployment and under-employment, particularly among young graduates, are constant concerns in Niger. In 2010, there were 7,363 unemployed graduates27 in Niger, most of them young people. Of these unemployed graduates, 52.5 percent were men and 47.5 percent were women. Most unemployed or under-employed young people28 represent a burden for heads of household, particularly those in the lower income quintiles where average household size is larger. This size is additionally combined with a low level of education. About 60 percent of the unemployed belong to households where the head has no education.

National Employment Promotion Agency (ANPE) studies and data show, moreover, that the unemployed find it difficult to rejoin the labor market. The average period of unemployment29 was estimated to be about five years in the capital. The general unemployment rate is estimated to be 15.9 percent. It is higher in urban areas (19.4%)30 than in rural areas (15.1%). Unemployment among rural young people is associated with the shortage of gainful employment and the effect of food crises that force them to migrate to urban centers, where they face a precarious situation.

Moreover, the shortage of decent work due to the predominance of informal employment, particularly in rural areas and in the agricultural sector, the limited implementation of standards, and the mismatch between job supply and demand limits the ability to improve living standards and create a climate of social peace.

The reasons for unemployment and precarious employment are associated in particular with the absence of good linkage between the labor market, vocational training, and policy to support entrepreneurship. Other factors include a poor business climate, the dispersion of structures to support employment, and the characteristic structure of a national economy in which the informal sector holds significant importance and the secondary sector is weak.

Areas of potential employment are primarily tied to the agricultural subsector and all the initiatives planned for its growth and necessitating the creation of activities for young people (agricultural jobs), development of the private sector, resumption of activities in the mining and petroleum sector, the benefits of the future Kandadji dam, and the explicit political commitment to including the issue of employment in the priorities of the DPG and the Renaissance Program for Niger.

In terms of the constraints identified, the principal challenge associated with promoting employment and decent work will be to successfully develop comparative advantages in order to create jobs in the sectors that drive economic growth (agriculture and agroindustry, mining, petroleum, artisanal trades, tourism, etc.), while encouraging entrepreneurship.

I.2.4.5 Youth and sports

Youth includes individuals of both sexes between the ages of 15 and 35.31 In terms of demographics, 56.5 percent of the Nigerien population is under the age of 15 and the annual youth growth rate over the period 2001-2010 is estimated to average 3.81 percent per year. The number of young people aged 15-35 is estimated at 4,914,140 in 2011, with 3,766,415 in rural areas and 1,147,725 in urban areas.32 However, these numbers are changing and show an upward trend for urban youth compared to youth in rural areas.

Young people are classified as among the most vulnerable groups since they face problems in health, education, sports, leisure, employment, socio-economic integration, and progressive loss of national cultural values.

In terms of demographic weight, young people represent an asset and enormous potential that can be mobilized for the country’s economic and social development.

The major challenge for young people is to satisfy their strong social demands and aspirations. In this regard, it is essential to address the principal issues, which are to: (i) prepare young people to promote the sustainable development of the country; (ii) reduce their vulnerability by providing appropriate education, vocational training, and decent jobs; (iii) ensure their socioeconomic integration; (iv) promote their initiatives in the area of entrepreneurship; (v) promote their involvement in the decision-making process; (vi) protect them against social pressures (discrimination against young women, early marriage; (vii) combat delinquency among young people; and (viii) create emancipated, responsible young people who are the essential foundation of their own well-being and the overall well-being of the nation.

Sports are becoming important in the life of Nigeriens and are increasingly of interest to the business community and the media.33 This interest is driven by three entities: (i) the Nigerien government, the association movement, and the business world. However, there are constraints that limit the promotion of sports. Existing sports facilities (a total of 524) generally operate with very limited material, financial, and human resources, creating maintenance problems that lead to their deterioration. At the same time, the need for training continues to be a concern due to a marked shortage of agents in this area of activity. Other factors are an inadequate legal framework; a shortage of staff, officials, and referees; insufficient training for the psychological preparation of players; limited effectiveness of the framework for discovering, choosing, and training young talent; and cultural and religious biases that hamper the promotion of women’s sports.

However, the sector does have assets for promoting sports. These include a young population and a favorable school and university environment for cultivating the spirit and practice of sports.

The principal challenge to be met is to promote governance within the entities involved in sports, train youth in this area, improve sports performance, and make Niger a crossroads for sports with its own brand.

I.3 Status of Governance

The government’s General Policy Statement presented by the Prime Minister, Head of Government, states that “to be sustainable, good governance must be broad, i.e., it must be simultaneously political, administrative, economic, and local.” Governance, its limitations, potential, and an analysis of the stakeholders are presented below.

I.3.1 Political governance

Niger’s recent political and institutional history indicates that, to a large extent, political and institutional crises are due to a shortage of governmental practices and capacities for transparently, rationally, and effectively managing public affairs. Thus, Niger has experienced two decades of learning about the exercise of democracy. Since 1990, this experience has been characterized by significant political and institutional instability punctuated by three military coups in 1996, 1999, and 2010.

In order to strengthen the foundations of democracy, the Seventh Republic has developed the entire legal and institutional arsenal of a modern state.

The institutional architecture of the republic, as provided by the Constitution of November 25, 2010, is being finalized (National Assembly; Office of the Prime Minister; Constitutional Court; Court of Accounts [Audit Office]; Court of Cassation [Supreme Court]; Council of State; Economic, Social, and Cultural Council; High Court of Justice; High Council for Communications; the Human Rights Commission, etc.). The authorities of the Seventh Republic strive to make the operations of theses institutions smooth and effective by giving them considerable resources and respecting and enforcing their independence. Along the same lines, Niger is reactivating and/or establishing permanent bodies or frameworks for cooperation on issues of national interest and on the prevention and resolution of political conflicts in order to establish a peaceful democracy. These include the Council of the Republic, the National Council for Political Dialogue (CNDP), and the National Commission for Social Dialogue (CNDS). The appointment of a Mediator of the Republic and institutionalization of the Status of the Opposition and its leader reflect the same objectives.

The central problem of political governance has been the dysfunction of democratic institutions due to the operational deficiencies of government institutions and the limited capacities of non-state actors. The operational deficiencies of government institutions are linked to: (i) the failure to respect the principle of the separation of powers; (ii) public authorities’ failure to respect citizens’ constitutional rights and freedoms; (iii) poor relations between institutions; (iv) a lack of planning; and (v) limited cooperation in the actions of government.

Regarding the limited capacities of non-state actors, this was due to: (i) a lack of communication; (ii) poor understanding of institutional mechanisms; (iii) a lack of ethics and professional conduct; and (iv) political interference in the trade union movement and in civil society.

Assets in terms of political governance include: (i) regular operation of the CNDP since 2004 (consultative body for the prevention, management, and resolution of political disputes); (ii) the existence of a legal-institutional arsenal established by the Constitution of November 25, 2010; and (iii) the recommendations of the Niamey Declaration of September 15, 2011 on relations between civil society, the State, and the technical and financial partners.

With regard to the political upheavals of recent decades, the principal challenge to be met is to strengthen good practices, including the permanence of the electoral cycle and strengthened institutions to stabilize the political climate, a prerequisite for the country’s economic, social, and security environment.

I.3.2 Administrative governance

Since the 1990s, Nigerien public administration has been characterized by weak human resource management, a shortage of qualified and experienced personnel, a mismatch between where personnel are located and public service needs, and limited communication between units that should work together. Other factors include: (i) employees’ lack of motivation due to the politicization of civil service; (ii) excessive turnover of personnel as political winds change (detrimental to the ability to capitalize on experience); (iii) a compensation and promotion policy inconducive to productivity because of its limited association with merit and performance; (iv) the aging of personnel; and (v) insufficient or non-existent operational resources and maintenance.

Moreover, government assets, particularly administrative buildings, are generally antiquated and dilapidated. Despite the government’s efforts to construct administrative buildings between 1993 and 2007, it is still leasing private sector buildings to meet its administrative needs.

The principal constraint in this area is the poor performance of governmental services due to inadequate administrative management tools and instruments, dysfunctional administrative offices, and inadequate quantity and quality of human resources in civil service, as well as the absence of career paths.

As a significant area of potential, it should be noted that with a view to ensuring consistency and coordination in development programs, the government, through the High Commission for Modernization of the State, drew up the National Policy on Modernization of the State (PNME), which seeks to focus government administrative reforms on increasing the quality and accessibility of the services the government provides to its citizens.

Current staffing in civil service can be seen below:

Table 4:

Civil service staffing levels from 2005 to 2010:

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Source: MEF/DGEPD, 2011, Diagnostic Report on General Capacity-Building Program

The major challenge in administrative governance is thus to successfully manage the indispensable transition/change from static to dynamic development administration with effective oversight mechanisms. This will mean accelerating the reform of government and strengthening its capacities, particularly human capacities, in order to give government administration the skills essential to increasing quality in the public services provided to citizens and to the conduct of development projects and programs. However, this can only be done by promoting a results-based culture at the individual and collective level at all points in the administrative chain.

I.3.3 Local governance

The local governance situation is addressed here in terms of the management of local governments.

Local governance is based on the principle of decentralization, which is a public services management method born of the conviction that decentralized management is more effective and less expensive than centralized management. In addition, Article 164 of the Constitution established decentralization as a principle of administrative governance, stipulating that “territorial administration is based on the principles of decentralization and deconcentration.” In this regard, the contribution of decentralization in the area of development management lies in the involvement of authorities and non-state actors (local authorities, local elected officials, NGOs, associations, etc.) that formerly played a minor role.

In addition, in order the create the conditions for better sharing and more organized implementation of administrative reform, to help democracy take root, and make grass-roots communities accountable in the management of their development, the National Decentralization Policy (PND) of March 2012 replaces the sovereign powers of the State and its role as the principal organization and overseer of decentralization. Thus, this policy makes local governments (regions, communes) the agents of local control over the implementation of public policies, grassroots democracy, good governance, and sustainable local development within the framework of the unitary rule of law that, based on effective decentralized administration, ensures the order development of the country based on national solidarity, regional potential, and intra- and inter-regional balance (linkage and consistency of different sectoral interventions). In this respect, decentralization represents an opportunity to learn about the exercise of local governance by ensuring that the community in particular and the local government in general can conduct their own affairs. Decentralization fosters the principle of local authorities’ accountability to citizens and for this reason helps to spread the culture of grassroots democracy and is a dynamic process.

In terms of constraints, the first factor to be noted is that local governments—among which municipalities or “communes” represent one of the principal instruments for the implementation of local governance, enjoy autonomy of management, and have deliberative bodies made up of local elected officials—have only existed in Niger since 2004. Thus, they are recent and the bodies established and those active in them are taking their first steps. Like any learning experience, learning how to engage in local governance is a laborious task and skills in this area are acquired only through exercise and actual practice.

Moreover, action in many of towns is constrained by inadequate resources, particularly due to the failure to implement the National Agency for the Financing of Local Government (ANFICT) and the towns’ limited ability to mobilize internal resources. In effect, in order for the decentralization policy to be effective, the transfer of responsibilities (jurisdiction) must be accompanied by the resources necessary (particularly financial resources and technical assistance) to allow the decentralized entity to take up its responsibilities. In addition, considering the importance of the challenge presented by the issue of decentralization in terms of the viability of towns, the central government must commit to support the efforts of these local governments through appropriate financial assistance and technical training in keeping with the actions needed.

The principal constraint is the limited ability of local governments to ensure sustainable local development due to: (i) their limited experience with contracting; (ii) the failure to effectively take the geographic dimension into account, in the absence of an operational national land management policy; (iii) the lack of tools to support the financing of local governments; and (iv) limited monitoring of the government’s technical services.

Areas of potential that could help to promote local governance basically involve: creation of the National Agency for Financing the Investments of Local Governments; civil society involved in decentralization and local development; a national decentralization policy, the Association of Municipalities of Niger; the Association of Regions of Niger; and the availability of TFPs to monitor the decentralization and local development process.

Thus, the challenge here is to consistently support the efforts of decentralized entities by providing the financial and technical assistance essential for implementing the decentralization policy.

I.3.4 Economic governance

After more than a decade of the structural adjustment process, a diagnosis was performed in the early 2000s regarding government finance management and above all the impact of public spending on the population’s well-being. This diagnosis indicated that the government’s budget was highly dependent on foreign assistance (more than 55%), limited room to maneuver on the level and composition of public expenditures, difficulties establishing links between national strategies and the budget, complex and highly centralized budgetary execution procedures, and excessive use of exceptional procedures.

