EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Niger’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has increased over the past decade. The Government of Niger (GON) is eager to attract FDI and has taken slow, deliberate steps to improve its business climate and appeal to foreign investors through reforms seeking to liberalize the economy, encourage privatization, and create new export processing zones. In late 2023, Niger expects its new China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) pipeline will come online and expects the pipeline to generate significant revenue. The World Bank reports real GDP growth will reach 6.9 percent in 2023, with an increase to 12.5 percent in 2024, due in large part to expected revenues from the pipeline.

In his second year in power, President Mohamed Bazoum has prioritized economic growth and development and has actively encouraged foreign investment, including from the United States. Over the past year, President Bazoum has reiterated the need for FDI in official visits abroad, including the U.S.-Africa Leaders Forum in December 2022, and has hosted several business forums to encourage investment from international partners such as the European Union and Turkey, for example. Sectors such as agriculture, petroleum, infrastructure, and mining have historically attracted significant investment.

In 2017, the GON created the High Council for Investment, an organization tasked with supporting and promoting FDI in Niger. In 2018, the GON established an electronic platform, the Guichet Unique du Commerce Exterieur, to simplify and streamline the procedures for importing and exporting goods from Niger.

Over the past year, U.S. firms have expressed greater interest in investing in Niger in sectors including energy and cybersecurity. However, challenges including insecurity and the presence of violent extremist organizations, as well as limited internet, road, and energy services and infrastructure, have been deterrents to U.S. firms seeking to invest in Niger.

Prospective investors are discouraged by Niger’s small markets, limited infrastructure, bureaucratic delays, shortages of local capital, and high transportation costs. Investors have also cited Niger’s limited pool of skilled labor, lack of regulatory clarity, and unreliable supply chains as challenges. Child labor also remains a challenge. While the Department of Labor found that Niger made moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor in 2021, children in Niger are subjected to the worst forms of child labor, including in the mining sector, sometimes as a result of human trafficking.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and the Governments of Benin and Niger signed the first regional compacts totaling $504 million, with additional contributions of $15 million from Benin and Niger, to support regional economic integration, trade, and cross-border collaboration. Support for the port of Cotonou-Niamey transit corridor is expected to boost infrastructure for trade and investments. President Bazoum has expressed his strong support for this to increase the investment attractiveness of Niger.

Due in part to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, Niger’s domestic food and agricultural input markets faced increased pressures. In 2022, Niger faced an unprecedented food crisis. The March 2022 Cadre Harmonisé found that 4.4 million people were acutely food insecure during the lean season (June – August), exacerbated by the global food price crisis,
supply chain disruptions and increased food and transportation costs. The World Bank reported Niger’s average annual inflation rate reached a 10-year high of 4.2 percent in 2022, an increase from 3.8 percent in 2021; however, Niger had the lowest inflation rate in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) region due to a better-than-average rainy season.

Table 1: Key Metrics and Rankings
Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address
TI Corruption Perceptions Index 2022 123 of 180 http://www.transparency.org/research/cpi/overview
Global Innovation Index 2022 125 of 132 https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/analysis-indicator
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, historical stock positions) 2021 N/A https://apps.bea.gov/international/factsheet
World Bank GNI per capita 2020 USD $590 http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GNP.PCAP.CD

Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment

The GON prioritizes attracting FDI and has slowly undertaken reforms to encourage foreign investment and increase trade. Niger offers numerous investment opportunities, particularly in mining, agriculture, livestock, energy, telecommunications, and infrastructure.

In 2018, the GON adopted the Public-Private Partnership law which has improved transparency and streamlined and digitized customs and taxation procedures.

The GON adopted a new Investment Code in 2014 which outlines provisions to protection FDI, details tax advantages, and guarantees fair treatment of investors regardless of their origin. The code also offers tax incentives for sectors the GON has identified as strategic priorities, including energy production, agriculture, livestock, fishing, housing, health, transportation, and education. In 2018, Niger adopted a Public-Private Partnership law which outlines Value Added Tax (VAT) exemptions on services directly linked to a project’s launch.

The GON has demonstrated a willingness to negotiate with prospective foreign investors on taxation and customs matters; however, following the government’s recent introduction of an electronic system for VAT exemptions, investors have faced difficulties in obtaining these exemptions in practice.

There are no laws or practices that differ significantly between how foreign investors, including U.S. investors, and domestic investors are treated.
In 2017, the GON established the High Council for Investment in Niger (HCIN), a platform for public-private dialogue. The HCIN seeks to improve Niger’s business environment to better attract FDI and is also an opportunity for the government to outline its investment priorities to potential investors.
The Nigerien government established the Nigerien Agency for the Promotion of Private Investment and Strategic Projects (ANPIPS) to help implement HCIN’s recommendations.

