DataViz - Custom code

A completely landlocked country, Niger is the largest country in West Africa with a total area of 1,267,000 km2, three-fourths of which is arid as the Sahara Desert covers more than 80% of its area.  Niger is bordered by Libya to the northeast, Chad to the east, Nigeria and Benin to the south, Burkina Faso and Mali to the west and Algeria to the northwest.  The Niger River - the largest river in West Africa - crosses the country only in its south-western part, over 550 km, while in the south-eastern borders stretch the shores of Lake Chad.  As a Sahelian country, Niger is highly exposed to climate risks, with rainfall highly variable both in space and time. The rainy season generally lasts three to four months (June-September) with high inter-annual variability [1].

Important National Context

 Niger's population growth rate has steadily accelerated since 1960, reaching 3.9% in 2015, one of the highest rates in the world [1] [2]. The population which was only 3.3 million in 1960 has reached 24.2 million in 2020 and 25.7 million in 2022 [3]. If this growth continues at the same rate, the population is expected to exceed 50 million by 2041 and 100 million by 2068 [3].

Niger’s urban population rate is estimated at 16.6% (2020) [4], proportionally one of the lowest in Africa. However, the country currently (2020) has the 8th fastest annual rate of urbanization growth (4.4%) [5] and the second fastest rate of population growth in the world (3.8%) [6].

Niger’s economy depends essentially on the primary sector (agriculture and livestock). Agriculture represents the main socio-economic activity which account for 40% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (World Bank, 2020) and employs more than 87% of the active population. This agriculture is strongly affected by climatic hazards which manifest themselves in increased droughts, frequent floods and locust attacks. Despite several initiatives taken for decades through agricultural development projects and programs to combat poverty and improve the living conditions of the population, the population remains in a situation of food insecurity. Other challenges include modest growth rates and low levels of education, poor health and rapid population growth. In addition to the country’s vulnerability to weather shocks, the increasing pressure of climate change, limited access to insurance, credit and other financial instruments, and the existence of multiple poverty traps [7].

The government has initiated a Sustainable Development and Inclusive Growth Strategy (SDDCI), also called Niger 2035, with the vision to developing Niger's economic and social situation at the Horizon 2035. On May 9 2017, the Government of Niger adopted an Economic and Social Development Plan (PDES, 2017-2021) for the operationalization of the Niger 2035.  Its objective is to contribute to build a peaceful country, well governed with an emerging and sustainable economy, and a society founded on the values of equity and sharing of the fruits of progress. Specifically, it aims to strengthen the resilience of the economic and social development system [8].

Niger plans to build a city of innovation and technology in order to improve its ICT sector. It will serve as the location for the National Agency for the Information Society (ANSI), the national Data center and pre-incubated companies; as well as a place for “training for the creation of solutions-applications” and a framework for collaboration and participation for the different actors. The estimated cost is 60 million USD [9].

In Niger, large numbers of people are affected by both disasters and conflict. Niger faces security threats from internal and external extremist groups. The number of people displaced only due to the conflict surpassed 280,000 (as end of August 2021). In addition, approximately 250,000 refugees have fled violence in neighboring countries.  Globally, over 3.8 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Niger. Niger is also facing a cholera epidemic in 6 of its 8 regions [10].

Environmental Governance

Article 35 of the Constitution of Niger sets forth provisions regarding environmental rights and the protection of environment: “any person has the right to a healthy environment. The State has the obligation to protect the environment in the interest of present and future generations. Each one is required to contribute to the safeguarding and to the improvement of the environment in which he lives. The acquisition, the storage, the handling and the disposal of toxic wastes or pollutants originating from factories and other industrial or handwork sites, installed on the national territory, are regulated by the law. The transit, importation, storage, landfill, and dumping on the national territory of foreign pollutants or toxic wastes, as well as any agreement relating to it constitute a crime against the Nation, punished by the law. The State sees to the evaluation and control of the impacts of any project and program of development on the environment” [11].

