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- GDP (PPP):
- $19.1 billion
- 4.0% growth
- 6.1% 5-year compound annual growth
- $1,080 per capita
- Inflation (CPI):
- FDI Inflow:
Niger has recorded annual economic expansion of around 6 percent, driven mainly by minerals exports, over the past five years. Sustaining growth over the longer term will be difficult, however, because of a lack of economic dynamism. The economy remains highly vulnerable to external shocks.
Niger’s overall progress toward greater economic freedom has been uneven and sluggish. The financial system remains underdeveloped, weak, and fragmented, reflecting the small size of the formal economy. The inefficient regulatory and legal environment constrains commercial operations and investment. Outmoded labor regulations discourage employment growth, and the judicial system remains vulnerable to corruption.
The military overthrew President Mamadou Tandja in a February 2010 coup after Tandja tried to extend his rule beyond the constitutionally mandated two terms. Mahamadou Issoufou of the opposition Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism won subsequent elections in 2011 and was reelected in a controversial March 2016 runoff vote after his chief rival, Hama Amadou, was imprisoned before the election on charges of child trafficking. In 2015, Niger joined a multinational coalition fighting the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram, and thousands of Nigeriens have been displaced by Boko Haram violence. Niger also faces a restive Tuareg population in the North and spillover violence from conflicts in Libya and Mali.
Interests in property are enforced when the landholder is known, but property disputes are common, especially in rural areas subject to customary land titles. The rule of law remains hampered by an ineffective judicial framework and a weak court system that is vulnerable to political pressure. High rates of illiteracy among Nigeriens, many of whom are semi-nomadic, have contributed to a political culture that is overly tolerant of corruption.
The top personal income tax rate is 35 percent, and the top corporate tax rate is 30 percent. Other taxes include a tax on interest and a capital gains tax. The overall tax burden equals 15.5 percent of total domestic income. Government spending has amounted to 29.8 percent of total output (GDP) over the past three years, and budget deficits have averaged 6.0 percent of GDP. Public debt is equivalent to 43.5 percent of GDP.
Much-needed private-sector development has been hampered by the inadequate regulatory framework. Outmoded and inconsistent regulations impose substantial costs on business operations. The labor market is poorly developed, and much of the labor force works in the informal sector. Government-provided food subsidies cost an estimated 3.7 percent of GDP. The government also subsidizes natural gas in an effort to slow deforestation.
Trade is important to Niger’s economy; the value of exports and imports taken together equals 57 percent of GDP. The average applied tariff rate is 9.3 percent. Investment in some sectors of the economy may be screened or capped, and state-owned enterprises distort the economy. Despite some progress, financing options for starting private businesses are limited. Overall bank credit to the private sector remains low.