In addition, Niger’s Ministry of Commerce established an Institutional Framework for Improving and Tracking Business Climate Indictors office (Dispositif Institutionnel d’Amélioration et de Suivi du Climat des Affaires). The Ministry of Commerce intends to use this office to recommend sustainable reforms to better facilitate investment in Niger.

Niger prioritizes maintaining an ongoing dialogue with investors. The GON has hosted and participated in high-level conferences, summits, round tables, and meetings with investors.

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

In Niger, both foreign and domestic private entities have the right to establish and own business enterprises, but there are some restrictions for both foreign and domestic entities. The GON restricts foreign ownership and control over energy, minerals, and other sectors deemed critical to national security. In the extractives industry, the Nigerien government requires that any private company, foreign or domestic, awarded a mining permit must provide the government with a minimum 10 percent share of the company. The government also reserves the right to require that companies in the extractives industry provide the government with up to a 33 percent stake in their Nigerien operations. There have been no significant changes since the last ICS.

There are some general limits on foreign ownership. While the GON permits foreign ownership of land, foreign owners must obtain authorization from the Ministry of Planning.

Foreign and domestic private entities have the right to own and operate businesses in Niger. Niger’s Investment Code governs most activities except accounting, which the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) governs. The Mining Code governs the mining sector, and the Petroleum Code governs the petroleum sector, with regulations enforced through their respective ministries. Companies are protected against nationalization, expropriation or requisitioning, except for reasons of public utility.

The GON owns the country’s water resources through the Niger Water Infrastructure Corporation (SPEN), which was created in 2001. SPEN manages the state’s hydraulic infrastructure in urban and semi-urban areas, as well as project management. Concessions for water use may be granted to companies, generally by presidential decree.

Under Niger’s Investment Code, there is no formal investment screening or approval mechanism for inbound foreign investment. In practice, the GON does conduct due diligence on foreign investors seeking to conduct business in Niger.

Other Investment Policy Reviews

The government has not undergone any third-party investment policy reviews through multilateral organizations in the past five years.

Civil society organizations such as the national chapter of Publish What You Pay (PWYP)/ROTAB, Mouvement pour la Promotion de la Citoyenneté Responsable (MPCR), Alternative Citizens Space (AEC), and Tournons La Page (TLP) have attempted to advocate for increased transparency on public expenditures, including contracts in the uranium mining sector and contracts with foreign investors such as the CNPC for oil extraction and refining. TLP published concerns regarding closing civic space, especially regarding restrictions on civil society efforts to increase transparency and combat corruption in their 2022 report. https://tournonslapage.org/fr/outils-et-ressources/Rapport%20Niger-Tournons-la-Page_web-LD%20(1).pdf

Business Facilitation

Niger’s government is focused on implementing reforms that ease the process of starting and operating a business in Niger. As part of this effort, Niger established the Maison de l’Entreprise (Enterprise House) which is mandated to simplify the procedures required to register a business.

All businesses must register in-person. The GON does not have an online business registration process. The GON has a website that details the steps in the registration process: https://niger.eregulations.org/procedure/2/1?l=fr 

Companies can register in personal at the Maison de l’Entreprise, the GON’s one-stop-shop for business registration. Applicants must file the documents with the Commercial Registry (Registre du Commerce et du Crédit Mobilier – RCCM), which has a representative at the one-stop shop.

At the Maison de l’Entreprise, companies can also register for taxes and obtain a tax identification number (Numéro d’Identification Fiscale – NIF), register with social security (Caisse nationale de Sécurité Sociale – CNSS), and with Niger’s employment agency (Agence Nationale pour la Promotion de l’Emploi – ANPE). Employees can register with social security at the same location.

The business registration process takes approximately three days, down from over 14 days in 2016.

Outward Investment

Niger has no specific outward investment policy. It has entered into bilateral treaties, however, with a number of countries.

Niger does not restrict domestic investors from investing abroad.

Niger has active Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) with Germany and Switzerland. The GON has signed BITs with Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt, but these treaties are not active. The countries with which Niger has concluded BITs can be found at:

https://investmentpolicy.unctad.org/international-investment-agreements/countries/152/niger  .

Niger is eligible for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and can export goods duty-free to the U.S. market.

Niger does not have a bilateral taxation treaty with the United States. Niger is not a member of the OECD Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting.

Niger is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which seeks to create a regional free-trade zone with approximately 300 million inhabitants. The ECOWAS Trade Liberalization System, approved in 1979, has yet to be fully implemented. Niger has signed the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA), a step toward a continent-wide liberalized market for goods and services. The AfCFTA entered into force in May 2019 and trading under the AfCFTA Agreement began on January 1, 2021. As of February 20, 2023, 46 of the 54 signatories have deposited their instruments of ratification with the AfCFTA Secretariat, including Niger.

Transparency of the Regulatory System

Although the GON has transparent policies and laws to foster market-based competition, these are not enforced equally. Corruption and limited capacity in relevant government ministries and agencies have limited the implementation and enforcement of these policies.