The issue of economic governance, which has been given priority since adoption of the first Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper in 2002, is vigorously affirmed, particularly through public finance reforms to increase the effectiveness of budget execution and make financial management more transparent and more accountable.

In the area of strengthening public finance management in Niger, the government undertook a PEMFAR34 process that resulted in the adoption in 2009 of a priority actions plan under which notable achievements have been made. In 2011, a Public Finance Management Reform Program was developed with a view to strengthening budgetary credibility, the predictability of resources, increased transparency and accountability in the management of public finances, as well as the quality of public spending.

In recent years, efforts have focused in particular on strengthening the oversight system, combating corruption, and the public procurement system. Nonetheless, the management of public expenditure in Niger is still characterized by weak and variable collection of domestic revenues. In effect, the mobilization of revenues continues to be very low (tax burden of 13.3% in 2010, below the community norm of 17%) and unpredictable. Moreover, there is a gap between expected revenues and actual revenues, with a negative impact on proper expenditure management.

In the area of development planning, from the time of its independence until 2000, Niger has opted for indicative planning, combining long-, medium, and short-term planning, through various planning exercises and methods that have thus marked Nigerien development management experience.

The weakening of the development planning and coordination function between 2000 and 2010 resulted in: (i) a dilution of responsibilities for the design and preparation of development policies; (ii) limited consistency in sectoral policies; (iii) problems faced by public authorities in formulating endogenous development policies and strategies: and (iv) limited utilization of tools for planning and monitoring public policies and deterioration of the related framework. In effect, the monitoring and evaluation mechanisms of the ADPRS have not been able to ensure effective coordination of development strategies.

The analysis of economic governance reveals significant achievements in the area of steering the economy, reforms of public finances, forecasting, and development management, and the monitoring and evaluation of public policies (results-based management). Recently, efforts have been made to strengthen the capacities of public administration, particularly in the formulation of public policy, the identification of needs, and the formulation of programs and projects.

The principal constraint is the limited relationship between the various development management benchmarks due to the limited credibility of the budget and the failure to anticipate development. The limited credibility of the budget is based on limited ability to predict expenditures, limited capacities of oversight bodies, the failure to consolidate a culture of accountability, the weakness of citizen oversight, weak collection of domestic revenues, limited capacity of sectoral ministries in the area of budgetary and financial management procedures, budgetary regulations, and the complexity of budgetary procedures. The failure to anticipate development is associated with a persistent resistance to change, the limited consistency of development management instruments, insufficient coordination of development, and obsolescent planning tools.

The main areas of potential can be found in the various international and regional instruments based on agreements with international organizations (WAEMU, ECOWAS, GIABA, the IMF, and the World Bank), the Public Finance Management Reform Program, and the new agreement with the IMF allowing the Republic of Niger to take on new loans. In the area of economic governance, there is also the validation of the national charter on good governance with respect to the management of mining resources, Niger’s accession to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). These instruments are designed to allow better management of the mining and petroleum resources anticipated by the country. In addition, compliance with sub-regional directives, particularly for development of the programmatic approach in the sectors and the transition from means budgets to program budgets, will make it possible to link the planning of appropriations and the strategic development priorities expressed in the national plan and in sectoral policies.

The principal challenge is to significantly improve the efficiency of development management instruments (mineral resources management and transparency instrument, MTEF, PDES, SDDCI, fiscal reform program, budgetary strategy, budget laws, etc.) based on a forward-looking approach.

The issue of significant computerization of the national economy is also an important challenge to be met in order to increase the growth and mobilization of domestic resources.

I.3.5 Legal and judicial governance

The situation in the justice sector shows that various reforms have been undertaken in recent years to improve its performance. These reforms have made it possible to achieve satisfactory results in many areas, but they continue to be limited in scope. However, the budget for the Ministry of Justice increased to more than one percent of budgetary resources in 2012.

Reform of the legal framework was marked by significant legislative and regulatory efforts, particularly with the revision of the basic texts on which magistrates rely to administer justice. Thus, the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code were extensively amended to improve the operation of the criminal process and allow the criminalization of certain practices or behaviors and thus render justice that is more effective and more respectful of human rights. There is also the 2004 law on judicial organization and laws governing the professions of attorneys, notaries, and bailiffs.

The National Assembly has just adopted organic laws on the composition, organization, powers, and operations of the Court of Accounts, the Constitutional Court, and the National Commission on Human Rights, as well as a law on the creation of the National Legal and Judicial Assistance Agency (ANAJJ).

In addition, a new statute on judges was adopted to improve their working conditions. The incorporation, in modern law, of certain legal provisions based on international commitments has also helped to make Nigerien law consistent with international instruments.

Codes and reference documents were disseminated and publicized to accompany these basic texts.

One of the principal reforms of the judicial framework undertaken to respond to the challenges posed by the Program to Support Judicial Reforms was the creation within the National School of Administration and Magistracy of a section responsible for providing initial training for magistrates.

In addition, the organization of various types of training for judges and clerks has strengthened the capacities of the incumbents to respond to the new challenges. Reform of the judicial map with the creation of new jurisdictions and the strengthening of oversight bodies (Superior Council of the Magistracy, General Inspectorate of Judicial Services) have supported the process of improving the judicial system.

With a view to improving the conditions for gaining access to justice, particularly judicial defense, tax incentives have been established by the new law organizing the profession of attorneys in order to encourage them to set up in the provincial areas of the country.

The bar association took specific actions regarding the defense of accused persons belonging to vulnerable population segments (defense teams). In addition, information and awareness-raising activities for litigants are conducted in partnership with civil society organizations. The installation of judicial facilitators in prison facilities who are responsible for informing prisoners of their rights as well as the reception and information offices in the high courts to inform those using the courts have helped to improve access to justice.

In criminal law, the adoption of suspended sentences combined with probation has set up alternatives to incarceration. Implementation of the Juvenile Judicial Protection Program and experimentation with community service work for minors have ensured that the specific nature of juvenile justice is taken into account.

With respect to the judicial police, training on human rights for police, gendarmes, and intervention and securities force agents should help to strengthen the protection of human rights.

In the corrections sector, prison conditions have improved thanks to the combined effect of increases in the sector’s budget, the creation of new prison facilities, and the rehabilitation of many others. The construction of sections for juveniles in some prison facilities, the development of sociocultural activities and reintegration of prisoners, and initial vocational training for agents through the development of a prison staff training program should also be noted.

The principal constraint in the area of legal and judicial governance is systemic dysfunction. This is due to corruption and influence peddling, impunity, judicial delays, difficulties accessing justice, dysfunction in the enforcement of court decisions, and poor prison conditions.

Difficulties encountered when seeking access to justice are associated with the distance between the courts and potential litigants, weak judicial communications, inadequate supply and demand of justice, and the failure to monitor the most vulnerable. The dysfunction in the enforcement of judicial decisions is due to all types of interference. Poor prison conditions and insufficient preparation for civilian life are due to the overcrowding of prison facilities and inadequate mechanisms for preparing prisoners to reenter society.

In any case, the principal challenge is to significantly improve access to justice and to improve its image. To help achieve this major objective, the government decided to convene national consultations on justice to assess the situation and define solutions for the qualitative and consistent development of the justice system in Niger as both an institution and a public service.

I.3.6 Defense and security

Defending the integrity and preserving the security of individuals and property are prerequisites for economic and social development. These functions are essentially the responsibility of the Defense and Security Forces (FDS).

In the past, the country has experienced three (3) armed rebellions and recurring inter-community disputes between nomadic and settled groups. Today, these types of disputes have fallen off, thanks in particular to the government’s efforts, to dispute resolution mechanisms, and to the commitment and determination of the FDS.

However, the country now faces other types of threats: international terrorism, drug and weapons trafficking, and religious fundamentalism.

Even though Niger is at the center of areas of tension, the FDS effectively guarantee the country’s territorial integrity, ensure the safety of persons and property, and fully carry out their mission.

In addition, the FDS are called upon perform civilian-military activities in the areas of health, military engineering, air and land transport, and environmental protection.

The principal constraint in the area of defense and security is the porous nature of the country’s borders, associated with the immensity of the territory and inadequate human, material, and technological means to cover the entire territory.

With the creation of the High Defense Council, the National Security Council, the High Authority for Consolidation of the Peace, the National Commission on the Collection and Control of Illegal Weapons, the National Commission on Borders, and international organizations combating drugs and money laundering, Niger has adequate instruments for combatting insecurity. Note should also be made of the recent development of the National Defense and Security Strategy in Sahel-Sahara Areas, adopted by the government in October 2011. The implementation of this strategy reflects the desire of the government and its partners to reconcile peace-related issues with issues of development in towns in the northern part of the country.

In addition, the planning laws adopted by the government for the National Guard, the National Police, and the Nigerien Armed Forces represent relevant instruments for modernizing and introducing quality governance within the FDS. This is reflected in the field in better application of military regulations, increased cohesion, discipline, justice, equity, and morale in the FDS and improvement in their living and working conditions.

The central challenge, in this area, is to guarantee defense of the territory and the security of persons and property.

I.4 Evolving Conditions for Sustainable Development

I.4.1 Regional integration

Niger has an enviable geostrategic position due to its geographic location in the middle of the continent midway between the Atlantic and Indian oceans and linking North Africa and the Gulf of Guinea. It also has abundant potential in the agriculture and livestock, mining, industrial, craft, and tourism sectors. In effect, besides significant uranium reserves, the agriculture and livestock sector includes several promising subsectors (livestock-meat, cowpeas, onion, sesame, peanuts, gum Arabic, etc.). In addition, Niger is now an oil producing country.

However, the country’s landlocked position is a serious hindrance to its economic expansion. Aware of this vulnerable situation, immediately upon gaining its independence Niger opted for cooperation and integration with all who share its values.

The need to develop agriculture and livestock production and the country’s natural wealth within a subregional, regional, and international context and to pursue domestic and cross-border security supports the validity of the country’s choice to make regional cooperation and integration a fundamental option for its development. In effect, the problems that countries face, particularly those in Africa, are of such a scope and complexity that an overall approach of dealing with them within a subregional and regional context is not only a guarantee of effective promotion of development but also a vehicle for strengthening solidarity between countries and peoples.

This determination to make integration a pillar of development was reaffirmed by the President of the Republic in his inaugural address of April 7, 2011 and by the Prime Minister in his General Policy Statement. The note on Strategic Guidelines for Sustainable Development and Inclusive Growth, adopted by the government on August 31, 2011, reiterates that the Economic and Social Development Plan (PDES) will take into account the agreements and conventions signed by Niger in the context of regional economic integration.

Niger’s commitment to the path of integration is reflected in its membership in several hundred inter-governmental organizations including the United Nations system, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), etc.

However, despite its expressed willingness and efforts made in the area of promoting economic integration, Niger still does not have a national policy in this area. A draft policy was admittedly drawn up in 2004 but has not been adopted.

In institutional terms, various ministerial departments are responsible for issues of regional economic integration, given their cross-cutting nature.

With regard to the major concerns in the area of regional economic integration, emphasis is often placed on the following points: respect for commitments signed by the country, increased presence of Niger within subregional and regional organizations based on an appropriate policy of representation at the highest level within the decision-making and management bodies of these organizations, active participation by private stakeholders in the integration process, development of the advantages of proximity to neighboring countries, strengthened partnership with the countries of the hinterland, increased competitiveness of the economy, promotion and implementation of integrative projects combining the efforts and interests of several African states, particularly in the areas of energy, transportation and communication infrastructure, agriculture, natural resources, industry and mines, the free movement of persons, goods and capital, as well as the right of establishment and residence, promotion of the country’s brand image within intergovernmental organizations and internationally.

The central challenge in this area is to promote subregional and regional integration while offering benefits to the country and allowing it to assert its political and economic influence.

I.4.2 Regional development

Regional socioeconomic development in Niger is similar to that of the country as a whole. Niger’s regions are actually still highly dependent on governmental action and have not themselves been able to generate dynamic local economic structures that could do without the benefit of government investment, the geographic distribution of which has not taken regional realities into account.

The regions’ involvement in the preparation and execution of development plans was marginal during the first three decades following independence (1960-1990). This is due in large part to the incomplete decentralization process that, by inhibiting the emergence of strong and autonomous regional power, prevented the regions from taking their place in the dynamic of development. The decentralization of the government’s technical services as a form of intervention was not sufficient to take regional views into account in the choice of development guidelines and policies.

The administrative reform of 1964-1965 created local governments (with budgets and councils) but they were not sufficiently consulted in the process of developing plans.

