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- GDP (PPP):
- $13.1 billion
- 11.2% growth
- 6.4% 5-year compound annual growth
- $815 per capita
- Inflation (CPI):
- FDI Inflow:
Niger’s economic freedom score is 55.1, making its economy the 127th freest in the 2014 Index. Its score has increased by 1.2 points since last year, with improvements in the control of government spending, labor freedom, monetary freedom, and freedom from corruption outweighing a substantial decline in trade freedom. Niger is ranked 24th out of 46 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, and its overall score is slightly above the regional average.
Niger was first graded in the 1996 Index and since then has advanced its economic freedom score by over 9 points, reaching its highest score ever in the 2014 Index. Its scores have improved in seven of the 10 categories of economic freedom, especially market openness as measured through trade freedom, investment freedom, and financial freedom, although its business freedom has lagged compared to other countries.
Effective implementation of deeper institutional reforms is critical to sustaining Niger’s high levels of economic growth and ensuring long-term development. Systemic weaknesses linger in the protection of property rights and the effective enforcement of anti-corruption measures. The judiciary remains vulnerable to political influence.
President Mamadou Tandja was overthrown in 2010. Opposition leader Mahamadou Issoufou won elections in March 2011 and was inaugurated as president in April 2011. His political coalition also 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 al-Qaeda–linked groups remain serious threats. Niger is one of the world’s poorest countries. With the exception of uranium, its substantial mineral resources, including petroleum and gold, have yet to be exploited. About 80 percent of the population depends on subsistence agriculture and herding. Infrastructure is poor, and extended periods of drought hinder food production. Niger is a major transit point for human trafficking.
The civilian government that took office in 2011 has committed itself to improving governance, implementing reforms, and supporting national reconciliation. However, corruption remains a serious problem, and observers have raised concerns regarding uranium-mining contracts. The rule of law is hampered by an ineffective judicial framework, and a weak court system remains vulnerable to political interference.
The top individual 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 14.1 percent of gross domestic income. Government spending is equivalent to 20 percent of the domestic economy. Public debt has reached over 30 percent of GDP. Strong uranium-mining revenue should help the government cope with a recurring food crisis.
The burdensome regulatory framework hampers private-sector development. Inconsistent regulations impose substantial costs on business operations. The cost of completing licensing requirements is still over 10 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. Tariffs are highest on products that compete with domestic industries. It can take weeks to import goods. The country’s laws generally treat domestic and foreign investors equally. Some progress has been made toward modernizing the financial sector, but the number of available financial options for starting and expanding private businesses is limited.