The Nigerien government enacted a new Competition and Consumer Protection Law in 2015, replacing a 1992 law that was never operational.

Niger adheres to WAEMU’s Community Competition Law. Niger is also a member of ECOWAS and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). All three organizations and communities provide benefits and guarantees to private companies.

There are no informal regulatory processes managed by nongovernmental organizations or private sector associations.

Regulations are developed via a system of ministerial collaborations and discussions. At the national level, the process begins with consultations at the State Council level, and continues with the Council of Ministers, who approve the draft text. Draft regulations then move to Parliament for discussion. After Parliament reviews, regulations are first approved by the Constitutional Council. The President grants final approval, after which regulations are published and available for distribution.

For the telecommunications, procurement, and energy sectors, regulations are established and exercised at the national level. There are exceptions. For example, the Energy Sector Regulatory Agency, an independent administrative authority, has the authority to regulate the energy sector at the national level, but has only enforced regulations at the local level in Niger’s major cities.

While legal, regulatory, and accounting systems exist, their transparency is limited due to corruption and low capacity in the GON’s ministries and agencies. Niger’s legal procedures, including the Tax Code, Customs Code, Investment Code, Mining Code, Petroleum Code, Labor Code and Commercial Acts – adhere to OHADA guidelines. Publicly listed companies adhere to OHADA’s accounting standards.

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosures are required to facilitate transparency and help investors and consumers distinguish between high- and low-quality investment.

Niger does not have a centralized online location where all key regulatory actions are published. However, at Niger’s Directorate of National Archives, these regulatory actions are available in hard copy.

Foreign and domestic investors, however, can find detailed information on administrative procedures applicable to investment at the following site: http://niger.eregulations.org/ . The site includes information on income generating operations including the number of steps, name and contact details of the entities and persons in charge of procedures, required documents and conditions, costs, processing time, and legal basis justifying the procedures.

The General Inspectorate of Administrative Governance and the Regional Directorates of Archives are two oversight mechanisms to ensure the government follows its administrative processes.

No major regulatory system changes, including enforcement reforms, have been announced since the last ICS report.

At the administrative level, ministers, governors, prefects, and mayors have the authority to enforce regulations. The enforcement process is not generally made accountable to the public.

Civil society organizations have reported that public finances and debt obligations are not sufficiently transparent. The U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Technical Assistance, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Union are supporting Niger’s efforts to improve transparency of both public finances and debt obligations.

International Regulatory Considerations

Niger is a part of ECOWAS, a 15-member West African trade block. Niger’s national regulatory systems generally adhere to ECOWAS guidelines concerning business regulations.

Niger is a member of the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development’s international network of transparent investment procedures:  http://niger.eregulations.org/ 

Niger is a member of the WTO, but as a lower income member, it is exempt from Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs) obligations. The GON does not notify all draft technical regulations to the WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT). Niger ratified a Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in August 2015, and has made some progress on implementing TFA requirements.

Legal System and Judicial Independence

Niger’s legal system is a legacy of the French colonial system. Investors report the legal infrastructure is insufficient, and it is difficult to use the courts to enforce ownership of property or contracts. While Niger’s laws protect property and commercial rights, in practice the administration of justice can be slow and unequal.

Niger has a written commercial law that is heavily based on the OHADA. Niger has been an OHADA member since 1995. OHADA aims to harmonize business laws in 16 African countries by adopting common rules adapted to their economies, setting up appropriate judicial procedures, and encouraging arbitration for the settlement of contractual disputes. OHADA regulations on business and commercial law include definition and classification of legal persons engaged in trade, procedures for credit and recovery of debts, means of enforcement, bankruptcy, receivership, and arbitration. In 2015, Niger established a Commercial Court.

Niger’s Constitution states that the judicial system operates independently of the executive branch. However, political appointees at the Ministry of Justice oversee the personnel management process for assignments and promotions, a practice that has weakened judicial independence and raised concerns about impartiality in the judicial process. Businesses and civil society contacts report both the civil and criminal justice systems struggle with improper influence, which is widespread across institutions, with prosecutors receiving the lowest scores for independence. Businesses assess that the current judicial process is not procedurally competent, fair, and reliable.

Regulations or enforcement actions are appealable and adjudicated in the court system. However, it is extremely rare for individuals or corporations to challenge government regulations or enforcement actions in court due to high financial costs and administrative obstacles.

Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

Niger offers guarantees to foreign direct investors pertaining to security of capital and investment, compensation for expropriation, and equality of treatment. Foreign investors may be permitted to transfer income derived from invested capital and from liquidated investments, provided the original investment is made in convertible currencies.

