Historical building in Zinder, Niger

Niger An agricultural nation in the Sahel zone

Rich in mineral resources, development-oriented, and reasonably stable politically after returning to democratic rule in 2011, but surrounded by fragile states and desperately poor: that would be one way of summing up the situation in the Niger.

Straight to
A man in a boat on the Niger River

The West African country gained its independence from France in 1960. The decades that followed were marked by a changing parade of military governments and several coups. From 1999 to 2009, the Niger was governed by the democratically elected President Mamadou Tandja under whose leadership the country managed to attain a certain degree of stability. Hopes that the Niger would achieve democratisation and economic development went unfulfilled, however, as Tandja’s rule became increasingly autocratic.

Having refused to step down, in 2009, after two terms in office as prescribed under the country’s constitution, Tandja was ousted in a military coup in 2010. A new constitution affording more civil rights was devised, which was approved by the people of the Niger in a referendum. In early 2011, elections were held at the municipal, regional and national levels. Mahamadou Issoufou, a long-time opposition leader, won the presidential elections in 2011; in 2016 he was re-elected for a further term in office.

In February 2021, the country saw the first ever transition from one democratically elected leader to another. The winner of the presidential elections, in which Issoufou was not allowed to participate after two terms in office, was former interior minister Mohamed Bazoum of the governing Party for Democracy and Socialism (Parti nigérien pour la démocratie et le socialisme, PNDS).

The Niger government has set itself ambitious development goals. They include reducing poverty and food insecurity, strengthening and consolidating democracy, improving the country’s governance, promoting girls' education, boosting economic development and stabilising the security situation.

German development cooperation with the Niger

Defence Minister Pistorius and Development Minister Schulze arriving in Niger

After the Niger returned to democracy, Germany's development cooperation activities, which had been temporarily suspended, were resumed in 2011. The most recent government negotiations between Germany and the Niger took place in June 2021, with around 70 million euros being committed for a two-year period. In addition, the country receives funding under various multilateral and regional initiatives, including resilience programmes of the World Food Programme (WFP), UNICEF and the World Bank.

The focus of cooperation with the Niger is on two core areas:

  • Peaceful and inclusive societies
    Creating efficient, responsive administrative structures at the local level
  • A world without hunger
    Productive agriculture and the expansion of small-scale irrigation

In addition to that, the Federal Republic of Germany is also supporting the Republic of the Niger in the areas of population development and family planning and in strengthening health systems, especially in the field of reproductive health.

Spice trade on the market in Niamey, Niger

Core area “Peaceful and inclusive societies” Strengthening municipal structures Internal link

Germany is assisting the Niger in developing local governance structures in a variety of ways. For instance, development plans have been drawn up for projects in selected municipalities. All groups within society were involved in drawing up these plans.

A boy carries live chickens through the market in Niamey.

Core area “Transformation of agriculture and food systems” Protecting natural resources Internal link

The majority of the Niger’s surface area is covered by the Sahara, with the rest of the country being part of the semi-arid Sahel zone. Only a small part of the country is suitable for farming. Germany is supporting the Niger in protecting natural resources and in restoring land that has been depleted so that it can once more be used for agriculture, forestry and grazing. Programmes concentrate on the regions of Tahoua, Agadez and Tillabéri.

Current situation

Political situation
Men in Niamey, Niger, reading newspapers
Social situation
A man in a boat on the Niger River
Economic situation
Woman in front of a community garden in Maradi, Niger
Migration and displacement
Girls who fled Nigeria to Niger during a math lesson in Bosso, Niger

As at: 25/03/2022