The 1970s were marked by the desire to plan a regionalized development approach through regional “integrated” or productivity projects as well as large-scale irrigation projects. Preceded by environmental studies, these projects sought to cover all areas affecting rural development.

In the context of preparing the 1976-1978 Three-Year Program, discussions were organized between the central and departmental levels. However, it was primarily during preparation of the 1979-1983 Plan that real regional planning work was initiated with the preparation of regional assessments.

Preparation of the 1987-1991 Plan led to a real contribution from the regions when regional planning and land management work was resumed with the proposed strategy of developing Master Plans for Regional Development and a National Land Management Plan. Recent developments in the area of decentralization have put regional involvement in the planning process back on the agenda. In effect, the strengthened role of the regions will necessarily involve regional-level and effective planning instruments adapted to local resources, leaving considerable room for input from the population. These instruments should respond to the need to define long-term regional guidelines based on locally identified potential and limitations and the preparation of regional planning and development strategies within the general framework of a national land management policy.

This policy organizes land use development based on rational valuation and exploitation of the land and its resources, in a spirit of strengthening national unity and solidarity. It must also ensure the preservation and improvement of national factors of production and the population’s living standards. It ensures the definition of sectoral and geographical guidelines capable of creating synergy among different regions and sectors of activity.

In this respect, the land management policy to be developed following the prospective study, in early 2013, should help to improve the management of development policies through national and regional land management plans.

The major challenge is the search for harmonious sustainable and geographically balanced land use development through (i) the mitigation of inter- and intra-regional disparities; (ii) efforts to combat poverty; and (iii) preservation and utilization of natural resources.

I.4.3 Environment

The various components of the environment (land, forestry resources, biological diversity, water resources, air, and urban environment) are subject to ongoing deterioration due to the action of climate and human activity.

Land resources are subject to a widespread process of deterioration in various forms due to the action of climate factors (wind and water erosion) and human activity (over-exploitation, unsuitable exploitation practices). The impact of the degradation of land is reflected in reduced forested areas, the disappearance of fauna, reduced water infiltration, the loss of arable area, exacerbated land disputes, the unlinking of traditional livestock systems, reduced production potential, deteriorating socioeconomic infrastructures, and serious public health problems (epidemics, malnutrition).

With respect to forest production, there is a chronic shortage in the balance between supply and demand for wood. This explains the increasing percentage of green wood and smaller diameters on the market and the increasingly frequent use of other traditional fuels, particularly agricultural residues and cow manure. In terms of cattle feed, forest by-products (fruits and leaves) account for 25 percent of ruminant feed rations.

Biological diversity, an essential component of the sociocultural assets of national communities, has been subject to significant changes in recent years, particularly the disappearance of some plant and animal species due to successive droughts and human activity, particularly those associated with agricultural, forestry, and livestock activities. Actually or potentially valuable genetic resources, i.e., genetic material from plant, animal, and microbial sources, are being eroded in both natural plant formations and cultivated species.

Water resources represent hydraulic potential that is poorly mobilized. The principal forms of degradation noted are reflected in reduced water surfaces, reduced river flows, increased pollution of various types, and the proliferation of invasive plants.

Management of the urban environment is a complex issue due to the rapid increase in the urban population, inadequate planning, and municipalities’ limited resources. These problems take the form of pollution and nuisances related to the population’s living conditions as illustrated by promiscuity in downtown areas, inadequate access to household waste collection and disposal services, limited wastewater collection and treatment systems, the failure to control rainwater, and inadequate systems for collecting and treating industrial and biomedical waste, etc.

In terms of health, the environment is generally conducive to the spread of disease, particularly diseases related to water and an unhealthy environment.

I.4.4 Climate change

Niger’s weather pattern is characterized by limited rainfall that varies geographically and seasonally and by high temperatures that exacerbate the country’s aridity. An examination of climate variations over the course of the period 1950-2000 points to a significant reduction in annual rainfall as well as a net increase in minimum temperatures. As for projections, the average annual increase in maximum temperatures over the period 2020-2049 will reach 2.3 to 2.6 degrees centigrade based on different scenarios.

However, rainfall forecasts indicate a slight increase in cumulative rainfall over the period 2020-2049 for most weather stations but with rainy seasons starting later. This will not be without consequences for rainfall-dependent agriculture and for food security in general. Nonetheless, it should be noted that the trends indicated for the West African zones in simplified models suggest the following rainfall changes: greater variability of rainfall from 0.5 percent to 40 percent in the subregion, with an average of 10 percent to 20 percent by 2015, a continued downward slide in isohyets [map line connecting points receiving equal rainfall] toward the south, and increased frequency of episodes of heavy rains and droughts.

The future effects of climate change on surface water are as follows: (i) reduced flows in the Niger river; (ii) increased flows in small watersheds and tributaries on the right bank of the river; (iii) continued displacement of the hydrological regime of the river and its major tributaries on the right bank; with Guinean peak flows at Niamey that will be delayed from February/March to December/January, or even November/December in the case of the most unfavorable scenarios; (iv) increased volume and frequency of flooding, particularly in the south; and (v) increased evaporation with the increase in temperature, which could reduce water volumes at dams and reservoirs.

The probable impact on groundwater is reduced replenishment and, consequently, lower piezometric levels, particularly in the water tables and alluvial water due to reduced rainfall and flows. This vulnerability will be accentuated by pressure from humans drawing on the water.

With respect to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Niger now ranks among the least polluting countries. The inventories taken over the period 1990-1997 indicated that total emissions of GHG (in CO2 equivalent) recorded in 1990 amounted to 8,912.06 Gg (gigagrams).35 The net balance of GHG emissions and sequestration in 1990 was minus 359,101 Gg. In 2009, the national net balance of GHG emissions/sequestration was minus 33,922 Gg CO2-eq. Niger is no longer a “source” bur a “net sink” in the area of greenhouse gas emissions.36

Although Niger is not compelled by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to submit measures for mitigating GHG emissions, it is still required to participate in the global effort to stabilize emissions, particularly by strengthening the country’s ability to reduce its emissions. This ability depends on the implementation of sustainable sectoral development policies.

Niger belongs to a region that is one of those most vulnerable to climate change, as the Sahel is recognized as having become drier over the course of the 20th century. Thus, the country is already living with the consequences of global warming and, consequently, is particularly vulnerable to its adverse effects.

In terms of agriculture, forestry, and livestock, the foreseeable impact of climate change, particularly in the event of reduced rainfall, will be reflected in soil degradation, a significant loss of biodiversity, reduced production, continuing large-scale population movements, and a resurgence of disputes between farmers and herders. In addition, the dynamic of forest area degradation will become worse.

In health terms, the impacts of climate change basically involve malaria, meningitis, and measles. Increased temperatures during the cold season (December to February) could lead to rather high malaria transmission rates. This could in effect create temperature conditions more favorable to the parasite’s cycle and to the survival of the vector. In terms of meningitis, due to foreseeable increases in rain over the period 2020-2049 for the months of July, August, and September and a cumulative annual increase, on the one hand, and increased temperatures and a longer dry period, on the other, the meningitis attack rate could increase somewhat throughout Niger except in the Tillabery area where the rainy season could extend over a long period and the dry season could be shorter, leading to a likely reduction in the meningitis attack rate. With regard to measles, an increase in temperature and above all a considerable increase in rainfall (as in the Tillabery, Zinder, and Agadez area) would be reflected in an extended rainy season and a reduction in the period during which measles is highly active. In contrast, for the Maradi area, reduced rainfall would lead to an extension of the period conducive to the development of measles.

Thus, adapting to climate change is today an urgent requirement and the most sustainable solution to the effects of climate change is to incorporate adaptation measures in economic and social development policies so as to reduce the population’s vulnerability to the negative impacts of climate change and strengthen its ability to resist and tolerate extreme climate phenomena. Priority interventions in this area involve the transfer of technologies to both mitigate and adapt to climate change, increased capacities in the area of research, and systematic observations and actions in the area of information, awareness-building, education, and training.

I.5 Major Findings from Reviews of the Diagnostic Analysis

The following findings from reviews of the diagnostic analysis illustrate the limitations on Niger’s economic and social development: (i) insufficient and volatile economic growth in a context of very high demographic growth, keeping the incidence of poverty at a level that is still high: (ii) a business climate unfavorable to promoting investments, employment, youth entrepreneurship, and creation of substantial added value; (iii) an institutional, administrative, and legal framework characterized by limited credibility and institutional instability as well as the limited ability of the administration to mobilize resources and use them efficiently to promote development; (iv) difficult environmental and climate conditions not conducive to sustainable food and nutritional security; (v) a security and defense situation that calls for vigilance due to instability in some neighboring countries and terrorist threats prejudicial to implementation of development actions in the field; (vi) limited competitiveness of the economy due in particular to its low degree of openness, limited diversification of productive activities, inadequate modern energy and transportation facilities and services, limited promotion of industries and large investments with catalyzing effects on the various branches of the economy; (vii) under-utilized mineral resources with a reduced impact on economic growth; (viii) very limited human capital (health, education) insufficient to contribute to human development; (ix) social protection systems with little or no effect on improving the lot of the most vulnerable population groups; (x) insufficient consideration given to cross-cutting gender issues in policies and strategies; (xi) living and housing standards not conducive to improving the population’s well-being, in addition to difficult conditions in terms of access to safe drinking water, hygiene, and sanitation; and (xii) a strong inclination to handle only urgent humanitarian situations rather than be proactive in order to anticipate future needs and create the conditions for sustainable and inclusive development.

I.6 Issues and Challenges

In terms of the major findings indicated above, the principal challenges that Niger must face and for which implementation of the PDES should help to provide solutions are presented below:

  1. Strengthening democracy and the rule of law;

  2. Guaranteeing the integrity of national territory, ensuring the security of persons and property, and promoting consolidation of the peace in favor of development;

  3. Strengthening national institutional capacities for effectively implementing development policies;

  4. Ensuring environmental conservation and taking climate change into account;

  5. Controlling demographic growth to make it compatible with the objectives of growth and access to public services;

  6. Promoting balanced regional development;

  7. Developing human capacities at the communal level and ensuring the transfer of financial resources to allow communities to gradually become empowered and be in a position to promote themselves;

  8. Giving priority to full introduction, within a coherent operational framework, of tools for steering the economy, planning, execution, monitoring budgetary execution, and accountability;

  9. Promoting subregional and regional integration while offering the country benefits and allowing it to assert its political and economic influence;

  10. Ensuring transparent management and increased mobilization of domestic resources, particularly the results expected from the mining and oil sectors, as well as external resources, through innovative mechanisms, with a view to financing priority development actions;

  11. Ensuring food security through increased agricultural productivity and controlling food product prices;

  12. Promoting strong and sustained growth that is pro-poor, creates jobs, benefits the young, involves communities in the choice of development policies, and gives women the ability to enhance their empowerment;

  13. Improving the competitiveness of the economy by ensuring a business-friendly environment, particularly better control of production factor costs, an adequate and continuous supply of electricity, control of transportation and communication services costs, the availability and maintenance of quality basic infrastructures, and better participation by banks in the long-term financing of truly productive and wealth-creating activities.

  14. Ensuring the population’s increased and equitable access to quality basic social services;

  15. Ensuring social protection suitable to sustain the most vulnerable populations.

Chapter 2: Strategic Guidelines for the Economic and Social Development Plan

Building on lessons learned from the results of two decades of combating poverty, Niger is engaged in a new development strategy that seeks to accelerate inclusive growth and promote sustainable development, in an environment of good governance. This Economic and Social Development Plan involves a profound change in the design and implementation of policies and strategies in order to provide sustainable solutions to the limitations and challenges the country faces.

Despite existing opportunities, Niger faces numerous and persistent challenges, particularly the challenge of promoting strong, lasting, and inclusive growth and sustainable development. Niger must also meet new challenges such as the consequences of climate change, in a context wherein rapid demographic growth threatens to significantly reduce national per capita income and weaken the system’s ability to meet social demand if population growth is not controlled over the medium and long term.

The PDES is the unifying framework that provides consistency and coordinates all the frameworks guiding short- and medium-term, general, sectoral, topical, and local development. It is results-based and defines the strategic guidelines for Niger’s development.

The diagnostic assessment indicated that the current average growth rate is insufficient to produce a significant reduction in poverty, increase job creation, and put together the conditions for sustainable and inclusive development.

On this basis, the principal guideline focuses on solidifying the foundations of the economy and enhancing its potential to achieve an accelerated rate of growth, while pursuing the two-fold objective of improving incomes and creating jobs, and consolidating the foundations for sustainable development.