Law 2015-08 from 2015 established a specialized Commercial Court in Niamey. This is a mixed court with professional magistrates, who are lawyers by training, who work in tandem with lay-judges, and who generally come from the commercial sector. The concept was to have commercial disputes resolved by a panel of judges with legal training, combined with judges who have experience in the commercial sector. The Commercial Court has 26 judges, who make up five chambers. Unlike U.S. trial courts, where cases are handled by a single judge, in Niger, cases are adjudicated by a panel of judges. After passage of the law in 2015, the Commercial Court began operations in 2016.

Judicial decisions that have come out in the past years can be found on the Commerce tribunal of Niamey website:

http://www.tribunalcommerceniamey.ne/ 

From December 1 to 31, 2020, 453 cases, including 24 inherited from 2019, were in summary proceedings, of which 351 were the subject of a judgment and whose minutes are available, 38 conciliation, 68 cases canceled and 02 remaining and postponed to 2021: the average processing time being 37 days.

The GON established a “Guichet Unique du Commerce Exterieur du Niger,” or Single Window for Foreign Trade, a website for investment with that provides relevant laws, rules, and procedures for investors seeking to import, export, and transport goods in Niger. https://guce.gouv.ne/fr/ 

Competition and Antitrust Laws

The Ministries of Trade and Finance review transactions (mergers, acquisitions, etc.) and conduct (cartels, monopolization) for competition-related concerns. In 2019, Niger adopted a new competition law, infractions and penalties related to consumer protection.

Niger also adheres to the WAEMU’s Community Competition Law.

There were no significant competition cases on which there have been developments over the past year.

Expropriation and Compensation

The Investment Code guarantees that no business will be subject to nationalization or expropriation except when deemed “in the public interest” as prescribed by the law. The code requires that the government compensate any expropriated business with just and equitable payment. In practice, there have been a number of expropriations of commercial and personal property, most of which claimants allege were not conducted in a manner consistent with Nigerien law requiring “just and prior compensation.” In practice, the government rarely compensates property owners after it expropriates property.

There is a history of alleged expropriations. To facilitate the construction of the Kandaji Dam, for example, the government offered to resettle approximately 38,000 individuals and their livestock. The government created an agency to conduct all resettlement related activities upstream and downstream of the dam construction. The agency conducted a census to determine who would be impacted, and public consultations were made to meet the populations and collect their concerns and complaints. The process is ongoing, and some individuals have expressed concern with the proposed amount of compensation, as well as their ability to continue to farm on the land at proposed resettlement sites.

In cases of expropriations, claimants and community leaders have alleged a lack of due process and have voiced their concerns in community forums and the press. Many of the impacted individuals lack the knowledge and ability to exercise their rights under the law. High rates of illiteracy, complexity of the legal system, and lack of resources to retain competent legal counsel present barriers to claimants. Even in situations where educated and wealthy business owners have had their property expropriated, legal challenges to expropriation are not lodged.

The government has not taken measures alleged to be indirect expropriation.

Dispute Settlement

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

Niger is a member state of the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (ICSID Convention, also known as the Washington Convention) and a signatory of the New York Convention of 1958.

There is no specific domestic legislation providing for enforcement of awards under the 1958 New York Convention or the ICSID Convention. Niger does not have a record of extrajudicial actions against foreign investors.

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

Niger’s Investment Code states foreign nationals may seek remedy through the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes.

Over the past 10 years, there were no investment disputes that involved a U.S. person.

Local courts are generally reluctant to recognize foreign arbitral awards issues against the government.

Niger does not have a record of extrajudicial actions against foreign investors.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

The Investment Code provides for settlement of disputes by arbitration or by recourse to the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Disputes on Investment.

Niger has an operational center for mediation and arbitration of business disputes. The center’s stated aim is to maintain investor confidence by eliminating long and expensive procedures traditionally involved in the resolution of business disputes.

Generally, local courts are reluctant to recognize and enforce foreign arbitral awards.

Information on SOEs involved in investment disputes is not publicly available.

Bankruptcy Regulations

Niger has laws related to insolvency and/or bankruptcy. Creditors have the right to object to decisions accepting or rejecting a creditor’s claims and may vote on debtors’ bankruptcy reorganization plans. However, the creditors’ rights are limited: creditors do not have the right to receive from a reorganized firm as much as they may have received from one that had been liquidated. Likewise, the law does not require that creditors be consulted on matters pertaining to an insolvency framework following the declaration of bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is not criminalized.

Investment Incentives

Niger offers incentives that are dependent on the size of the investment and number of jobs that will be created. The Investment Code offers VAT-inclusive tax exemptions depending on the size of the business. Potential tax exemptions include start-up costs, property, industrial and commercial profits, services and materials required for production, and energy use. Exemption periods range from 10 to 15 years and include waivers of duties and license fees. There are no restrictions on foreign companies opening a local office in Niger, though they must obtain a business certificate from the Ministry of Trade.

