The Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world. The current United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) puts it last out of the 189 countries listed.




Official languages



1.267.000 km²


21,5 million

Population growth

3.2 %

Rural population

83.55 % of the overall population

Gross domestic product

9,3 billion US dollars

Annual income per capita

Approx. 414 US dollars

Agriculture as a proportion of GDP

39.2 % (as of 2018)

Severity of hunger according to the World Hunger Index

serious (WHI: 30.2)

Human Development Index

Index: 0,377 / Rank: 189 of 189

An agricultural nation in the Sahel zone

Rich in mineral resources, development-oriented, and relatively stable politically following the democratic new beginning in 2011 – but at present still desperately poor: that would be one way to sum up the situation in the Niger.
The West African country gained independence from France in 1960. The decades that followed were dominated by a series of different military governments and several coups. Between 1999 and 2009, the Niger was governed by democratically elected President Mamadou Tandja, under whom the country achieved a certain degree of stability. Hopes that the Niger would undergo a process of democratisation and economic development went unfulfilled, however, as Tandja’s rule became increasingly autocratic.
Having refused to step down in 2009 after two terms in office as prescribed under the country’s constitution, President Tandja was ousted in a military coup in 2010. A new constitution affording more civil rights was devised, which was approved by the people of the Niger in a referendum. In early 2011, elections were held at the municipal, regional and national levels. Mahamadou Issoufou, a long-time opposition leader, won the presidential elections in 2011; in 2016 he was re-elected for a further term in office. Despite an attempt by the opposition to boycott them, the elections were legally correct and peaceful. The political climate within the country has improved since President Issoufou began his second five-year term in office.
The Niger government has set itself ambitious development goals. They include reducing poverty and food insecurity, strengthening and consolidating democracy, improving the country’s governance and its economic development, and stabilising the security situation.
Development cooperation
As a consequence of the political crisis in 2009 and 2010, the implementation of agreed development programmes was temporarily suspended. The only activities that continued to be funded were humanitarian measures aimed at addressing acute food shortages.
Following the country’s return to democratic structures, Germany resumed its cooperation with the Niger in 2011. The priority areas of cooperation are decentralisation and good governance, and productive agriculture and food security. Germany also supports the Niger in the areas of basic education and health care (family planning).



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