Back

Country Reports

Niger Country Report

Content provided by
IHS Markit Logo

Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

The government declared in June 2020 that presidential and parliamentary elections, due in December, will not be postponed despite the COVID-19 pandemic. President Issoufou is not standing for re-election and Mohamed Bazoum, the ruling party’s presidential candidate, resigned as interior minister to prepare his campaign. The embezzlement of millions of dollars in military contracts at the defence ministry highlights very high corruption risks in Niger, while a new electronic intercept law months before the elections, to tackle insecurity, has raised concerns over individual privacy. The government mining policy for 2020–29 aims to diversify from reliance on uranium ahead of Orano’s planned site closure in early 2021. Islamic State attacks on military and civilian targets, particularly in the Tillaberi and Diffa regions, continue to rise, posing severe risks of kidnap, death and injury. In August 2020, while visiting a giraffe reserve in Tillaberi, six French aid workers and two local guides were killed by armed militants. Anti-French protests against "neo-colonialism" are likely in Niamey, but Niger will continue to enjoy strong donor and military support from the West due to its counter-terrorism co-operation. 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 14, 2020

Operational Outlook

Jihadist attacks and states-of-emergency in 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 by attracting investment in oil and gold production, in order to reduce dependency on uranium, as well as boosting electricity provision. Construction of an oil pipeline from Niger to Benin, which began in September 2019, is due for completion in 2021 but work was suspended in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Last update: June 17, 2020

Terrorism

Very high

Islamic State groups in western Niger claimed responsibility for two major attacks in Tillaberi region in December 2019 and January 2020, which, combined, killed 160 soldiers. There is an ongoing state-of-emergency in western Tahoua and Tillaberi regions, as well as southeastern Diffa, where Boko Haram is active. Jihadists are likely to take advantage of government distraction with COVID-19 to increase attacks. Kidnap risks are high near borders with Burkina Faso, Mali, and Nigeria. Jihadist targets are likely to include transport hubs, mining sites, oil installations, the military, diplomatic assets, hotels, and government buildings.

Last update: June 17, 2020

Crime

Niger's porous borders facilitate trade in drugs, weapons, and other contraband. Illegal migration has decreased following 2015 legislation to ban the practice and EU financial assistance. Kidnapping of foreigners by Islamist groups is likely close to the borders with Burkina Faso, Mali, and Nigeria. 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 17, 2020

War Risks

Anti-government protests will likely be swiftly dispersed by security forces if they turn violent, and are unlikely to lead to civil war despite increasing security challenges for the government. 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 likelihood of interstate war. Any disputes with neighbours are likely to be resolved through arbitration rather than military confrontation.

Last update: June 17, 2020

Social Stability

High

Niger lifted many of its COVID-19 restrictions in May 2020, including allowing a return to work and relaxing curfew hours, after widespread protests during the month of Ramadan. However, anti-government protests against high living costs, insecurity, and corruption are likely, increasing instability risks in the lead-up to December elections. Protests targeting French assets are also likely due to the perception that French counter-insurgency troops have been unable to eradicate terrorism. Demonstrators are likely to use stones, petrol bombs, and blunt objects to target government and commercial property and parked vehicles. Security forces, sometimes using live ammunition, will likely disperse protests.

Last update: June 17, 2020

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