The Investment Code has established three different tiers of incentives for investors, based on minimum investment amounts, listed below:

  • Tier 1: Promotional tier, for investments of 25 million CFA francs (approximately $40,000) or above.
  • Tier 2: Priority tier, for investments of 50 million CFA francs (approximately $81,000) or above.
  • Tier 3: Conventional tier, for large businesses with investments of at least 2 billion CFA francs (about $3.25 million).

The GON has a practice of jointly financing FDI projects through its Public-Private Partnership law.

The GON does offer incentives for net-zero and clean energy investments. During the investment phase, approved investments are exempt from import duties and taxes on material and equipment needed for the project that are not available locally. During the operations phase, companies are exempt from the profit tax.

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation

In 2016, the GON approved a new Customs Code. The new code conforms with the requirements outline by WAEMU’s Community Customs Codes and ECOWAS.

In 2019, Niger created a free industrial export zone which confers certain tax advantages on the companies operating in this zone.
Niger is a member of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ZLECAF).

Performance and Data Localization Requirements

While Niger does require that companies attempt to hire a Nigerien before applying for a work visa for a foreign national, in practice the rule is not consistently enforced. In addition, it allows for a company to appeal to the Ministry of Labor, if a foreigner is refused a work visa. There are also no localization requirements for senior management or boards of directors.

There are no excessively onerous visa, residence, work permit, or similar requirements inhibiting mobility of foreign investors and their employees.
In principle, there are no government-imposed conditions restricting investments beyond limited sectors for national security as cited in the section on “Limits on Foreign Control.”

There are no forced localization policies requiring investors to use domestic goods in content.

During the investment phase, the approved investments are exempt from import duties and taxes on material and equipment needed for the project that are not available locally. The advantages provided during the operational phase include exemption from profit tax (35 percent). Apart from these regimes, two additional incentive schemes are part of the investment code. These apply to companies operating in remote regions, manufacturing activities of production or transformation, energy, agro-industry, and low-cost housing sectors.

Performance requirements and investment incentives are applied uniformly to both domestic and foreign investors,

Niger does not require foreign IT providers to turn over source code or provide access to encryption.

In 2019, the GON established the High Authority for the Protection of Personal Data (HAPDP) which is responsible for the establishment of code of conduct related to the protection and transfer of personal data.

Niger has no rules or regulations regarding local data storage.

The Nigerien High Authority for the Personal Data Protection (HAPDP) responsible for overseeing data protection issues.

Real Property

Property rights and interests are not always enforced, particularly when ownership is in dispute or involves community-owned or rural land. Mortgages are relatively new but do exist.

While foreign ownership of land is permitted, it requires authorization from the Ministry of Planning. The 2018 Finance Law changed tax policies on foreign ownership.

There are no estimates available on the proportion of land that does not have a clear title, but it is likely over 10 percent. The GON does not have a defined effort to identify property owners and register land titles independent of active transactions.

Traditional use rights are at the core of land disputes between Nigerien farmers and traditional nomadic herders.

Intellectual Property Rights

As a signatory to the 1983 Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Niger provides national protection under Nigerien patent and trademark laws to foreign businesses. Niger is also a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and a signatory to the Universal Copyright Convention.

The GON has not enacted any new IP related laws or regulations in the past year.

Niger does not regularly track and report on seizures of counterfeit goods. There is no specific information about working conditions in the production or sale of counterfeit goods. While there have been some cases of seizure, government statistics are not available. Enforcement of IPR violations is weak due to limited capacity.

Niger is not included in the United States Trade Representative (USTR) Special 301 Report or the Notorious Markets List.

For additional information about national laws and points of contact at local IP offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles at http://www.wipo.int/directory/en/. 

Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment

Niger’s government welcomes foreign portfolio investment where possible, but its capital markets are extremely underdeveloped.

Niger does not have its own stock market. However, the country shares a regional stock market, the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM) with its fellow WAEMU member states, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Senegal and Togo.

Although an effective regulatory system exists, and policies in fact encourage portfolio investment, there is little market liquidity and there are limited investment opportunities. The agency UMOA-Titres (AUT), a regional agency to support public securities issuance and management in the WAEMU, is dedicated to helping member states use capital markets to raise the resources they need to fund their economic development policies at reasonable cost.

The government works closely with the IMF to ensure that payments and transfers for current international transactions do not have restrictions.

Credit is allocated on market terms through large corporations. Although foreign investors are generally able to get credit on the local market, limited domestic availability tends to drive investors to international markets. To access credit, private sector actors often turn to international sources. Private actors in the agriculture, livestock, forestry, and fisheries sectors (which account for more than 40 percent of GDP) receive less than one percent of total bank credit.

Money and Banking System

According to the Central Bank, 82% of the active population, or more than 8.145 million people, are excluded from financial services. The percentage is even higher for women and Nigeriens living in rural areas, and over 89% of women and 86% of rural Nigeriens are excluded from financial services.

The banking sector in Niger is generally positioned to withstand some shocks.

