- GDP (PPP):
- $21.8 billion
- 5.2% growth
- 5.4% 5-year compound annual growth
- $1,164 per capita
- Inflation (CPI):
- FDI Inflow:
Niger’s economic freedom score is 51.6, making its economy the 151st freest in the 2019 Index. Its overall score has increased by 2.1 points, with a large gain in business freedom and smaller gains in six other factors outpacing a drop in the monetary freedom score. Niger is ranked 31st among 47 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, and its overall score is below the regional and world averages.
Although landlocked Niger has enjoyed robust growth led by minerals exports, the lack of entrepreneurial dynamism will likely undermine development in the longer term. Efforts to scale up public investment, particularly investment related to infrastructure, and increased security spending have caused public debt to increase. The financial system remains underdeveloped, weak, and fragmented, reflecting the small size of the formal economy. Outmoded labor regulations and an inefficient regulatory and legal environment constrain commercial operations and investment.
After independence from France in 1960, a single-party military regime governed Niger for three decades until elections that led to democratic government in 1993. The military overthrew President Mamadou Tandja in 2010 after he tried to extend his rule beyond the constitutional two-term limit. Mahamadou Issoufou of the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism was elected in 2011 and reelected to a second five-year term in 2016 after his chief rival was imprisoned. Ongoing challenges include a restive Tuareg population in the North, spillover violence from conflicts in Libya and Mali, and terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. Niger has some of the world’s largest uranium deposits, but its economy is centered on subsistence crops and livestock.
Interests in property are enforced when the landholder is known, but property disputes are common. Registering property was made easier in 2018 when transfer taxes were reduced. The judicial framework is ineffective, and the court system is weak and vulnerable to political pressure. High rates of illiteracy among the semi-nomadic Nigeriens contribute to a political culture that is overly tolerant of widespread corruption.
The top personal income tax rate is 35 percent, and the top corporate tax rate is 30 percent. Other taxes include interest and capital gains taxes. The overall tax burden equals 13.5 percent of total domestic income. Over the past three years, government spending has amounted to 28.5 percent of the country’s output (GDP), and budget deficits have averaged 6.8 percent of GDP. Public debt is equivalent to 46.5 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. Monetary stability has been relatively well sustained, but the government continues to subsidize food, fuel, and other basic goods.
The combined value of exports and imports is equal to 49.6 percent of GDP. The average applied tariff rate is 9.6 percent. Niger’s inefficient regulatory and legal environment constrains trade and investment. The underdeveloped, weak, and fragmented financial system reflects the small size of the formal economy. About 19 percent of adult Nigeriens have access to an account with a formal banking institution.