Niger Country Report
Escalating 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, with improved road infrastructure a priority of the government's 2017–21 development plan. Improving oil and gold production, in order to reduce dependency on uranium, as well as boosting electricity provision, are key development areas. Construction of an oil pipeline from Niger to Benin, which began in September 2019, is due for completion in 2021 but remains a likely target for terrorist attacks.
The Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) has bases in western Niger, and in December 2019 claimed responsibility for a major attack in Tillaberi region that killed 71 soldiers. There is an ongoing state-of-emergency in western Tahoua and Tillaberi regions, as well as southeastern Diffa, where Boko Haram is particularly active. 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.
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.
Anti-government and anti-French 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 more likely to be resolved through arbitration than military confrontation.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are no emergency services in Niger.
Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz