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- GDP (PPP):
- $13.8 billion
- 3.6% growth
- 4.8% 5-year compound annual growth
- $829 per capita
- Inflation (CPI):
- FDI Inflow:
Niger’s economic freedom score is 54.6, making its economy the 127th freest in the 2015 Index. Its score has decreased by 0.5 point since last year, reflecting declines in monetary freedom, the management of government spending, and labor freedom that outweigh gains in freedom from corruption and business freedom. Niger is ranked 26th out of 46 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, and its overall score is slightly above the regional average.
Niger has experienced fast growth in recent years thanks to an expansion of its mining and uranium sectors, but economic freedom has not followed this trend. Over the past five years, broad gains have been largely offset by a sharp decline in trade freedom.
Nearly half of the government’s budget comes from foreign donors, political unrest has undermined the rule of law, and the post-coup civilian government is working to combat widespread corruption and judicial incompetence. A high level of monetary freedom provides some economic stability, but a poor entrepreneurial environment, ineffective capital allocation, and closed domestic markets keep the majority of citizens in poverty.
President Mamadou Tandja was overthrown in a military coup in February 2010. A year later, in March 2011, opposition leader Mahamadou Issoufou won presidential elections that were deemed free and fair by the international community, and his Social Democratic Party coalition won a majority in the National Assembly. A Tuareg rebellion in northern Niger, spillover violence from conflicts in Libya and Mali, and the growing presence of groups linked to al-Qaeda are serious threats. Niger has one of the world’s fastest population growth rates. Poor infrastructure and frequent weather disasters contribute to economic hardship. With the exception of uranium and (as of 2011) oil, substantial mineral resources, including gold, have yet to be exploited. According to a 2014 United Nations report, Niger currently hosts upwards of 50,000 refugees from Mali and Nigeria.
Corruption remains a serious problem in Niger. In 2014, a court in Niamey lifted the immunity of former President Tandja, opening the way for a possible investigation into the disappearance of nearly $800 million of public money. The rule of law is hampered by an ineffective judicial framework, and a weak court system remains vulnerable to political interference.
Niger’s top individual income tax rate is 35 percent, and its top corporate tax rate is 30 percent. Other taxes include a value-added tax and a tax on interest and capital gains. The overall tax burden equals 14.5 percent of domestic income, and government expenditures equal 23.4 percent of domestic output. Public debt amounts to 34 percent of gross domestic product.
The inadequate regulatory framework hampers private-sector development. Onerous and inconsistent regulations impose substantial costs on business. The minimum capital required to incorporate a business is still nearly five times the level of annual average income. The labor market is poorly developed, and much of the labor force works in the informal sector. The state influences prices through state-owned utilities.
Niger’s average tariff rate is 9.7 percent. Importing goods may be time-consuming and costly. In most cases, domestic and foreign investors are treated equally under the law. Despite some progress toward modernizing the financial sector, financing options for starting and expanding private businesses are limited. Overall bank credit to the private sector remains low.