Social situation Great poverty

The Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world. The current United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) puts it last out of the 189 countries listed.

A man in a boat on the Niger River

A man in a boat on the Niger River

A man in a boat on the Niger River

According to World Bank data, in 2018 37.5 per cent of under-fives were underweight. More than 80 per cent of adults are illiterate. Rural areas in particular suffer from a lack of schools and qualified teaching staff. Although the last decade has seen a steady improvement in the school enrolment rate, roughly one third of schoolchildren drop out before having completed six years of primary school.

Only around 60 per cent of the population has access to clean drinking water; only about ten per cent is connected to a proper sanitary system; and health services are inadequate.

Despite a sharp reduction in infant mortality as a result of targeted vaccination campaigns, in 2018, 84 out of every 1,000 children were still dying before they reached the age of five. At 62 years, average life expectancy is low.