countryaah, Niger is a relatively resource-poor desert country,
measured by social and economic indicators, among the
world's least developed countries. With a small modern
sector, agriculture is the dominant sector, especially in
terms of employment. Cattle are the most important export
commodity for uranium - which is still Niger's main source
of income, despite falling demand and prices. Failure in
revenue from uranium exports from the mid-1980s was a major
cause of the economic crisis, which in turn contributed to
the political turmoil throughout much of the 1990s - when
the government was unable to pay its employees for periods.
The economic situation was further aggravated in the second
half of the 1990s by sanctions and the suspension of
assistance from several partners.
The modernization process initiated in the 1970s, based
on large revenues from exports of uranium, stopped in the
1980s, after which there was no economic basis for
continuing it, although there was a certain upswing from the
late 1990s. the years. Then new economic reform programs
were implemented, including a program for the privatization
of state business. Niger's economy is closely linked to
neighboring Nigeria, not least through so-called informal
connections - essentially smuggling, especially of
petroleum(from Nigeria) and cattle (from Niger). A
significant portion, an estimated 70%, of Niger's economic
activity is found in the informal sector, significantly
related to illegal and unregistered trade with neighboring
countries, especially Nigeria. The strong relations with
Nigeria make the economic situation in Niger dependent on
the political and economic situation in the neighboring
country, which is the region's great power.
Agriculture and fishing
Niger is essentially an agricultural country, although
most of it is desert and semi-desert, and unsuitable for
agriculture. The sector is of crucial importance for the
countryside, and in 2003 employed close to 90% of the
working population, accounting for approx. 40% of GNI.
About 20% of those employed in agriculture are nomads,
who run extensive animal husbandry - cattle, sheep, goats
and camels. Live cattle are the second most important export
product, after uranium; much of the export is done
illegally, mostly to Nigeria. The arable land is found
essentially in a belt south of the country. Corn, millet,
sorghum, rice and corn are grown. In addition, cassava,
onions, vegetables, sugar cane and fruit are grown. Peanuts
(peanuts) were an important export product for a long time,
but production dropped from the mid-1960s. Cotton production
is also of economic importance, but with varying crops.
An obstacle to agricultural development is a lack of
input goods, especially credit and fertilizers, as well as
access to markets. Agriculture has been severely affected by
drought for several periods, sometimes by large numbers of
grasshoppers eating crops. Both were the case in 2004, which
contributed to food shortages and the humanitarian crisis in
Mining and energy
Due to the significant deposits of uranium, mining plays
a significant role in Niger's economy; the country was the
world's third largest uranium producer in the early 2000s.
The extraction started at Arlit in 1971, reaching a peak in
1981, before demand fell through the 1980s - and with that
revenue. Exports of uranium have accounted for up to approx.
80% of Nigerian currency earnings. Falling world prices have
at times created problems for the country's economy, and in
2003 Niger was indirectly accused of illegally exporting
uranium to several countries. Iraq.
Alongside uranium, small amounts of tin and some
phosphate are extracted. gold, coal, iron ore and plaster.
Petroleum deposits have been detected in the southwest, and
production is about 20,000 barrels per day, which is
expected to grow in the coming years.
The production of electric power is essentially from heat
power plants, but is not sufficient to meet demand, and
Niger imports power from Nigeria, but its supply is often
unstable. There is potential for the development of
hydropower plants on the Niger River.
Niger has a poorly developed industrial sector, and the
sector is hampered by several conditions, notably a small -
and low - purchasing - local market, as well as transport
distance from ports in neighboring countries, and
competition from the far more industrialized neighbor
Nigeria. The industry is mainly based on the processing of
agricultural raw materials, and is of no great national
With its strong dependence on revenue from uranium
exports, Niger has been vulnerable to both demand and price.
From the mid-1980s, revenues have fallen, and Niger's
dependence on foreign aid has increased accordingly.
Main export products are uranium, cattle, hides and skins
and textiles. Main import goods are food, machinery,
petroleum products, vehicles, chemical products.
France and Nigeria are the largest trading partners;
France and the EU are the largest aid providers.
Transport and Communications
Niger is a large country, and communication is
essentially on the road, and to some extent on the Niger
River. The country does not have railways. Connection to
rail and on to the coast must be via Parkou (in Benin),
Ouagadougou (in Burkina Faso) or Kano (in Nigeria). The road
network is poorly developed, and in 2000 consisted of
approx. 14,000 km of classified roads. The Niger River is
navigable for a length of approx. 300 km. Development of the
Cain Discovery in Nigeria (1969) improved the connection to
the Delta ports on the Guinea coast. There are international
airports in Niamey, Agadez and Zinder.