At the same time, supplemental efforts will be directed to energizing the sustainable development process, the impact of which will continue beyond the period of the PDES. This development will be based on respect for the environment and the rules of good governance, modernization of the economic framework, and the emergence of a middle class, indicating achievement of the MDG on poverty reduction.

In effect, the PDES will foster synergy among five dimensions of sustainable development: (i) improving the credibility and effectiveness of public institutions; (ii) creating the conditions for the sustainability of balanced and inclusive development; (iii) providing food security and sustainable agricultural development; (iv) promoting a competitive and diversified economy for accelerated and inclusive growth; and (v) fostering social development.

These strategic, coordinated, and complementary guidelines for addressing the problems of development will be implemented through sectoral programs and strategies.

2.1 Strategic Objectives and Results of the PDES

2.1.1 The vision:

The vision of the PDES is based on building an emerging country, constructed on the basis of a dynamic, diversified, sustainable, and harmonious economy throughout the country, a modern, democratic, native and well-governed republic, a nation rich in culture and shared values, a society open to the world and drawn to knowledge and technological innovation, prosperous, equitable, solidarity-based, unified, and in peace, and committed to promoting African integration.

2.1.2 Objective:

The Economic and Social Development Plan seeks to promote the population’s economic, social, and cultural well-being.

2.1.3 Expected strategic results

The principal strategic results of the PDES are:
  1. The institutions of democracy and of the republic are credible, thanks to their strengthened capacity to effectively implement public policy and sustainable foothold.

    Efforts to strengthen a democratic and civilian state, on which everything else is contingent, will be pursued. The government must have the capacities needed to ensure that all citizens have a better life blessed with liberty, equality, justice, and solidarity.

    Strong institutions are a prerequisite for the rule of law and protect it from arbitrary action, so that the law governs relations among citizens on the one hand and relations between citizens and the government on the other. In order to promote all these values, allowing all citizens to enjoy their rights (political, economic, and social) while carrying out their duties, power must be exercised democratically.

    Access to government services, to government employment, and to government markets must be guaranteed and equal for all. By the same token, merit, competence, ethics, a sense of public service, enthusiasm and punctuality at work, professionalism, discipline, team spirit, and a sense of hierarchy and employee performance in a context of results-based management will be reestablished as criteria for accessing government jobs and promotions. Steps will be taken to create an environment and conditions favorable to increased productivity among government employees and to combat practices that weigh on the effectiveness of government action, such as corruption, preferential treatment, influence peddling, and the misappropriation of public funds.

    Good governance, particularly transparency, in the utilization of resources, will be reinforced in order to increase the mobilization of domestic resources with a view to financing the priority agenda of economic and social development based on revenues derived from the mining and petroleum industry. Revenues accumulated thanks to good negotiations in the extractive industries sector, by being properly distributed and allocated to national priorities, will help Nigeriens to flourish, particularly through the development of basic public services and improved access to those services.

  2. Citizens are guaranteed equitable and equal access to public services through strengthening of the rule of law, guaranteeing and improving public services for citizens throughout the country, and eliminating various forms of discrimination.

    To achieve this, the government must reestablish the enforcement of general law and civic duties, particularly effective and widespread compliance with taxation, which is currently highly eroded by all kinds of fraud.

    It is essential to reestablish equitable and equal treatment of citizens by all administrative institutions, particularly tax services and the justice system.

  3. The management of development is facilitated, particularly by fully implementing tools for steering the economy, planning, execution, monitoring budgetary execution and accountability, transparent management, and mobilization of domestic resources, particularly expected benefits from the mining and petroleum sectors, as well as external resources, using innovative mechanisms to finance priority development actions, all within a coherent operational framework harmonized at the regional level.

    This will also mean establishing planning functions within each ministerial department and other government institutions to ensure a coordinated approach (planning, programming, budgeting) that will guarantee continuity in discussions among the sectoral ministries, the Ministry of Planning, and the Ministry of Finance.

    In addition, monitoring and evaluation is part of all mechanisms, allowing improved implementation of development policies and strategies. In a results-based management approach, identification and implementation of a consistent and relevant information system is the key to success. Thus, in the context of the PDES, a monitoring and evaluation mechanism will be set up to measure and evaluate the short- and medium-term effects of government actions and subsequently to ensure their consistency with the PDES and increase the prospects for their successful implementation.

  4. Citizens’ desires for security are satisfied. Achieving this goal will require securing the entire country, ensuring the security of persons and property, and promoting the consolidation of peace in favor of development by strengthening mechanisms for consolidation of the peace and prevention of conflicts as well as regional cooperation. To ensure national security and contribute to security in the subregion, a comprehensive security, administrative, economic, and social solution is necessary.

    This will involve designing and implementing an improved administrative framework and correcting intra- and inter-regional imbalances in the area of economic and social development.

    Reestablishing the government’s monopoly over the armed forces, the only institution that is supposed to have weapons, is a priority.

    Providing the Defense and Security Forces (FDS) with qualified and well-trained human resources as well as the sufficient quantity and quality of equipment is necessary for this purpose.

  5. Environmental resources are preserved and sustainably managed by reversing trends toward environmental degradation and strengthening measures to adapt to the negative effects of climate change.

  6. Inter- and intra-regional disparities are mitigated, particularly to promote harmonious distribution of the population by ensuring balanced relations between urban and rural areas and supporting the emergence of regional development hubs. Achievement of this result basically seeks to ensure equity in human development indicators in the regions. It also seeks to give the country an institutional framework and geographic planning tools to reduce inter- and intra-regional disparities and disparities between urban and rural areas. This means making regions more accountable in the coordination and harmonization of development actions, strengthening their management capabilities, and encouraging them to specialize based on their comparative advantages.

  7. The levers of demographic growth are controlled by promoting a changed mentality and behaviors suitable to induce in the population a significant increase in the use of contraception, a reduction in early marriages, and better knowledge of the relationship between population and development.

  8. Nigeriens sustainably ensure their food security by increasing and diversifying agricultural, forestry, livestock, and fisheries production, providing rural and urban markets with agricultural and food products on a regular basis, improving the resilience of vulnerable groups facing climate change, and improving the population’s nutritional status in a context of controlled demographic growth. Food security will be assured through implementation of the 3N Initiative of “Nigeriens Nourishing Nigeriens.”

    The mobilization of surface water (Niger River, Goulbis, Koramas, lakes, and seas), the utilization of immense underground water reserves, control of runoff, use of available irrigable land, and modernization of agriculture and livestock will ensure that recurring droughts will no longer be synonymous with famine.

    In addition, increasing agricultural productivity will necessarily involve measures to facilitate farmers’ access to inputs.

  9. Economic growth is strong and sustained, inclusive, and job-creating, particularly through improved competitiveness based a business-friendly environment, better control of production factor costs, an adequate and continued supply of electricity, control of transportation and communication services costs, the availability and maintenance of quality basic infrastructures, and increased participation of banks in the long-term financing of truly productive and wealth-creating activities.

    The rebirth of Niger requires a competitive economy. Besides agricultural development, the PDES seeks to promote reduced costs for production factors that are important for a landlocked country, namely transportation, communications, and energy. For the first factor, achieving this goal will involve not only consolidating existing roads and developing new paved and dirt roads, but also promoting rail and improving air transport. For the second factor, all available sources of energy will be developed, namely water, coal, solar, wind, fuel, and nuclear power within a regional context. Completion of the Kandadji hydroelectric dam and the mining and processing of coal from Salkadamna are part of this approach.

    The development of infrastructures will be one of the solid foundations for generating growth and will increase the appeal of developing our underground resources so as to achieve the break-even point on certain deposits that cannot currently be developed on a profitable basis. Other resources, including iron, phosphates, and marble, can be added to the uranium, gold, coal, cement, and petroleum that are already being developed. Niger has abundant underground resources that must be developed in the interest of both current and future generations.

    This will thus mean attracting, guiding, and shaping investments toward the development of natural wealth that is shared and profitable for all, based on win-win ratios.

  10. Young people are integrated in the economic cycle, particularly through the development of jobs generated by economic growth and young people’s access to these jobs, the pursuit of entrepreneurship among young people, development of general, technical, and vocational educational quality, and development of the teacher’s role within society.

    Young people (graduates for whom school has been followed by unemployment, and untrained rural and urban youth who are idle and may thus be easily led astray) represent a major resource for the future of Niger. In addition, besides improved education, they will be provided with specific tools to develop their full potential.

  11. The level of social development is significantly improved, particularly by ensuring that the population has better access to basic social services and by implementing a social protection policy that includes an appropriate action plan targeting the most vulnerable populations.

    Access to education, health, and safe drinking water are priorities. Education will be free and compulsory up to the age of sixteen (16). Vocational and technical education will be given priority and developed. The government will ensure that school, as the fundamental social basis for development, and a means for fulfilling aspirations par excellence, makes an effective contribution to equal opportunity and reduced inequalities based on gender. It will also ensure that the pressure of demand due to excessive and sustained population growth is reduced.

    Actions will be undertaken in response to the demand for health and improved access to health care.

    To improve access to safe drinking water, the existing infrastructures will be rehabilitated and new requirements will gradually be met by developing new infrastructures.

    Such initiatives will also involve reducing poverty among women and the disabled, by promoting their inclusion in economic life and improving urban living conditions for them.

2.2 Strategic Guidelines of the PDES

Five strategic pillars are identified for addressing the challenges and issues of economic and social development. They are: (i) improvement of the credibility and effectiveness of public institutions; (ii) the conditions for the sustainability of balanced and inclusive development; (iii) food security and sustainable agricultural development; (iv) promotion of a competitive and diversified economy for accelerated and inclusive growth; and (v) promotion of social development.

These strategic pillars are complementary and interdependent. They form a consistent whole the realization of which should allow Niger to meet the objectives and results sought by Niger’s Renaissance Program and the government’s General Policy Statement, as shown below.

Figure 3:
Figure 3:

Strategic results and pillars of the PDES 2012-2015

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2013, 105; 10.5089/9781484315286.002.A001

1.1 Management of development is facilitated1.2 Equity and citizen equality with respect to public services are guaranteed1.3 Democratic and republican institutions are credible2.1 Citizens’ aspirations to security are satisfied2.2 The levers of demographic growth are controlled2.3 Environmental resources are preserved and managed sustainably2.4 Intra- and inter-regional disparities are mitigated3.1 Nigeriens sustainably ensure their food and nutritional security4.1 Economic growth is sustainable and diversified4.2 Young people are integrated in economic life5.1 The level of social development is significantly improvedCenter: Population’s standard of living is significantly improved
Table 5:

PDES consistency with the Renaissance Program and the DPG

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Analysis of consistency among the strategic pillars of the PDES

Based on the constraints and challenges identified in the context of work done on the sectoral diagnostic assessments, the five pillars proposed reflect, on the whole, the principal dimensions of human development (social, economic, environmental, and governance-related). They are intertwined to address the challenges of multi-sectoral sustainable development.

The first strategic pillar seeks to promote improvement of the credibility and effectiveness of public institutions. This pillar, which is cross-cutting in scope, contributes to the achievement of strategic results under the other four strategic pillars of the PDES. For this pillar, the PDES targets the following specific objectives: (i) improved management of public finances; (ii) strengthened steering of the economy; (iii) consolidated democratic and civilian institutions; (iv) promotion of justice and human rights; (v) local governance and decentralization; and (vi) effective and modernized government administration.

The second strategic pillar focuses on establishing the conditions for sustainability of balanced and inclusive development. This pillar, which is also cross-cutting in scope, is a precondition to achievement of strategic results under the other four strategic pillars of the PDES. In effect, the targeted objectives relate to the fact that no sustainable, balanced, and inclusive development is possible without developing strategies in the areas of human security, territorial defense, respect and promotion for human rights, consolidation of national unity, prevention and management of humanitarian crises, and adaptation between social demand and supply to take the constraint of limited resources into account. The following objectives are pursued: (i) guaranteed citizen security and national unity; (ii) better control of demographic growth; (iii) control of the sustainable management of the environment and the effects of climate change; and (iv) balanced regional development.