Niger has also long developed strategies for the sustainable management of its natural resources. Until recently, legislation addressed the environment primarily in its context of rural development with the Guiding Principles for a Rural Development Policy (1992), the Orientation Principles of the Rural Code (1993) and the Timber marketing legislation (1992). 

In the mid-1990s Niger reaffirmed its subscription to a sustainable development approach and several initiatives or programs were developed including the Plan for the National Environment and Sustainable Development (PNEDD), National Action Plan to Fight against Desertification and Promote Sustainable Land Management (PAN-LCD / GRN) and the National Strategy and Action Plan on Biological Diversity. Other important steps include the institutionalization of environmental impact assessments (1997), an Environmental Code promulgated in 1998 (Framework Law), together with a law on the protection of Wildlife, and a law on Water resources. In 2002, the decentralization laws announced the transfer of responsibilities on natural resources management to local communities.

The Ministry of Environment of Niger as the mission to ensure environmental protection, natural resources conservation and sustainable development, through securing a quality environment conducive for good health and well-being of fauna and flora, the promotion of of sustainable use of natural resources the restoration and maintenance of the ecosystem, ecological process and preserve biodiversity and raising public awareness and promoting understanding of linkages of the environment. The Ministry also cooperates with relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies, as well as the private sector, NGOs, and International organizations on environmental matters [12].

National context alignement with the EU Green Deal

The EU has a strong partnership with Niger’s government, aiming to achieve long-term development through a comprehensive and integrated approach. The EU considers Niger as a key country, in the Sahel region, in terms of addressing security and migration issues [13].

Overall,  the Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP) (2021-2027) identifies  three priority areas for EU's cooperation with Niger (i) governance, (ii) education and professional growth and (iii) growth and green economy [14].

EU Member States and financial institutions have also adopted two Team Europe Initiatives to support Niger regarding (i) Governance, Peace and Rights and (ii) Future Generations. The first initiative would have impact at the national and local level. At the national level this means good governance, rule of law and quality public services everywhere while at the territorial level it can be understood as the support for the emergence of secure centers of stabilisation, recovery and development in 3-4 departments under strong demographic pressure and influx of refugees and displaced people. 
The second initiative would help the improvement of the business environment including reforms and regulations, establishing opportunities between companies present in Niger (including European) and potential investors. It will also facilitate the access to financing, particularly for those  businesses in promising sectors; it will support for the establishment and operationalization of a more equitable legal framework with gender-based approach and strengthen the efficiency and inclusiveness of educational and health systems. The proposal also includes the development of adequate and green infrastructure, the strengthening of human capital through education and health, especially for girls and the development of legal private enterprises in promising sectors

Key Environmental-Development Challenges


Niger is a country that is particularly vulnerable to climate change and the risks that ensue with rising temperatures and unpredictability of rainfall. Three quarters of Niger are made up of the Saharan desert, thus classifying the country as mostly arid and partly semi-arid [16].  In Niger, climate impacts are compounding non-climate issues such as poverty, limited economic  diversification, and population increases to drive increases in livelihood vulnerability. Subject to climatic disasters, droughts and floods, the country is experiencing extremely serious economic and financial difficulties, and food security needs are urgent. About 40% of the population lives below the national poverty line (World Bank, 2018). Indeed, Niger is depending heavily on its natural resources and highly vulnerable to the predicted impacts of climate change. Thus, the impacts of climate change and their effects on the Nigerien population are significant [7].

Niger's economy is primarily rural, undiversified, and relies heavily on the extensive mining and exploitation of natural resources (the primary sector represents 50% of GDP). Most agricultural and pastoral activities are located in the Sahelian zone, where rainfall ranges from 200 to 600 mm / year.  Food insecurity is already an acute issue in   Niger, which ranks second last out of 189 countries when it comes to vulnerability to climate change in terms of food production and access [7] [16].