Niger, an emerging democracy landlocked in the increasingly unstable Sahel region, consistently ranks at or near the bottom of the United Nations Human Development Index of all countries. Despite increased economic growth catalyzed by an expanding extractive industry sector (including uranium, gold, and petroleum reserves), poor infrastructure, extremely low education levels, and multiple concurrent natural disasters due to the country’s vulnerability to climate change have limited broad- based development. Economic progress is further restricted by an explosive demographic trend that essentially doubles the population every twenty years – one of the highest fertility rates in the world. These challenges, coupled with multiple armed political-religious conflict on the Nigerian and Malian borders and an active Al-Qaeda presence in northern Niger, risk reversing the important strides made in the past few years in Niger.
In areas where communities are suffering from the effects of poor harvests, extreme poverty, high food prices, a locust threat, and conflict spilling over from Mali, USAID is committing to designing and implementing new programs and coordinate them with existing US Government assistance investments. Programs will scale up adaptations already underway and leverage programs being implemented by other actors to enhance resilience against future shocks in some of Niger’s most vulnerable communities. Additional investments are targeting improved health and education, and strengthening the country’s democratic institutions while promoting peace and stability. In fiscal year 2012, USAID investments in Niger were located in all eight regions of the country through a range of implementing partners and programs.
Last updated: February 25, 2015