The third strategic pillar focuses on promoting of food security and sustainable agricultural development. Considering the relative importance of the rural sector in the economic system, revival of that sector is such that it contributes to the achievement of job-creating economic growth. Moreover, specific consideration given to the population’s resilience37 contributes to the sustainability and inclusive nature of development as well as the promotion of social development (pillars 1 and 5). The strategic results correspond to the intervention pillars of the 3N Initiative. This means: (i) growth and diversification of agricultural, forestry, livestock and fisheries production; (ii) regular provisioning of rural and urban markets with agricultural, forestry, livestock and fisheries products; (iii) improved resilience of vulnerable groups to climate change, food crises, and natural disasters; (iv) improved nutritional status of Nigeriens; and (v) organization and coordination of the 3N Initiative.

The fourth strategic pillar seeks to promote a competitive and diversified economy for accelerated and inclusive growth. The aim is to increase national wealth and citizens’ buying power, to develop growth potential to create gainful employment, particularly for young people, in the sectors that drive economic growth such as agroindustry, the environment, the mining sector, particularly through their potential knock-on effects on other areas such as services, while promoting entrepreneurship among young people. The inclusive nature of growth will allow all to participate in the creation of added value and to share in the fruits of growth in a fair and equitable way. The strategic results focus on; (i) promotion of the business climate, particularly to create conditions for promoting investments and developing services, factors in the sustainability of development; (ii) development of transportation and communication infrastructures; (iii) development of productive sectors (other than the agricultural, forestry, livestock sector) such as industry, BPW, or mines; and (iv) the economic integration of young people.

The fifth economic pillar focuses on the promotion of social development. It has been broken down into 12 strategic results as follows: (i) promoting health through efficient implementation of the PDS; (ii) development of the educational system at all levels of instruction, including technical and vocational education; (iii) implementation of the social protection policy adopted by the government in 2011; (iv) pursuit of efforts to combat inequalities and strengthen gender equity; (v) promotion of a healthy standard of living; (vi) improved access to safe drinking water and sanitation; (vii) development of the practice of sports for individual health and professionalization of the sector; (viii) development of arts and cultural assets; (ix) promotion of tourism activities; (x) development of young people through implementation of the priority actions of the youth sector development strategy; (xi) intensification of efforts to eradicate STIs/HIV/AIDS; and (xii) protecting children against violence, exploitation, and abuse by implementing the framework document and its action plan. This demonstrates the cross-cutting nature of this strategic pillar and its links to strategic pillars 2, 3, and 4 of the PDES.

Table 6:

Strategic Pillars and Results of the PDES

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2.2.1 Pillar 1: Improving the credibility and effectiveness of public institutions

Accelerated growth and sustainable development can only be achieved if institutions are established that guarantee political stability and respect for property rights and contracts so that individuals are encouraged to invest and participate in economic life. The implementation of various democratic reforms and adoption of the Constitution of the Seventh Republic have allowed Niger to lay the foundations for democratic renewal, help calm the political situation, and consolidate the stability of the Republic’s institutions.

The implementation of development policies (macroeconomic and sectoral) is based on a certain number of guiding principles, particularly a democratic foundation, a participatory approach, decentralization, transparency in management through accountability, and the duty to report.

These guiding principles are based on the mechanisms, relations, and institutions by means of which citizens and social groups express their interests, exercise their rights, and shoulder their obligations and to which they go to settle their disputes. This pillar covers the components of good political, legal, economic, administrative, and local government in particular, the consolidation of constitutional institutions, justice and human rights, rational and transparent management of public finances, the steering of the economy, the effectiveness of public administration, and the management of communities.

The credibility of the Republic’s institutions will be ensured by: (i) normal operation of the bodies established by the Constitution; (ii) respect for the rule of law and democratic rules of play and a mechanism for improved operation of state institutions; and (iii) better dialogue and collaboration with civil society actors.

Economic governance seeks to reestablish efficient public financial management and public policy planning and coordination instruments through which it will be possible to reconcile the implementation of development objectives and the improvement of domestic resources. The reform of public finance management will be implemented particularly through: (i) improvement of the legal framework; (ii) increased capacities for mobilizing resources; (iii) improvement in the preparation and methods for executing the government’s budget; (iv) regular accounting and financial reporting; (v) development of information systems; (vi) improved control and transparency of government finances; (vii) enhanced cash and debt management; and (viii) improvement of the public procurement and management system.

The coordination of development actions will be provided for and improved by enhancing the consistency of planning and budgeting instruments and improving the quality of instruments for coordinating and monitoring/evaluating public policies.

The objective of local governance is to strengthen local governments’ ability to ensure sustainable and balanced development in accordance with national decentralization policy and the provisions of the local government code.

In the area of administrative governance, the objective is to improve the quality and performance of public services by developing appropriate management and monitoring tools and instruments and effectively improving administrative operations. Moreover, particular attention will be paid to ensuring the effective decentralization of government services in coordination with local governments. For civil service employees in particular, this involves bringing about a profound change of attitude so they can provide public services to citizens more effectively. In addition, in its relationships with individuals and private institutions, the administration should act as the facilitator and provider of all services that can be expected of a modern, accessible, and responsible administration.

In the area of legal and judicial governance, the objective is to improve the operations of the legal and judicial system by instilling morality in the judicial sector, optimizing the existing legal and judicial apparatus, and modernizing the frameworks for the intervention and operation of justice.

2.2.2 Pillar 2: Creation of the conditions for sustainable, balanced, and inclusive development

The sustainable management of development requires assigning high priority to the nation’s security and defense, national unity and consolidation of the peace, the control of demographic growth, the management of environmental resources and adaptation to climate change, as well as to inter- and intra-regional development.

Securing the integrity of the country and the security of its citizens and property constitute the central objective of national defense and security (a vital prerequisite for implementing development policies). To achieve this, a policy of increased national security will be implemented and resources will be deployed to reduce instability and insecurity. There are also plans to establish preferential relationships with neighboring countries, to strengthen cooperation with friendly countries, and to help define a common security policy for the countries of the Sahel-Saharan zone.

To this end, the government has formulated and adopted a Security and Development Strategy in the Sahel-Saharan zones revolving around the following pillars: (i) strengthened security of persons and property; (ii) population’s access to economic opportunities; (iii) population’s access to basic social services; (iv) strengthened local governance; and (v) socioeconomic integration of returnees.

National unity has been sorely tested by armed rebellions affecting the northern and eastern portions of the country. Other types of threats also weigh on the country, particularly armed conflicts between communities, threats from criminal organizations involved in trafficking drugs, weapons, and cigarettes, armed robbery, highway robbery, and threats from terrorist groups, particularly those based in neighboring countries. Rebellions have had traumatic effects on the population and the aftermath continues to disrupt the development of affected areas. Promoting a culture of peace within the various national communities is thus a transition required for effective renewal of the national development process.

Given these varied threats, the option is to strengthen the ability of the Defense and Security Forces to combat the proliferation of firearms, armed banditry, and cattle rustling on the one hand, and to raise awareness and intensify actions to prevent and dissuade in areas potentially exposed to various threats and other inter-community disputes between herders and farmers on the other.

Population issues are very important in economic development. They will be addressed by controlling demographic growth and strengthening stakeholders’ ability to take demographic data into account in development policies, plans, and programs. The overall objective is to produce an attitude and behaviors suitable for encouraging population groups to significantly increase their use of contraception and reduce the number of early marriages. With these behavioral changes, it will be possible to trigger a gradual slowdown in the country’s demographic growth, to slow down social demand, and thus to facilitate generalized access to economic and social development.

In terms of the environment, the principal challenge is to break with inappropriate utilization of resources and to ensure that measures designed to accompany the country’s development do not compromise the needs of future generations. To this end, appropriate measures will be taken with regard to various aspects of the environment.

First of all, this will mean finding alternatives to using wood as a source of energy so as to mitigate losses of forest resources. This could also be of benefit in improving agricultural and livestock production systems. Projected improvements should offset the fragility of agricultural ecosystems covering seven million hectares currently under cultivation through methods that restore soil fertility, use less acreage, and produce less erosion from wind and water, and reduce desertification. Along the same lines, the pastoral area of the north and the lands reserved for pasture in agricultural areas should be used sustainably so as to save them from deterioration and desertification.

By preserving and mobilizing significant runoff, surface, and underground water, it will be possible to ensure successful agricultural, forestry, and livestock production and provide population groups with safe drinking water.

Preserving the biological diversity of flora and fauna and protecting the real wealth of genetic resources should help to improve agricultural, forestry, and livestock resources, both through strong awareness-building efforts on the national level and in the context of international scientific and technological cooperation.

Strengthening measures for adapting to climate change should, particularly through the development and transfer of non-polluting and environmentally friendly technologies, ensure increased capacities for gathering, processing, and disseminating data, and carrying out actions in the area of information, awareness-building, and education of the population on the dimensions of climate change.

Implementing a balanced regional and local development policy and establishing a true land management policy as the geographic expression of the country’s economic, social, cultural, and environmental policies will be conditions for strong, sustainable, and inclusive growth. In effect, this means organizing land use, ensuring consistency in the installation of large infrastructure projects, public equipment, and metropolitan areas. This determines long-term spatial management by ensuring the intra- and inter-regional balance of development activities and levels.

These policies should be based on three guiding and closely linked principles of intervention as follows: (i) economic and social development through a land management policy that contributes to food security by developing economic activities organized on an integrated basis; (ii) national integration seeking to reduce inter- and intra-regional disparities on the one hand and disparities between urban and rural areas on the other; (iii) the preservation and utilization of natural resources for sustainable management of the natural environment, i.e., the continuing search for a compromise between present and future generations in the development of environmental resources.

2.2.3 Pillar 3: Food security and sustainable agricultural development

Despite significant resources invested in the rural development sector, shortages of food products persist and subject population groups to food insecurity. To reverse this trend, the authorities of the Seventh Republic decided to implement the 3N Initiative, Nigeriens Nourishing Nigeriens.

The initiative expresses the collective belief that with its assets and the development opportunities they offer to the country, Niger is able to meet current and future food and nutritional security challenges, begin to truly modernize its systems of production, and allow its agricultural sector to play a major role in economic growth. It is addressing the root causes of food and nutritional insecurity, while proposing suitable responses to the emergency situations and economically precarious conditions that a significant segment of the population could face. The 3N Initiative specifically focuses on the efforts needed to improve the nutritional status of vulnerable groups. This improvement, besides consumption, depends to a large extent on eating habits and practices of care at the family and community level.

The Initiative’s objective is to “strengthen national food production capacities, provisioning, and resilience in the face of food crises and natural disasters.” It involves ensuring sufficient amounts and quality of food for all Nigeriens based essentially on local production, a national and regional agricultural market, and on households’ ability to be resilient in food crisis and disaster situations. Four strategic pillars were identified for achieving the I3N objective: (i) growth and diversification of agricultural, forestry, livestock, and fisheries production; (ii) regular provisioning of rural and urban markets with agricultural and food products; (iii) population groups’ improved resilience in the face of climate change, crises, and disasters; and (iv) improved nutritional status.

The 3N Initiative: Nigeriens Nourishing Nigeriens

The 3N Initiative (I3N) is a coherent set of regulatory measures and investment actions to be implemented over the short, medium, and long term. They should allow Niger to make a qualitative leap in terms of governance, in terms of investments for the rural development sector, and in terms of local agri-food and agricultural, forestry, and livestock product trade sectors. With these investments, it will be possible to bring the supply of agricultural and agri-food products in line with ever-increasing and increasingly urgent demands for product quality.

The initiative contributes to the effective exercise of the right to food as recognized by Article 12 of the Constitution of the Seventh Republic of Niger. The I3N initiative is part of the process of implementing the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), the ECOWAS common agricultural policy (ECOWAP), and the WAEMU agricultural policy (WAP) and will allow the country to speed up its achievement of the MDGs, particularly MDG1 (eradicate extreme poverty and hunger) and MDG7 (ensure environmental sustainability), while taking into account the challenges involved in controlling demographic pressure and adapting to climate change.

The I3N proposes to promote models of agricultural intensification and sustainable natural resource management that will make it possible to increase the availability of animal products and by-products (meat, milk, eggs, leather, and skins), widely-consumed food products (grains, vegetables, tubers), and/or high added value products. This means better utilization of the assets and comparative advantages of the agricultural and rural sectors while integrating them in the national, or world, economy and preserving productive capital.

The guiding principles of I3N intervention are: (i) targeting of actions and support at the level of towns, agricultural villages, and family farms; (ii) consideration of gender and specific groups in all actions; (iii) targeting to optimize investments; (iv) sustainability of the productive base through promotion of sustainable practices for the use of natural resources and adaptation to climate change; (v) mobilization and accountability of all stakeholder groups, at all stages in the process of design and implementation, with attention to farmers’ organizations, women, and youth.

