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- GDP (PPP):
- $17.9 billion
- 6.9% growth
- 6.8% 5-year compound annual growth
- $1,048 per capita
- Inflation (CPI):
- FDI Inflow:
Niger’s natural resources, including uranium and oil, have spurred five years of notable growth. However, like many other resource-endowed countries in the region, it continues to lack the economic diversity and dynamism that are critical to stable long-term development.
Economic Freedom Snapshot
- 2016 Economic Freedom Score: 54.3 (down 0.3 point)
- Economic Freedom Status: Mostly Unfree
- Global Ranking: 129th
- Regional Ranking: 26th in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Notable Successes: Monetary Freedom
- Concerns: Property Rights, Corruption, Open Markets, and Business Freedom
- Overall Score Change Since 2012: No Change
The economy remains highly vulnerable to external shocks, and the inefficient regulatory environment continues to constrain commercial operations and investment growth. Niger’s economic policies and institutions do not provide an adequate base on which to build a broad-based private sector. The rule of law is poorly enforced, and systemic corruption exacerbates legal uncertainty.
President Mamadou Tandja was overthrown in a military coup in February 2010. In March 2011, opposition leader Mahamadou Issoufou won presidential elections that were deemed free and fair, and his Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism won a plurality in the National Assembly. In 2015, Niger joined a multinational coalition fighting the ISIS-aligned Boko Haram terrorists inside Nigeria. It also faces a restive Tuareg population in the North and spillover violence from conflicts in Libya and Mali. Niger has one of the world’s fastest population growth rates. Poor infrastructure and frequent weather disasters contribute to economic hardship. Other than uranium and oil, substantial mineral resources, including gold, have yet to be exploited. According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Niger hosts nearly 80,000 refugees, primarily from Mali and Nigeria.
Corruption remains a serious problem in Niger, and observers have raised fresh concerns regarding uranium-mining contracts. In October 2014, former President Mamadou Tandja was charged with corruption as an investigation into the disappearance of nearly $800 million of public money when he left office continued. The rule of law remains hampered by an ineffective judicial framework, and a weak court system is vulnerable to political pressure.
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 15.8 percent of total domestic income. Government spending amounts to 27.8 percent of GDP. The budget balance remains negative, and public debt equals about 36 percent of total annual domestic output.
The inadequate regulatory framework hampers private-sector development. Onerous 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. The government provides some citizens with food aid and fixes domestic retail fuel prices, which have not changed since early 2013.
Niger’s average tariff rate is 10.2 percent. Importation of goods is time-consuming and costly. Domestic and foreign investors are generally treated equally under the law. State-owned enterprises operate in the energy and telecommunications sectors. Despite some progress toward modernizing the financial sector, financing options for starting private businesses are limited. Overall bank credit to the private sector remains low.