As of December 31, 2020, the resources mobilized by the banking system amounted to 1250.67 billion CFA ($2.23 billion), an increase of 164.73 billion CFA ($294.1 million) or 15.2 percent compared to the same period of 2019. Foreign banks control about 80 percent of the sector’s assets, with SONIBANK, BIA Niger, Ecobank and Bank of Africa (BOA) being the largest banks operating in the country.

The Central Bank of West African States governs Niger’s banking institutions and sets minimum reserve requirements through its national Central Bank representation.

There are no restrictions on a foreigner’s ability to establish a bank account, and foreign banks and their subsidiaries operate within the economy without undue restrictions.

Foreigners must establish residency in order to establish a bank account.

Foreign Exchange and Remittances

Foreign Exchange

There are some restrictions and limitations placed on foreign investors in converting funds associated with an investment. Although funds can be converted into any world currency, the government must approve any conversions above 2 million West African CFA franc (approximately 3,364 USD). The West African CFA franc is pegged to the Euro and remains stable.

Remittance Policies

Niger’s Investment Code offers the possibility to transfer income of any kind, including capital investment and the proceeds of investment liquidation, regardless of the destination.

There are no limitations or waiting periods on remittances, though the Ministry of Finance must approve currency conversions above 2 million CFA (approximately 3.250 USD).

Sovereign Wealth Funds

Niger does not maintain a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF).

State-owned enterprises (SOEs) in Niger are defined as companies in which the GON is the majority stakeholder. They play a major role in Niger’s economy and dominate or heavily influence a number of key sectors, including energy (NIGELEC), telecommunications (Niger Telecom), and water resources (SEEN and SPEN), construction and retail markets (SOCOGEM); petroleum products distribution (SONIDEP); mining (SOPAMIN, SOMAIR, COMINAK, SONICHAR); oil refinery (SORAZ), textile (SOTEX) and hotels (SPEG).

A published list of SOEs is available on the Ministry of Finance’s website: http://www.finances.gouv.ne/index.php/actualites/autres-publications/file/930-arre-te-n-0368-mf-sg-dgep-pe 

SOEs do not receive non-market-based advantages from the host government. According to the 2016 Public Expenditures and Financial Accountability (PEFA) draft document, there are eight wholly owned SOEs, and six SOEs majority-owned by the state. State-owned enterprises are answerable to their supervisory ministry and send certified accounting records to the supervisory ministries and to the Public Enterprises and State Portfolio Directorate (DEP/ PE). SOE record-keeping is expected to comply with SYSCOHADA accounting system standards.

There are no laws or rules that offer preferential treatment to SOEs. They are subject to the same tax rules and burdens (although many remain in tax arrears) as the private sector and are subject to budget constraints.

There are no records available to determine whether SOEs competing in the domestic marketplace are also competing internationally.

Niger is not a member of the OECD and does not adhere to the OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance for SOEs.

Privatization Program

Most economic sectors, with the exceptions of those where SOEs remain in operation, have been privatized. The state-owned oil-distribution company (SONIDEP) no longer has a monopoly over oil exportation; exportation authority is now equally shared between SONIDEP and the CNPC. Although the national electricity company (NIGELEC) continues to hold a virtual monopoly on electricity distribution, steps were taken in 2016 to allow third party access to the country’s electricity grid, a first step towards future privatization. Competition in the telecommunications sector forced the GON to combine state-owned fixed line telecommunications provider SONITEL with the state-owned mobile provider Sahelcom to form a new parastatal, known as Niger Telecom. Although the state continues to hold a monopoly on fixed-line telephones, the mobile communications sector is open to competition, with several foreign competitors in the market.

Foreign investors can participate in the country’s privatization program.

Privatization programs are operated by the ministry that currently controls the company. The government issues a call for bids after an independent audit firm analyzes the company’s business operations. The bidding process is typically announced through local media.

There is a general awareness of expectations regarding responsible business conduct (RBC), as well as business’ obligations to proactively conduct due diligence to ensure they are doing no harm.

For example, in the extractive industries sector, the GON has unevenly focused on ensuring existing obligations are met and that communities benefit from investments. Nigerien law states that 15 percent of revenues derived from extractive industries must be returned to the municipality affected by the project. However, such payments are difficult to track and the GON is not active or engaged in follow-up. Local governments report not receiving or receiving with significant delay any retroceded mining and oil revenues.

The GON attempts to enforce domestic laws related to human rights, labor rights, consumer protection, and environmental protections, and has established National Action Plans in several of these areas. However, a lack of government resources to enforce these laws has limited their effectiveness.

There have been no high-profile instances of private sector impact on human rights in the recent past.

The government has not put in place corporate governance, accounting, and executive compensation standards to protect shareholders.

Niger is not a member of the OECD and does not adhere to the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Afflicted and High-Risk Areas.