Actions could be financed through: (i) conventional public financing systems (government budget, local budgets, official development assistance, common funds, support or grant funds, etc.) or private financing systems (bank loans, microfinance loans, contributions from communities, farmers’ organizations, civil society, companies, etc.) and (ii) new financing approaches such as the Investment Fund for Food and Nutritional Security and public-private partnerships.

2.2.4 Pillar 4: Competitive and diversified economy for accelerated and inclusive growth

Given its enormous potential in terms of resources, particularly human, water, and mining resources, Niger is in a position to avoid enduring the extreme volatility of its production and its quasi-exclusive dependence on rainfall variations in the implementation of its economic policy.

To reverse this trend, the PDES sets itself the objective of creating the conditions for normal economic growth averaging at least seven percent and an average inflation rate of no more than three percent over the period. In addition, household consumption will be supported by an appropriate income policy. Measures will be taken to substantially increase the effectiveness of public spending and domestic and external resources.

With a broad program of structural public investments (Kandadji hydroelectric dam, gas-fired power station, roads, rail, etc.), it will be possible to stimulate growth, structure the national productive apparatus, and reduce the country’s isolation.

This growth should facilitate the creation of decent modern-sector jobs.

The guidelines for this pillar relate to improving the business climate, developing external relations, improving the competitiveness of economic sectors, and developing young people’s participation in economic activity.

Improving the business climate requires simplifying the regulatory framework applicable to business, improving the legal and judicial system, facilitating access to financing by revising the role and activity of banks, and facilitating and encouraging the creation and development of micro, small, and medium enterprise. In addition, measures encouraging the private sector will be implemented to facilitate the emergence of a dynamic private economic framework, such as facilitating business creation and administrative routines in general, granting targeted incentives for entrepreneurs, and reducing abnormally high costs.

Improving the quality and maintenance of hydraulic, electrical, highway, and communication infrastructures will help to improve the business climate and the competitiveness of productive units.

With respect to external relations, it is important to capitalize on regional integration with the WAEMU and ECOWAS countries, particularly in terms of export development. This also means seizing opportunities for trade with areas outside these communities.

It will also mean strengthening the institutional and organizational framework of industrial, energy, petroleum, and mining activities, reducing production costs in industry, increasing the promotion of national energy and oil resources, integrating the mining sector into the national economy, and developing small-scale mining operations.

With regard to the transportation sector, the guidelines seek to develop investments in air transport, bring airports up to standard, strengthen the monitoring of air transport services, strengthen administrative capacities in transportation, improve the quality of land transportation through road safety, renewal of the fleet, and professionalization of the sector, extend and improve the road network, and introduce rail transport.

In the tourism sector, this means ensuring better knowledge of tourism assets by strengthening tools for communication and promoting local, regional, and national destinations, encouraging investments in tourism, and maximizing and equitably distributing the economic benefits of tourism.

For the artisanal trades, this means developing artisanal products, developing trade channels, and supporting the search for new markets.

For inclusive growth, the objective of the national youth policy is to promote the economic integration of young people and their full participation in economic activities and to include the youth component in all sectoral programs and policies.

2.2.5 Pillar 5: Promotion of social development

In order to build on gains made in the area of social development, particular attention will be paid to the points below in an effort to improve access to basic social services, particularly through rational utilization of domestic financial resources.

In the area of social protection, the objective is to reduce the vulnerability of the population and disadvantaged groups in particular. To do this, social safety nets must be expanded to include all levels.

For education, teaching, and vocational and technical training, the objective is to qualitatively and quantitatively develop the supply of education, to adapt training to labor market demand, and to promote the use of results from scientific research and technological innovation.

In the area of water and sanitation, the objective is to improve the supply of drinking water, hygiene, and sanitation services in local communities and to promote changed behavior at the individual and community level.

In the area of public health, the objective is to provide quality care and services to the population, particularly vulnerable groups, while adhering to international standards by: (i) expanding health coverage; (ii) developing reproductive health services; (iii) staffing health facilities with skilled and motivated human resources based on need; (iv) providing continuous access to medications, vaccines, consumables, food and treatment inputs, reagents, blood, and derivatives; (v) intensifying efforts to combat diseases subject to integrated surveillance; (vi) strengthening governance and ethics at all levels of the health system; (vii) developing health sector financing mechanisms; (viii) promoting research in health; and (ix) promoting health at the community level.

Improving the population’s standard of living means promoting a spatial planning policy along with urban and rural development plans, preparing master plans for management of basic urban services (transportation, drainage, solid waste), and supporting local governments in the collection of household waste.

To promote gender equality and equity and human rights, the objective is to build, with all stakeholders, a non-discriminatory society where men and women, boys and girls, have the same opportunities to participate in development and enjoy the benefits of growth. This objective will be achieved by: (i) equitable promotion of the situation and social position of men and women within the family and in the community; (ii) equitable promotion of the potential and status of women and men within the household economy, particularly through the development of a strategy giving women access to financing; (iii) strengthening the effective enforcement of the rights of women, girls, and the disabled; (iv) combating gender-based violence; and (v) equitable participation by men and women in the management of power; and (vi) strengthening the institutional framework’s intervention capacities with respect to government structures, civil society, and the private sector.

With respect to human rights, the objective is to guarantee legal equity by ensuring the full enjoyment of human rights.

The objective of implementing the national youth policy is to promote young people’s integration in social life by developing adapted education and supporting socioeconomic integration initiatives.

Chapter 3. Sectoral Strategies and Programs

Based on an analysis of the development strategies implemented over the past two decades, and taking into account the cross-cutting issues critical to its development, Niger has embarked on a new development strategy focusing on accelerated growth and the promotion of sustainable development. This strategy, based on the Niger Renaissance Program, is defined in the current Economic and Social Development Plan [PDES]. The Plan is centered on the harmonious coordination of development efforts, to harness all of the country’s areas of potential for the benefit of the entire population, and to ensure participation of all stakeholders in national development.

As the PDES is the frame of reference for all development activities, it is the sectoral policies that will ensure that its pillars are operational, and the following strategic guidelines are developed with that aim in view.

3.1. General Economic Prospects

The macroeconomic outlook is an important frame of reference that shows how the different economic equilibria will be jointly achieved. It is also a summary of the different investment programs and the reforms and measures recommended in the medium or short term. Thus it provides a framework to ensure that economic policy initiatives are consistent.

In order to take both internal and external risk factors into account, three macroeconomic framework scenarios have been prepared. The three scenarios are based on a proactive government policy, which is geared to implementing all of the measures and reforms described in the action programs and which aspires to maximizing investment, by giving a strong boost to public investment so that it can serve as an incentive for private investment. The scenarios are primarily based on assumptions regarding risk factors that do not depend on government decisions, such as climate risks and natural disasters, and risks linked to the international and regional situation, hence to risks related to financing of the PDES. Whichever scenario plays out, the government will take the appropriate steps to deal with these exogenous factors of the internal and external environment, as well as other risks described in Chapter 4, by anticipating strategies to mitigate them.

Thus, aside from the baseline scenario that assumes a prolongation of recent trends in climate conditions and in global and regional economic conditions, a more optimistic scenario in certain areas and a pessimistic or low-growth scenario have also been developed.

The macroeconomic framework (baseline scenario) is predicated on favorable growth prospects.

Launching oil exports will lead to strong growth in 2012, as high as 11.6 percent. Growth in 2013-15 will be sustained by investments in the new uranium mines, the upswing in uranium production and exports, and development of the oil sector.

Table 7.

Growth Scenarios

(in percentages)

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Export forecasts for these two products during the period covered by the Plan show that exports more than double during the four years of the PDES (from CFAF 605 billion en 2011 to CFAF 1,248 billion in 2015), as illustrated in the following graph:

Figure 4.
Figure 4.

Estimated exports: 2011-2015

(in billions of CFAF)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2013, 105; 10.5089/9781484315286.002.A001

Moreover, the proactive policy announced by the PDES will be put into action through the planned increase in investment spending, which will rise from 7 percent of GDP in 2011 to 26 percent of GDP in 2015, and an average of 20.4 percent of GDP over the span of the Plan. This increase in public investment will be accompanied by incentives and reforms in the government and public services. Other measures related to an improved business climate will encourage private national and foreign investors, and lead to a significant hike in investment (GFCF). It should grow from 30 percent of GDP prior to 2010 to 44.7 percent by 2015. The following table shows the development of public and private investment rates during the period covered by the Plan.

Table 8.

Change in investment rates by economic agent from 2012 to 2015

(as a percentage of GDP)

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This proactive policy will also be reflected in implementation of all of the reforms and measures programmed for the four-year period in all sectors. This process is also expected to be replicated in the internal and external financial frameworks developed.

Thus, the 2012-2015 Economic and Social Development Plan is designed to boost the growth rate of the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to approximately 8 percent a year on average, and to maintain the public deficit and the external current deficit at tolerable levels.

This growth of GDP will also have a positive effect on the standard of living, as evaluated by the volume of per capita consumption, which is expected to improve by an average 5 percent a year, and on investment in the social sectors.

3.1.1. Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

An evaluation of economic growth shows that the average annual rate of growth in the real economy was nearly 3.8 percent from 2000 to 2010. One of the objectives of the PDES is to considerably raise the real GDP growth rate.

The sectors considered to lead growth during the 4-year plan are extractive industries (petroleum and uranium), agriculture, forestry, and livestock production, and tertiary sectors, especially trade and transportation, which will be expected to respond to the needs that will be generated by the growth of the first two sectors.

Economic growth will therefore be sustained by the advancement of the primary sector, at an annual average of 7.4 percent. This will result from an increase in irrigated land, a rise of farm yields due to introduction of new seed varieties adapted to the effects of climate change and drought, and innovative production techniques, as well more effective investments in crops and livestock production. It will also stem from the predicted development of forestry during the period of the Plan. This growth of the primary sector is supported by the expected performance of the programs implemented under the 3N Initiative, which should make this sector one of the major sources of growth in the coming years.

It is the secondary sector that will be the driving force of the dynamic economy, with a growth rate predicted to average 12.5 percent a year. This performance will rely on the growth of exports, especially from extractive industries. The added value of this sector will grow at an average annual rate of more than 20 percent. Other subsectors, such as manufacturing and processing industries, energy, and construction and public works, while not the engines of the expected growth, will also contribute to it to a lesser extent, especially as a result of the spill-over effect of oil refining operations. In this scenario, the renewed activity would benefit from an average annual growth rate of 3 percent for processing industries, and the agrifood industry in particular. Moreover, the electric power sector is expected to record an annual average growth rate of 5.5 percent, while the construction and public works sector would advance at an impressive average annual rate of 9 percent during the Plan. These conditions would make it possible for needs to be met by the sharp rise in investments expected over the period covered by the Plan.

As for the tertiary sector, its added value would grow by nearly 7 percent per year on average during the 2012-2015 period, with market services estimated at 8 percent, dominated by transportation and communications, and the trade sector. Nonmarket services of the general government would grow by as much as 10 percent, with the scheduled rise in public investment and the major infrastructure projects in the pipeline.

The trade and transportation branches will accompany the strong performance of the other productive sectors, which will need them to support their production processes. The growth of these branches will also be stimulated by the road construction program and the opening of access to various communes stipulated in the Plan.

The informal sector will continue to play a considerable role in achieving the expected growth objectives. In fact, its importance is clearly seen in its share of the gross domestic product, estimated to average 68 percent over the 2007-2011 period.38 This sector will achieve an annual average growth of nearly 7.5 percent during the Plan.

Table 9.

Gross Domestic Product

(in billions of CFAF and as a percentage)

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3.1.2. Uses of the GDP

This dynamic growth process will be driven by stepped-up investment and the expected increase in domestic savings. During the period covered by the Plan, the gross fixed capital formation is estimated to attain about CFAF 6,760 billion, rising from nearly CFAF 1,130 billion to approximately 2,067 billion in 2015, or an average annual investment of close to CFAF 1,720 billion, for an average growth rate of 21 percent a year. This increase in investment is attributed to investment programs for new uranium deposits and capital applied to oil operations, forecast for the first two years of the Plan. The government, the private sector, and households will participate in this effort.

Domestic savings should increase annually by about 12.5 percent on average between 2012 and 2015, as a result of both an increase of its share in GDP from 10 percent in 2011 to 14.9 percent in 2015 and from the sharp rise of the GDP. The objective of strong and inclusive growth is one way of bringing about an overall improvement in the standard of living. Thus the volume of private consumption is expected to achieve an annual average growth rate of nearly 8.5 percent during the years of the Plan. Per capita consumption in constant prices will rise by about 5 percent between 2011 and 2015.

