COUNTRIES BRIEFS Newsletter ISSN 1563-4108

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The Republic of Niger is located in the Sahara region of Western Africa, southeast of Algeria.

Total area: 1.267 million sq. km (land:1,266,700 sq. km water: 300 sq. km Area)

Neighboring countries: Algeria over 956 km, Benin over 266 km, Burkina Faso over 628 km, Chad over 1,175 km, Libya over 354 km, Mali over 821 km, Nigeria over 1,497 km

Population: 10,075,511 (July 2000.) 11,058,590 (July 2003 est.). Population growth rate: 2.75% (2000); 2.71% (2003 est.)

Capital: Niamey
Independence from France: August 3,1960
National holiday: Republic Day, December 18 (1958)
Constitution: the constitution of January 1993 was revised by national referendum on May 12 ,1996 and again by referendum on July 18,1999

Natural resources: uranium, coal, iron ore, tin, phosphates, gold, petroleum

Agriculture productions: cowpeas, cotton, peanuts, millet, sorghum, cassava , rice; cattle, sheep, goats, camels, donkeys, horses, poultry

Industrial productions: uranium mining, cement, coal production (around 165,000 metric tons / per year) brick, textiles, food processing, chemicals, slaughterhouses

Niger is rated among the poorest countries in the world; and even some Niger's citizens (Nigeriens) are convinced that their country is hopelessly poor.

However, Niger is endowed with some important deposits of natural resources; and during the 1970's one of these - uranium ore - was the catalyst for a short period of economic prosperity. Since mid 1980's however the dwindling international selling prices of uranium ground down the economy. Successive droughts finished the blow by disrupting agriculture production; and since then Niger's governments relied on bilateral and multilateral aid for survival.

As economic observer, one can remark that coal mining represents another tremendous business opportunity for Niger to obtain substantial revenues and counterbalance the volatile economic standing of uranium.

Niger has important coal deposits in Agadez's region - main coal exploitation site: Tefereyre coal deposit is located 73 km Northwest to the city of Agadez.

Niger will gain substantial revenues by developing the exploitation of its coal deposits to producing:

1 - Coal for household cooking for the entire West Africa region
2 - A glass bottle manufacturing unit for many agribusiness / food processing companies in Africa - Coal and sand, raw materials for bottle manufacturing, are abundant.

Let's consider alternative N° 1 above outlined and take a country like Mali to show what impact such a production will have on the bottom line of the company in charge of Coal excavation and merchandizing - SONICHAR - Société Nigérienne du Charbon d'Abou-Araren - and subsequently on Niger's national budget.

According to the findings of a recent study - September 2000 - by the Malian Environmental Agency - la Direction Nationale de la Conservation de la Nature (DNCN) - 99% of household's cooking energy in Mali is provided by firewood. Each Malian consumes 1.5 kg of firewood per day or 6.5 millions of tons per year for 11,626,219 people (July 2003 est.)

That practice of gathering sticks is devastating. In Mali, 464,285 hectares of wooded areas and forests disappear each year for the benefit of the firewood business sector, which revenues amounted to 7 billions CFA in 1997 and is estimated to 11.5 billions CFA for 2003 Click here for currency equivalence.

What is true for Mali can be extrapolated for the whole West Africa region.

Based on figures provided in the above mentioned study one could estimate that West Africa region needs, for its 190,000,000 people an average of 100 millions tons of firewood per year.

Let's suppose that Niger takes the necessary steps:

1- To investing in mining equipment
2- To boosting thermal coal production
3- To capturing 10% to 70% of the household cooking energy's market available in West Africa

Table below shows what SONICHAR / NIGER would gain (Even if the caloric value of wooden-coal and fossil-coal are not the same, figures below listed are there just to show the impact of coal mining on Niger's economic development):

Earnings Based On An Average Selling Price of US$ 32 / Metric Tons of Thermal Coal
% Market
Metric tons x 1,000,000
Proceeds in US$

Click here to visit Canada's Coal Association Industry website and make research for coal selling price evolution.

On view of above it is obvious that Niger's political rulers / planners should devise an ambitious strategic economic scheme based on the systematic development of coal mining and use the proceeds to sustaining the global economic development of their country. The transport system, for instance the direct Nord-South link with the port of Cotonou in Benin should be developed to the maximum.

Watch the video below (courtesy of New York Times) that describes how Niger's Agronomists and Agro-technicians transformed drought-wasted land into green pastures. An experience that should be emulated throughout the continent to fight against desertification.

Click here for a "Strategic Economic Development Scheme" for an African country. Click here to view a "Community Income Building Power Scheme".