Niger was officially readmitted to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in 2020 after a three-year absence. The GON originally joined EITI in 2007 but withdrew in 2017 after EITI’s Board decided to suspend Niger due to inadequate progress. Niger does not participate in the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights.

Niger’s next Validation against the 2019 EITI Standard began on April 1, 2023. In accordance with the Validation procedure, the EITI International Secretariat sought stakeholder views on Niger’s progress in implementing the EITI Standard between February 2020 and April 2023.

The country does not have a private security industry.

Additional Resources

Department of State

Department of the Treasury

Department of Labor

Climate Issues

The GON has a national strategy to enhance environmental protection and President Bazoum attended COP27. The GON is primarily focused on mitigating the effects of climate change in Niger.

There are limited regulatory incentives to achieve policy outcomes that preserve biodiversity, clean air, or other desirable ecological and climate benefits.

Private sector companies are engaged in encouraging reforestation, including efforts to revive the Great Green Wall.

The constitution, adopted in 2010, contains provisions for greater transparency in government reporting of revenues from the extractive industries, as well as the declaration of personal assets by government officials, including the President. In April 2021, President Bazoum submitted a sworn statement of his assets to the National Court of Auditors and identified combatting corruption as one of his main priorities in his five-year plan. While the National Court of Auditors/Supreme Audit Institution publishes the asset declarations of public officials, many Nigeriens report that officials underreport or refuse to report their assets.

The High Authority for the Fight against Corruption and Related Offenses (HALCIA) has the authority to investigate corruption charges within all government agencies. HALCIA is limited by a lack of resources and a regulatory process that is still developing. Despite the limitations, HALCIA was able to conduct a number of successful investigations during 2020; however, criminal prosecutions of corruption cases were limited.

Anti-corruption laws extend to family members of government officials and to all political parties.

Legislation on the Prevention and Repression of Corruption was passed into law in January 2018.

Niger has laws in place designed to counter conflicts-of-interest in awarding contracts or government procurements; however, these laws and regulations are not regularly enforced.

The HALCIA is tasked with working with private companies to establish internal codes of conduct that, among other things, prohibit bribery of public officials. However, such internal controls are rare and are only typically found in larger, foreign companies.

Some private companies reported using internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials.

Niger has joined several international and regional anti-corruption initiatives including the UN Convention against Corruption in 2008, the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption in 2005, and the ECOWAS Protocol on Combating Corruption in 2006. Niger is also member state of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), which is an ECOWAS institution responsible for facilitating the adoption and implementation of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Financing of Terrorism (CFT) in West Africa. GIABA, a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body published a Mutual Evaluation Report in August 2021. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), with funding from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Counterterrorism supported activities in 2021-2022 focused on strengthening regulatory supervision and interagency cooperation on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) in West Africa, including in Niger.
The GON does not provide protection to NGOs involved in investigating corruption.

U.S. firms have identified the perception of corruption as an obstacle to FDI. Press reports indicate corruption is most pervasive in government procurement, award of licenses or concessions, and customs.

Resources to Report Corruption

Contact at the government agency or agencies that are responsible for combating corruption:

Mai Moussa Elhadji Bashir
President
High Authority to Combat Corruption and Related Infractions (HALCIA)
BP 550 Niamey – Niger
(227) 20 35 20 94/ 95/ 96/ 97
contact@halcia.ne

Contact at a “watchdog” organization:

Wada Maman
President
Transparency International Niger (TI-N)
BP 10423, Niamey – Niger
(227) 20 32 00 96 / 96 28 79 69
anlcti@yahoo.fr 

In 2021, President Bazoum was elected in the first democratic transfer of executive power in Niger’s history. The election itself was non-violent; however, there were brief protests when election results were announced.

While political violence is rare, there are occasional protests and strikes, which stem from the non-payment of salaries for public employees, concerns over the lack of government funding for education, and general dissatisfaction with economic and social conditions.

Over the past ten years, attacks by violent extremist organizations have resulted in damage to projects and installations, including solar panels and fuel storage tanks. The perception of insecurity in Niger and the high security costs companies incur in securing their projects and installations have been deterrents to FDI.

Insecurity is a challenge throughout Niger. On October 5, 2022, the U.S. Department of State issued a travel advisory for Niger urging U.S. citizens to reconsider travel. Crime, terrorism, and kidnapping are concerns, and violent crime, such as armed robbery, is common. Terrorist groups continue plotting kidnappings and possible attacks in Niger. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting foreign and local government facilities and areas frequented by Westerners. Terrorists operate in the areas bordering Mali, Libya, Burkina Faso, and throughout northern Niger. The U.S. Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Niger’s border regions, particularly the Malian border area, Diffa region, and the Lake Chad region. Mali-based extremist groups have crossed the border and conducted multiple lethal attacks on Nigerien security forces.