Moreover, one of the objectives of the PDES is an improvement in the standard of living by reducing inequalities and the growth of the middle class. This class is in fact regarded as the most active part of the population in terms of available skilled labor and increased domestic demand, in particular household consumption.

In Niger, this segment accounts for only 30 percent of the entire population, defined as the population that is neither poor nor belongs to the wealthiest segment of society (usually defined as the richest 10 percent). The middle class is not considered as an adequate basis for economic policies built on domestic demand. This situation is also a reflection of the inequalities prevalent in the country’s economy, encountered also in patterns of consumption.

According to a budget-consumption survey, the concentration of household consumption was 37 percent in 2008, as measured by the Gini coefficient. This concentration is clearer in urban areas, where the consumption ratio between the wealthiest 10 percent and the poorest 10 percent is 6.3 as compared to 3.7 in rural areas. However, the inequality between urban and rural areas is equally large: a poverty rate of 62 percent in rural areas in contrast to 38 percent in urban settings.

Thus, efforts are planned to lessen inequalities and increase the weight of the middle class to around 50 percent by 2015. Although this objective falls short of the corresponding MDG (30 percent poverty reduction by 2015), it nonetheless reflects substantial progress, in comparison with figures recorded in previous years.

To accomplish this, the Plan’s action program includes measures, reforms, and public investment programs in line with this objective. Thus, the food security and sustainable agricultural development pillar comprises 11 programs accounting for 15.6 percent of the total cost of the PDES. Measures to improve targeting of the poor for subsidies and transfers, as well as social development programs and activities, will also play an active role in achieving this objective.

An improvement in the standard of living of the population will also be achieved through a rigorous price policy. The objective is to limit inflation to 2.6 percent per year on average for the duration of the Plan. An improvement in fundamental financial, budget and external equilibria and adoption of a prudent monetary policy by the BCEAO will help to attain this objective.

These inflation control measures should also protect the people’s purchasing power and the competitiveness of the national economy in international markets.

The role of foreign trade in the country’s economic and social development strategy is critical. Export promotion and development of the leading economic sectors will be determining factors in achieving the objective of putting the national economy on track for strong growth from 2012 to 2015.

Exports of goods will grow by 28 percent a year on average over the period of the Plan, and by over 42 percent in 2012. This growth is attributed to oil exports and to the sharp rise in uranium exports following the recent mining of new deposits.

At the same time, imports of goods would increase by an annual average of 12.5 percent, in step with purchases of capital goods and intermediate goods, which should accompany the acceleration in investments.

The GDP supply-use balance would receive strong support from nonfactor services estimated in net terms at nearly CFAF 3,030 billion during the period covered by the Plan, or an average annual amount of CFAF 760 billion (20 percent of GDP). This strengthens GDP resources and makes it possible to maintain high levels of consumption and investment over the period.

Table 10.

Changes in the trade balance and the balance of non-factor services from 2011 to 2015

(in billions of CFAF)

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Table 11.

Balance between supply and use

(as a percentage of GDP)

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3.1.3 Money and credit

During the period covered by the Plan, the financial sector should play an increasing role in improving the business climate. The growth of the money supply should respond to both the financing needs of the economy and the need to control inflation.

Thus, the money supply would grow overall by 28.2 percent a year during the Plan, from CFAF 602.5 billion in 2011 to CFAF 1,212 billion in 2015. This trend will reflect a consolidation of net foreign assets, which will rise at an annual average of 2.7 percent between 2011 and 2015, from CFAF 255 billion to CFAF 304.4 billion. It will also reflect an annual average increase of 34 percent in credits to the economy, from CFAF 404 billion in 2011 to CFAF 960 billion in 2015. On the other hand, net claims on the treasury would decline. The two issues in June 2011 of CFAF 34.5 billion and CFAF 25 billion in December 2011 and use of public deposits in 2012 partially explain the trends in the net government position between 2011 and 2012.

Table 12.

Money supply counterparts

(in billions of CFAF)

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The expected increase in credits to the economy responds to the need for financing local investments, which should grow at an average annual rate of 20 percent, and to the rate of creation of activities in the modern sector and the relative shrinking of the informal sector in the national economy. Control over the recommended monetary increase should be continuous and measured, in order to keep inflation within the limits of WAEMU’s convergence criteria.

3.1.4. Government finance

Under the Plan, government finance will help build public investment and keep the budget deficit at a sustainable level, while ensuring attainment of development goals.

To achieve this, the tax burden is expected to rise, from 13.3 percent (excluding exemptions) in 2010 to 18 percent in 2015, thanks to the implementation of a certain number of measures, such as simplification of the tax system, making it more transparent and equitable, and revision of the incentive system. The tax base will be expanded, and efforts will be made to improve collection of taxes and assessments.

Reforms initiated in 2011 and scheduled to be completed by 2013 will provide for the following: i) tighter controls by increasing the number of audits of mineral and petroleum companies; ii) increased control of tax exemptions; iii) establish and increase the level of penalties for tax fraud; iv) development of ex-post controls; v) assignment of tax identification numbers to importers and economic operators; and vi) revision of the investment code to review and eliminate exemptions.

The ratio of total receipts to GDP will rise from 13.2 percent in 2011 to nearly 19 percent during the period covered by the Plan.

Table 13.

Change in recurrent revenue

(in billions of CFAF and as a % of GDP)

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At the same time, emphasis will be placed on the quality of government expenditure, with the rationalization of recurrent expenditures, to be kept below 15.0% of GDP, and with control of interest on the external debt, by debt restructuring and management.

Moreover, between 2012 and 2015, subsidies and transfers will increase by an annual average of 8.6 percent, from nearly CFAF 114 billion in 2012 to more than CFAF 198 billion in 2015, along with better targeting of the most vulnerable population groups and measures to assist them.

Overall, the total treasury budget deficit would amount to around CFAF 884 billion by 2015, or 19.1 percent of GDP.

Table 14.

Change in government expenditure

(in billions of CFAF)

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(*) Including grants for budget financing or for financing projects and loans, and redemption and cancellation of the debt (including debt currently under discussion).

3.1.5. Balance of payments

The current balance of payments deficit is expected to be 30 percent of GDP in 2015, thus reflecting a considerable deterioration from its 2011 level of 22.7 percent. This outcome can essentially be attributed to the need to import capital goods, at a rate expected to increase by over 20 percent, leading to a 12.5 percent rise in imports. Moreover, imports of nonfactor services will experience a net rise of 44 percent a year between 2011 and 2015. The trade deficit, however, will decline from 15 percent of GDP in 2011 to 6.7 percent in 2015, due to the new oil and gas exports and the increase in uranium exports. As a result, exports of goods at nominal value will shoot up by 112 percent from 2011 to 2015.

Table 15.

Balance of payments

(in billions of CFAF)

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The current balance of payments deficit will be partly covered by private foreign resources. Foreign direct investment (FDI) will be an important component of this coverage, rising to CFAF 1,425 billion during the Plan, driven by the public-private partnership law (PPP), in particular.

This objective in terms of FDI will be achieved as a result of Niger’s real areas of potential (natural resources in particular), and inflation control and financial equilibrium policies to be pursued by the government, as well as by implementing incentives to promote the business climate and the private sector. The advance of FDI should be encouraged by this situation, and make it possible to create production and processing units in the agricultural-forest-livestock sector in a context conducive to strengthening public-private partnerships. This should thus contribute to the investment effort that the country should make to accelerate economic growth.

3.1.6. Alternative growth scenarios

The government will give priority to achieving a high growth scenario. 2012 estimates still confirm the realization of this scenario and allow for a forecast of 9.7 percent growth on average over the four-year period. Economic trend analyses and monitoring-evaluation studies to be conducted during the period will show whether the national economy is still on a high growth path or whether the baseline or low-growth scenarios should be considered instead.

More than the other two scenarios, the high-growth scenario will give government authorities an opportunity to implement their proactive policy under the PDES. If the recommended measures and reforms are implemented independently of the scenarios, the prospects for financing and implementing public investment projects will be improved. The capacity for making public investment will be greater if domestic and external financial balances are maintained, along with viable debt conditions.

In this scenario, the investment rate (GFCF/GDP) will evolve according to the baseline scenario, rising from 37.6 percent in 2011 to 44.7 percent in 2015, for an annual average of 41.4 percent. Investments will soar to CFAF 2,204 billion by 2015, for an average annual growth of 23.8 percent, as compared to 20.7 percent under the baseline scenario. The average propensity to consume will decline to 85 percent in 2015, as compared to 90 percent in 2011. Final consumption will, however, register around a growth rate in the neighborhood of 12 percent, which implies an annual improvement in the standard of living of nearly 7 percent in terms of the increase in per capita consumption, as compared to 5 percent according to the baseline scenario.

Among the main implications of this scenario, the public finance deficit would rise to 19.4 percent in 2015, as opposed to 19.1 percent in the baseline scenario, and the current account deficit would be 28.6 percent of GDP, rather than 27.8 percent according to the baseline scenario. In the area of financing, this scenario shows an overall financing gap during the four years that is CFAF 105 billion more than under the baseline scenario.

This scenario, more than the others, relies on the government taking steps to increase the absorptive capacity of public investment, so that its weak capacity will not constrain its ability to achieve the objectives of this scenario. A plan for building human, material, and organizational capacities will be put in place and will support efforts to achieve the PDES.

The three scenarios are presented in detail in Annex 1.

The low-growth scenario

This scenario assumes a proactive government policy in an unfavorable environment that holds the possibility of frequent drought years during the period covered by the Plan, and an average annual growth rate for the primary sector of no more than 6.2 percent, instead of 8 percent under the baseline scenario, despite reform and investment efforts.

External demand will continue to be depressed, and this will limit external financing to the levels already recorded. As a result, external demand will lead to a weak export performance during the years covered by the Plan. The average growth of the secondary sector will be slightly affected, remaining below 10.9 percent, instead of the 11.5 percent forecast of the baseline scenario.

This scenario will also see reductions in consumption, savings, and investment, especially public investment, which will be squeezed by the combined effect of a drop in tax revenues and a drying up of financing sources. Thus, the implementation rate will be considerably below the rate achieved in the baseline scenario. There will also be repercussions on the level of domestic and external financial balances and inflation control.

However, the various measures and reforms announced in the Plan will be retained under this scenario. The GFCF/GDP ratio will experience the same changes as in the baseline scenario, as will the proactive approach of government, even during economic downturns.

Table 16.

Change in the principal macroeconomic indicators in the low-growth scenario

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The low-growth scenario thus reveals trade deficits, ranging from 15 percent in 2011 to 10 percent in 2015. This scenario places public investment expenditure at about CFAF 113 billion. Because of the difficulties in fulfilling the plan under this scenario (implementation rate estimated at 55 percent), this amount would correspond to a total budget of CFAF 5,660 billion for the years of the Plan. The budget would be CFAF 5,195 billion on the assumption that the implementation rate could increase to 60 percent.

High-growth scenario

The assumptions used for this optimistic or high-growth scenario are as follows: i) continued, adequate rainfall throughout the Plan. According to this projection, rains will be abundant and evenly distributed over space and time. There will not be any droughts or weather disasters to disrupt the crop cycles during this period; and ii) according to this scenario, the international economy is assumed to run smoothly, including the regional and European economies, which will favor both external demand and external financing of projects under the Plan.

On the basis of these two assumptions, an average annual growth rate of more than 9.7 percent will prevail during the period covered.

However, an overly rapid rise in investment, which would be brought on by both the 12 percent rise in GDP and the very high recommended levels of the GFCF/GDP ratio, could run up against absorption problems due to a shortage of productive and organizational capacities in the short run. In all three scenarios, but especially in this one, the government should take care to ensure that it has the human and material capacities needed to carry out all of the investments that will ensue in part from the promising economic situation.

This scenario will be marked by strong growth and high levels of consumption, savings, and investment. More specifically, public investment will be boosted by rising fiscal revenue and the availability of external financing, which will make it possible to complete a large proportion of the Plan’s projects, at rates in excess of those seen in the past. It is estimated that the implementation rate could be as high as 65 percent.

The capital expenditures of public finance will rise to CFAF 3,380 billion during the four years of the Plan; this represents a capital budget of CFAF 5,634 billion during this period.