1- D&B Export Guide To Niger
Digital Delivery In PDF by D&B
2- Excavation At Jenne-Jeno
Hambarketelo And Kaniana
by Susan Keech McIntosh
3- Fusion of The World
An Ethnography of Possession Among The Songhay of Niger by Paul Stoller
4- In Sorcelery's Shadow
A Memoir of Apprenticeship Among The Songhay of Niger
by Paul Stoller, Cheryl Olkes
5- Healing In Community Medicine
Contested Terrains And Cultural Encounters Among The Touareg by Susan Rasmussen
6- Nomads Who Cultivate Beauty
Wodaabe Dances And Visual Art In Niger / by Mette Bovin
7- Genii of The River Niger
by Jean-Marie Gibbal
8- The Bamana Empire By The Niger
Kingdom Jihad And Colonization, 1712-1920 / by Sundiata A. Djata
9- Marriage In Maradi
Gender And Culture In A Hausa Society In Niger, 1900- 1989
by Barbara Macgowan Cooper
10- Nomads Of Niger
by Carol Beckwith
11- More News On Niger
by Allafrica

Click to contact Dr. Bienvenu-Magloire Quenum



GNP: purchasing power parity:
US$ 2.1 billion (2000); 2.2 (2001); 2.2 (2002); 2.28 (2003)
GNP- growth rate: 0.2% (1998) 3.5% (2000); 3% (2001); 2.9% (2002); 3% (2003)
GNP-per capita: US$ 190 (1999); US$ 215 (2000); 207 (2003)

Click here for the difference between GNP and Parity Purchasing Power

GNP-composition by sector

  1. agriculture: 39%

  2. industry: 17%
  3. services: 44%

Exports: US$ 269 million (f.o.b., 1999); US$ 385 million (f.o.b., 2000); 293 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Commodities: uranium ore 65%, livestock products, cowpeas, onions
Exports - partners: France 39%, Nigeria 33.2%, Japan 17.1% (2002)

Imports: US$ 195 million (f.o.b., 1999 - which represent an increase of more than 700 % over 1993 imports); US$ 317 million (f.o.b.,2000); 368 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Commodities: consumer goods, primary materials, machinery, vehicles and parts, petroleum, cereals
Imports - partners: France 16.8%, Cote d'Ivoire 14.9%, China 9.8%, Nigeria 7.4%, US 5.2%, Japan 4.6%, India 4.4% (2002)




A passport and a visa are required for most nationalities. Police must be informed when staying overnight in a town and a stamp will be placed in the passport. Travelers should obtain the latest information on customs and entry requirements from nearest Nigerien embassy or consulate.

Ministry of Tourism
Ministere du Tourisme
et de l'Artisanat
BP 12130
Niamey, Niger
Tel: +(227) 732387
Embassy of Niger

2204 R Street, NW,
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: +(1)(202 4834224 / through 4227
Fax: +(1) 202 4833169
National Tourism Agency
Office National du Tourisme
BP 612, Ave President H Luebke
Tel: +227 732447
Fax: +(227) 733940
Embassy of Niger

154 rue du Longchamp
75116 Paris
Tel: +(33) 1 45048060
Fax: +(33) 1 47453494
Embassy of Niger

38 Blackburn Avenue, Ottawa,
Ontario K1N 8A2
Tel: +(1) 613 2324291
Fax: +(1) 613 2309808
Click here to review funding available to rebuild power generation system


Niger international airport at the Capital-City Niamey is serviced mainly by Air-France, Air-Algerie, Ethiopian Airlines, Royal Air Maroc. Private air-transport companies: Niger Air Services and Nigeravia have schedules between Niamey and countryside's tourist towns.

Bulk of Niger overseas trade is performed through the port of Abidjan - Ivory Coast and partly through Cotonou in Benin. Both countries - Niger and Benin - own and manage in common the 400-km Railways system - Organisation Commune Benin Niger - OCBN - which links the port of Cotonou to Parakou: Benin' s Northern commercial center. For decades, since the independence in 1960, the railways track had not been extended further from Parakou to Niamey and make the port of Cotonou the main outlet for Ni Marchandises are hauled by trucks and lorries from Niger to Parakou were they are transshipped to railways wagons for the port of Cotonou. Niger's imports follow the reverse way. However, till the political crisis in Ivory Coast erupted on September 19, 2002, Abidjan's harbour in Ivory Coast was the main outlet for Niger.

The extension / development of the railways system - from Parakou - Benin - to Agadez / Niger is a prerequisite to the strategic development scheme based on coal mining here briefly exposed.


Chamber of Commerce,
Agriculture and Industry

B.P. 209
Tel: +(227) 73 22 10 or
+(227) 73 51 55
National Export Agency
Tel: +(227) 73 22 88
Fax: +(227) 73 46 68

Privatization Agency
Cellule de Coordination
Programme de Privatisation - CCPP
Ministère des Finances
B.P. 862
Wesite in French
Tel: +(227) 73 59 84 or 73 59 91

Click here to review funding available to rebuild power generation system

There are some good hotels in Niamey, Agadez, Zinder and Maradi. It is advised to make reservations for international hotels before arrival. For more information on accommodation, contact one of the address below listed and the tour operator if one is keen to visit the Tenere desert.
Hotel Sofitel Gaweye
Place Kennedy
B.P. 11008
Tel: +(227) 723400
Fax: +(227) 723347
Ministry of Tourism
Ministere du Tourisme
et de l'Artisanat
BP 12130
Niamey, Niger
Tel: +(227) 732387
Tour Operator
Agadez - the Ar mountain chain - the Tenere
Tel: +(33) 1 39 52 69 15
Fax: +(33) 1 30 71 36 70
Grand Hotel Niger
BP 471 Niamey (Niger)
Tel. : (+227) 73 26 41
Fax : (+227) 73 26 43

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