Unskilled labor is readily available in Niger, but skilled labor resources are limited. Most workers are in the agricultural sector. As an ECOWAS member, Niger must accept workers from neighboring ECOWAS states; however, the number of workers from other ECOWAS countries is relatively low.

The informal economy and informal labor are predominant in Niger.

Niger has a shortage of skilled and specialized workers in all sectors, including education, health, and agriculture. The GON has encouraged diaspora members to return to Niger to provide these skills and is also asking private sector companies to develop vocational training programs to increase the number of skilled workers.
Niger’s Labor Code requires that firms hire Nigerien nationals. Informally, the government has also encouraged firms to provide vocational training programs for Nigerien nationals, to ensure they gain the skills needed to successfully compete for future positions requiring skilled labor.

There are restrictions on employers adjusting employment to respond to fluctuating market conditions. Employers are responsible for consulting with the Labor Inspector prior to adjusting employment. If an employee is laid off for economic reasons, the employer must provide severance pay and a non-taxable allowance equal to one month’s gross salary.

Labor laws are typically modified, rather than waived, to attract or retain investment.

Niger does have labor dispute resolution mechanisms in place. The Labor Code lays out clear procedures for dispute resolution mechanisms in its Title VII on labor disputes. Labor hearings are public except at the reconciliation stage.

During the last year, there were no strikes that posed an investment risk.

There are serious questions of compliance in practice with international labor standards. The International Labor Organization has identified gaps in law and practice, including the need to formulate a coherent national policy on occupational health services and ensure that workers who have removed themselves from a work situation which they have reasonable justification to believe presents an imminent and serious danger to their life or health are protected from undue consequences.

There were no labor related laws or regulations enacted during the last year.

The U.S. Development Finance Corporation (DFC, formerly OPIC), in collaboration with DFC, signed a $6 million loan portfolio guaranty with Orabank in 2021. The loan portfolio guaranty will improve access to finance for USAID beneficiaries involved in agricultural value chains. The DFC is actively seeking to strengthen its portfolio in the country, and additional projects in the energy and mining sectors are under consideration.

In 2022 the DFC also provided a guarantee for Caisse Régionale de Refinancement Hypothécaire (CRRH), the regional mortgage refinance institution that serves banks in WAEMU countries, including Niger. The DFC guarantee is intended to facilitate CRRH’s access to the U.S. bond market.

Niger has a bilateral agreement on investment guaranties, signed in 1962.

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy
Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) 2021 $15,036 2021 $14,920 www.worldbank.org/en/country
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A N/A  N/A BEA data available at https://apps.bea.gov/international/factsheet/
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A N/A N/A BEA data available at https://apps.bea.gov/international/factsheet/
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP N/A N/A 2021 55.3% UNCTAD data available at

https://unctad.org/topic/investment/world-investment-report

*Host Country Data Source: Niger’s National Institute of Statistics

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
Direct Investment from/in Counterpart Economy Data
From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions)
Inward Direct Investment Outward Direct Investment
Total Inward Amount 100% Total Outward Amount 100%
China $5,110 64% Data Not Available   X%
France $2,109 26%     X%
Turkiye $365 5%      
United Kingdom $205 3%      
Ivory Coast $192 2%      
“0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000.

U.S. Embassy Niamey
BP 11201, Niamey, Niger
+227-20-72-81-58
NigerICS@state.gov 

On This Page

  1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  2. 1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment
    1. Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment
    2. Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment
    3. Other Investment Policy Reviews
    4. Business Facilitation
    5. Outward Investment
  3. 2. Bilateral Investment and Taxation Treaties
  4. 3. Legal Regime
    1. Transparency of the Regulatory System
    2. International Regulatory Considerations
    3. Legal System and Judicial Independence
    4. Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment
    5. Competition and Antitrust Laws
    6. Expropriation and Compensation
    7. Dispute Settlement
      1. ICSID Convention and New York Convention
      2. Investor-State Dispute Settlement
      3. International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts
    8. Bankruptcy Regulations
  5. 4. Industrial Policies
    1. Investment Incentives
    2. Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation
    3. Performance and Data Localization Requirements
  6. 5. Protection of Property Rights
    1. Real Property
    2. Intellectual Property Rights
  7. 6. Financial Sector
    1. Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment
    2. Money and Banking System
    3. Foreign Exchange and Remittances
      1. Foreign Exchange
      2. Remittance Policies
    4. Sovereign Wealth Funds
  8. 7. State-Owned Enterprises
    1. Privatization Program
  9. 8. Responsible Business Conduct
    1. Additional Resources
    2. Climate Issues
  10. 9. Corruption
    1. Resources to Report Corruption
  11. 10. Political and Security Environment
  12. 11. Labor Policies and Practices
  13. 12. U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), and Other Investment Insurance or Development Finance Programs
  14. 13. Foreign Direct Investment Statistics
  15. 14. Contact for More Information
2023 Investment Climate Statements: Niger
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