In this scenario, strong growth and high levels of investment and consumption will be facilitated by a spike in imports. Despite the high growth, in 2015 there will be a trade deficit of CFAF 569 billion, as compared to 311 billion in the baseline scenario. This widening of the trade gap stems from the sharp rise in the GDP; this will lead to considerable increases in investment and consumption, which in turn create increased demand for imports. On the other hand, overall improvement in economic conditions will have only a slight impact on exports.

Table 17.

Change in the principal macroeconomic indicators in a high-growth scenario

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3.2. Pillar 1. Improving the Credibility and Effectiveness Of Public Institutions

Pillar No. 1 will make it possible to achieve the strategic results of ensuring that citizens have equitable and equal access to public services and that democratic and republican institutions have more credibility. To this end, a results-based culture needs to be instilled, as well as a culture of government accountability and responsibility vis-à-vis its citizens. This change will target six major areas: i) public financial management; ii) management of the economy; iii) the workings of constitutional institutions; iv) justice and human rights; v) local governance; and vi) improvement in the functioning of government.

3.2.1. Democratic and civilian institutions are credible

a. General guidelines:

The PDES will be based on strategic guidelines defined in the Renaissance Program on provisions contained in the Constitution of the 7th Republic of November 25, 2010. Essentially, they involve strengthening democracy and constitutional institutions to ensure establishment of the rule of law. In this regard, the short-term challenge is to complete efforts to put in place a constitutional structure and entities for national and political consultation and dialogue. Strengthening dialogue with civil society organization will be placed at the core of political governance, in an effort to facilitate greater participation in the process of democratic transparency and openness.

The policy implemented under the PDES framework is designed to achieve seven results to be achieved by implementing three programs:

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Priority programs and activities
Program for building the capacity of institutional stakeholders

This program targets i) training of the principal stakeholders of the three branches of government on their roles; ii) dissemination of constitutional principles among nongovernment stakeholders; and iii) building the capacity of the National Council for Political Dialogue (CNDP), the High Authority for Consolidation of Peace (HACP), the National Commission for Social Dialogue (CNDS), the Council of the Republic, the Economic, Social, and Cultural Council (CESOC), and the Office of Ombudsman [Mediature].

Program for strengthening dialogue among stakeholders in constitutional life

It will provide for the creation of a consultation framework, and in particular a framework for dialogue with civil society on public policy management. Moreover, public information campaigns will be organized to widely disseminate i) the constitutional principles of separation of powers; ii) the day-to-day operations of institutions; and iii) the results of consultation forums between government stakeholders and civil society.

Program for increasing the transparency of the electoral process

This program has two main goals. The first has to do with revision of the electoral code to correct shortcomings in the present code. The second consists in setting up a biometric voters’ register, in coordination with the civil registry offices. It will consist of an interministerial effort to establish a single register for various purposes (civil register, police/judiciary record, voters’ register, etc.), to ensure that the 2015 elections are held with maximum transparency.

3.2.2. Development is managed Government finance is managed transparently and efficiently, in accordance with regulations in force
a. General guidelines:

The policy for public financial management takes up the goals of the Program for Reform of Public Financial Management adopted in January 2012. Reinstatement of good financial governance is both the basic platform for renewed confidence of citizens in government and an essential prerequisite for mobilizing increased internal and external financing in line with national procedures. This reinstatement is based on two strategies: i) improving public financial management, to bring it closer to international quality standards; and ii) strengthening the effectiveness of external controls.

The policy put into practice under the PDES will be made effective by implementing three programs to achieve thirteen principal results:

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Institutional measures will also make it possible to improve the sustainability of the reforms put in place.

b. Priority programs and activities:
Public financial management reform program

It is designed primarily to increase the number of users of government services who are satisfied with the efficiency of government spending. It targets five main areas: i) modernization of national legislation; ii) a considerable improvement in cash management; iii) an improvement in the credibility of the budget; iv) an improvement in reporting and control of public financial management; and v) an improvement in the government procurement system.

With regard to the first component, the purpose is to improve the integrity and transparency of the mechanism and to update government contract laws and regulations.

The second component on cash management will make it possible to have a better idea of government revenue and expenditures. It will also give priority to increasing mobilization of resources by improving: i) the organization of the legal framework of the customs and tax services; ii) the predictability of tax and nontax revenues, with a considerable increase of up to 20% by 2015; iii) the level of tax and nontax receipts; iv) forecasting of external resources; and v) mechanisms for monitoring the debt and budget subsidies.

Improvement of budget execution procedures will entail standardization of the process for release of budget appropriations and the functioning of the expenditure chain. Cash and debt management should be improved by improving management of cash flows, introduction of a single treasury account, and strengthening the public debt management system.

Improvement of government credibility, the third component of the Program, will entail the following: i) revision of the budget preparation law; ii) improvement of the credibility and comprehensive coverage of the government budget, especially by including all aid programs and projects; and iii) improvement of budget preparation tools.

The fourth component on improved reporting and control of public financial management, will focus on: i) improved reporting of budget execution; ii) strengthening stock or quantity-basis accounting; iii) producing operating accounts and the budget review act on time; iv) improving the working conditions of deconcentrated accounting units; and v) improving information systems (for government accounts and integrated management of the budget and information systems of government revenue-collecting agencies [régies financières].

Increased control and transparency of public finance will be achieved by: i) strengthening management of the balance and pensions; ii) effective, ongoing monitoring of the government portfolio; iii) strengthening the effectiveness of internal and external controls; and iv) improving the effectiveness of government spending.

The last component, key to restoring citizens’ confidence in public financial management, is devoted to improving the government procurement system, to ensure the integrity and transparency of the contracting mechanism. These measures will be accompanied by renewed initiatives to communicate and raise awareness of the damaging effects of corruption on the country’s social and economic development. This would imply that the entities responsible for fighting corruption, especially in the government contracting system, would benefit from a strengthening of their operational capacity.

Program to improve the effectiveness of the Audit Office

This program is designed to provide a strong, sustainable foundation for this new institution. It will make sure that actual controls and obligations are in line with the organic law, and will make it possible for the government to improve internal management based on the recommendations of this institution.

The three components of this program will focus on: i) building the capacity of audit office personnel in the area of controls, audits, and the constitutional and institutional role of the office; ii) stepping up audits to instill a culture of accountability on the part of public entities; and iii) improving the dialogue and flow of information between the audit office and the general public.

Based on the public reports issued by the Audit Office, the government should adopt its recommendations, and take action to further explore its conclusions in cases of malfunction identified in said public reports.

Program for strengthening the controls of the National Assembly

Its purpose is to ensure that the legislative branch performs its constitutional function of control—and financial control in particular—of the executive branch,

The first component of the program will be designed to significantly strengthen the capacity of members of the National Assembly, and especially members of the finance committee, in the areas of control and audit, and the constitutional and institutional role of the National Assembly in public financial management control.

The second component will involve intensifying the dialogue between the National Assembly and the Executive Branch, especially by organizing information sessions and using its parliamentary prerogatives to question the government or public entities.

The third aspect will focus on improving the dialogue and flow of information between the National Assembly and the public, especially as regards its duty to exercise ex-ante controls (during budget preparation) and ex-post controls during examination of reports on government accounts). Improving the quality of the design and evaluation of government policies and strategies
a. General guidelines:

In measures adopted in 2011, the government made clear its intention to rehabilitate the strategic planning system, notably by creating the Planning Ministry, and to strengthen forecasting, planning, and coordination of economic development and management programs.

The policy for improving management of the economy implemented under the PDES targets seven primary results to be achieved by implementing three programs.

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b. Priority programs and activities
Program for improving the design of public development policies

It targets two main areas: i) coordination of formulation of general public policies; and ii) support by the Planning Ministry to the different technical ministries and government institutions in designing their sectoral and thematic policies.

As regards the first component, it appears critical to reinstate a medium- and long-term vision of development, in accordance with the aspirations of the people, that is put into effect within a general, consistent, and coordinated framework. Aside from the 2011-2012 Interim Framework Program for Government Action, this vision is expressed in two other strategic documents: the 2012-2015 Economic and Social Development Plan, and Niger’s Strategy for Sustainable Development and Inclusive Growth—2035.

The second component, essential for conducting sectoral policies consistent with the comprehensive vision of development, is based primarily on setting up permanent support and advisory services for developing sectoral policies and their action plans, as well as controls to ensure that they are consistent with the overall development policy.

Program for strengthening national leadership capacity to conduct public policies

Its purpose is to enhance the appropriation of national policies by the authorities. It is also intended to strengthen dialogue and information-sharing on the national development vision between them and technical and financial partners and NGOs/DAs, in order to align support with the public policies. In this regard, a three-year action plan and policy on the effectiveness of aid will be developed, together with a government-partners protocol based on specific common objectives. The contributions of TFPs will be included in the national budget and in the PDES implementation reports. Moreover, the system for monitoring NGOs and DAs will be reformed.

As part of the proactive approach to investment management and in order to ensure an implementation rate close to 70 percent of budget items, the ministry responsible for planning will implement a flexible mechanism for: i) financing studies at all stages of financing these investments, with a view to accelerating and facilitating their implementation; and ii) eventually using specific structures to accelerate implementation of said investments.

Program for development and strengthening of public policy monitoring tools

Following principles shared by all participants, it is designed to implement specific, effective monitoring and evaluation procedures to capitalize on medium- and long-term experiences. Priorities will focus on i) adoption of a national monitoring and evaluation policy and the instruments needed to implement it; and ii) strengthening the national statistics system (National Statistics Institute and statistics offices in ministerial departments).

Alignment of MTDFs [medium-term development frameworks] with the PDES will considerably improve the quality of economic management.

3.2.3. Citizens are guaranteed equitable and equal access to public services Building citizens’ confidence in legal and judicial institutions
a. General guidelines:

The PDES will be based on the guidelines of the Renaissance Program and on the 2010-2013 sectoral policy of the Ministry of Justice and its action plan, approved in August 2010. The purpose of this policy is to restore citizens’ confidence in their legal and judicial institutions. It is based on five strategies: i) consolidation of democracy and promotion of development; ii) rationalization of the use of resources; iii) consolidation of achievements under previous reforms; iv) a partnership among the different stakeholders directly involved; and v) protection of citizens in an especially vulnerable situation.

The policy implemented under the PDES has eleven key results to be achieved by implementing the following four programs:

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b. Priority programs and activities:
Program for developing the ethics of the judicial sector

The priority activities under this program consist in ensuring effective control of the activities of courts (judges’ chambers, prosecution, the bench, offices of clerks of court) by competent supervisory or judicial agencies, but also by the general inspection services of the judiciary, whose capacity will be strengthened. In addition, supervision and monitoring of the work of other representatives of the law (bailiffs and process-servers, bailiffs’ clerks, attorneys, notaries, and judicial police officers (OPJ)) will be improved, and information on laws and the roles of the institutions in this sector will be disseminated. Finally, the decisions of the high courts of justice will be published.

In terms of preventive activities, sustainable action is needed on the factors influencing the supply of and demand for corruption in the judiciary sector. Four measures are recommended: information and awareness-raising; knowledge of the legal framework and its simplification; measures to counter political interference with execution of court judgments; and, knowledge of the ethics framework and improvement of professional staff. Adoption of the decree setting time limits for drafting judgments will also bring under the law provisions enabling defendants to have access to the judgments regarding them.

Program for optimizing the existing system

It takes up a key challenge, namely not to systematically create new structures, but to adopt measures to make existing structures and infrastructure operational.

Priority actions will involve rehabilitation of courts and prisons and penitentiaries on the basis of a clear list of priorities, as well as the institution of specialized court divisions and the regular organization of general assemblies in the court jurisdictions.

Action will also focus on : i) developing the existing information system, especially statistics, in order to effectively monitor judicial activities; ii) revitalizing the framework for coordination and organization of judicial activities; and iii) ensuring implementation of an effective continuing education program for judicial stakeholders, covering issues of gender, justice for minors, and management of courts.

Program for modernizing the frameworks for interventions and operations of the justice system

The purpose of this program is to give the judicial system appropriate frameworks for its activities, to fill the voids identified in legal and institutional plans or to adapt existing frameworks to the present reality.

Sectoral subpolicies, in the areas of criminal and prison policies, and a policy on judicial protection of minors will be developed. Moreover, reform of the legal and judicial structure will be initiated, to include the following measures: reform of the High Council of the Judiciary (CSM), revision of obsolete laws, and codification work; bringing national laws in line with international legal instruments, surveying and transcribing customs; and, introducing a legal framework to fight transnational organized crime, illegal trafficking, and terrorism. Other themes, such as security of investments, social reinsertion of offenders, and professional security, will also be addressed.

High priority will also be given to bu