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Country Reports

Niger Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

President Issoufou, who first came to power in 2011, has stated that he will not stand for re-election in 2021 at the end of his two-term mandate or amend the constitution to extend presidential term limits. Interior Minister Mohamed Bazoum was named in March 2019 as the ruling PNDS presidential candidate, likely ensuring policy continuity if elected. Issoufou will continue to enjoy strong donor support from the West due to his co-operation in counter-terrorism and reducing migration. Terrorism risks in Niger are very high, with jihadist attacks escalating particularly in the western Tillaberi region, where Islamic State and Al-Qaeda-linked groups are active, and the southeastern Diffa region where Boko Haram assaults have substantially increased. A likely terrorist assault against a police post in a Niamey suburb in June 2019 suggests jihadists are closer to realising their aspiration of attacking the capital. Anti-government protests over high living costs, perceived corruption, insecurity, and foreign military bases are likely to persist throughout 2019 in major towns including Niamey, Agadez, Arlit, and Zinder. Strong responses from security forces will probably disperse demonstrations quickly. Real GDP growth is expected to stay robust, averaging around 5.7% during 2018–22, before gradually declining thereafter. Falling uranium prices are encouraging economic diversification, with investments focused on the crude oil sector where medium-term prospects are positive. With Chinese investors maintaining strong interest in the Agadem crude oil block and the refinery in Zinder town, increased energy-sector investment is likely. The government's budgets will remain extremely dependent on external financing from donor aid and grants. As a result, Niger faces the challenge of avoiding debt accumulation to finance its costly poverty reduction programmes. Niger previously failed to meet some of its fiscal targets, but under IMF supervision, the government is now likely to improve its fiscal capacity while tightening budgetary controls in the near term.
Last update: August 9, 2019

Operational Outlook

Escalating jihadist attacks and states-of-emergency in parts of western and southeastern Niger complicate the operational environment, already hindered by limited institutional capacity, inadequate infrastructure, strikes, and corruption. President Issoufou wants to boost the private sector, with improved road infrastructure a priority of the government's 2017–21 development plan. In early 2019, it announced policies to improve management of oil and gold production, in order to reduce dependency on uranium, as well as improve electricity provision. A railway project, eventually linking up with Côte d'Ivoire, which would ease problems associated with Niger's landlocked status, remains stalled over contractual disagreements with Benin.

Last update: July 20, 2019

Terrorism

Very high

The Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) has bases in western Niger, and co-operation with Al-Qaeda-linked groups increases attack risks in the capital, Niamey. A likely terrorist assault against a police post in a Niamey suburb in June 2019 suggests militants are closer to realising this aspiration. There is an ongoing state-of-emergency in western Tahoua and Tillaberi regions, as well as southeastern Diffa, where jihadist groups are particularly active. Kidnap risks are high near borders with Burkina Faso, Mali, and Nigeria. Jihadist targets are likely to include transport hubs, mining sites, the military, diplomatic assets, hotels, and government buildings.

Last update: July 20, 2019

Crime

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime has reported that numerous drugs and arms seizures have been made in Niger in the past. The country's porous borders facilitate trade in drug and other contrabands. People-trafficking is also of concern in Niger. Kidnapping of foreigners by Islamist groups is likely close to the border with Mali. Generally, crimes in urban areas are mainly petty thefts including bag and mobile-phone snatching. The police are under-resourced and struggle to investigate crime. Break-ins at expatriate properties are not common. Aggravated robberies occur at night on roads outside urban areas.

Last update: June 28, 2019

War Risks

Anti-government protests will be swiftly dispersed by security forces if they turn violent, and are unlikely to lead to civil war. Interstate border crossings by the military are likely due to jihadist violence in Libya, Mali, Burkina Faso, and the Lake Chad region, but counter-terrorism co-operation with neighbours reduces the probability of interstate war. Relations with Benin have deteriorated due to its hosting of exiled Nigerien opposition leader Hama Amadou, although any disputes with neighbours are more likely to be resolved through arbitration than military confrontation.

Last update: July 20, 2019

Social Stability

High

Anti-government protests over the high cost of living (including the 2019 finance law), the presence of foreign forces, insecurity and perceived corruption are likely to occur in major cities including the capital Niamey, Agadez, Arlit and Zinder. Protesters are likely to use stones, petrol bombs, and blunt objects to target government and commercial property and parked vehicles. Violent demonstrations will likely be quickly dispersed by security forces, sometimes using live ammunition.

Last update: July 20, 2019

Health Risk

Severe

Vaccinations required to enter the country

Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for all travelers over one year of age entering the country. The government of Niger recommends vaccine for travelers departing Niger.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Meningococcal Meningitis: For prolonged stays, or in case your travels will put you in close contact with a local population affected by an epidemic of the disease (for children over the age of two years).

Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Very high

The country, including Niamey, is regularly hit by significant rainfall in the summer, often causing floods. In June 2017, torrential rains caused severe infrastructural damage in Niamey and resulted in several deaths.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

High

Road infrastructure is reliable in Niger. Major cities are connected by paved roads.

However, long-distance road travel can be extremely dangerous. The danger of road accidents is heightened by drivers often ignoring the rules of the road, the non-maintenance of vehicles, and the lack of medical care facilities. Due to the lack of public lighting all night travel should be avoided.

Outside major cities, all travel should be conducted during the day, with a sports utility vehicle (4x4), adequate supplies of water, food, and fuel. It is also advised to ensure that the vehicle contains spare mechanical parts (wheels, cables, etc.) and an effective means of telecommunication.

According to the British diplomatic authorities, the Niamey-Ouagadougou road is mined on the Burkinabe section. Further information should be sought before using this route.

Local authorities may be particularly suspicious of foreigners traveling in the east and north. Passengers are frequently arrested and deported due to security fears. It may be necessary to hire an armed escort (contact the Nigerien authorities) when traveling outside Niamey.

It is advised to stop at all road blocks erected by security forces.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Niger's rainy season lasts from June until September. It is characterized by very high temperatures and humidity levels as well as weak to non-existent winds. The rest of the year temperatures average around 30°C from October to February and around 40°C from March to May. Sandstorms sometimes occur in the months of April and May.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +227

There are no emergency services in Niger.

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019