Progress towards a more inclusive, peaceful, and resilient Niger, improving the economic and social well-being of its communities

The 2022–2027 Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS) goal reflects the long-term vision of USAID/Niger to support progress toward inclusion, peace, and resilience to unlock greater capacity for locally-led development. Over the next five years, the Mission will partner with communities, civil society, the private sector, other donors, and the Government of Niger (GoN) to build capacity and commitment toward improving the economic and social well-being of Niger. USAID/Niger will work to elevate the voices of all Nigeriens, including women, youth, nomads, and other marginalized communities, and support the foundations for more enduring peace and stability, while reducing community and institutional vulnerability to recurrent shocks from climate, conflict, and disease.

As violent extremism extends its grip and food insecurity escalates, the multidimensional poverty across Niger is compounding the pressures on communities grappling with increasingly severe recurrent crises. Historically weak governance systems, characterized by high levels of corruption, fail to extend basic services and leave critical gaps in health, education, and administrative service provision.There is an immense need for development support across Niger to break this cycle of fragility. Despite these challenges, the Mission worked alongside the GoN, civil society, other donors, development actors, and communities to identify strategic opportunities.The recent democratic elections, the discovery of immense groundwater resources, and an active civil society are all entry points.

This strategy builds upon lessons learned and seeks to maximize the comparative advantages of USAID/Niger to provide catalytic support to Niger’s people and government to advance their development agendas. USAID/Niger will work toward this CDCS goal through three integrated Development Objectives.The first objective focuses on the challenge of working at the community level to strengthen capacity for locally-led action, empower community-based organizations, and build the resilience of individuals, households, and communities to withstand the many shocks and stresses common in Niger.The second objective seeks to support greater inclusive economic opportunities through interventions that establish the foundations for a healthy, productive, and qualified workforce, while strengthening the market systems needed for new livelihoods.The third objective outlines the USAID/Niger approach to supporting the GoN to improve the performance and responsiveness of institutions to deliver key services, such as health and education, and to promote accountability, through improved oversight mechanisms including credible, peaceful and inclusive elections.

To support the integrated vision of the strategy, USAID/Niger will apply four overarching approaches across the portfolio. In the face of escalating violence and deteriorating security, the Mission will work to integrate conflict sensitivity and promote intra-and inter-group social cohesion.To decrease the vulnerability of individuals, communities, and institutions to shocks and stresses, the Mission will support a continued focus on resilience.The impact of development investments in Niger across all sectors will be promoted through democracy, human rights, and governance principles and practices across sectors that integrate the core principles of participation, inclusion, transparency, and accountability (PITA) 1Tying those three approaches together is a commitment to advancing coordination and collaboration through the humanitarian-development-peacebuilding nexus to save lives and reduce dependency on emergency assistance in the long term by addressing the root causes of fragility and conflict.

Across these approaches and objectives, USAID/Niger will apply gender equity and inclusive development lenses to all interventions.The Mission will work to intentionally address the unique needs of women,men,boys,and girls in advancing this CDCS.Across the portfolio,the Mission will seek opportunities to more thoroughly engage diverse stakeholders to elevate the voices of youth, nomads, and other marginalized groups.

USAID/Niger intends to carefully evaluate programmatic approaches and context trends on an ongoing basis to identify windows of opportunity, learn, adapt, respond to threats, and manage risk.This CDCS assumes and prepares for risk and uncertainty to ensure that communities and the GoN continue on a path toward self-sufficiency.The Mission will continue to build on the legacy of layering, sequencing, and integrating sectoral interventions to strengthen resilience and maximize impact.As opportunities arise, in line with budget and staff capacity, the Mission will seek to engage a greater number of local partners and scale proven interventions to new areas.The Mission’s integrated take on the challenges of resilience, empowerment, conflict, and systems are unique among the development actors in Niger.

Commitment and Capacity of Government of Niger

The GoN has made important strides in support of anti-corruption and democratic governance, but remains a fledgling democracy in a coup-prone region with significant concerns around stability, security, and delivery of programs and services.Weak political competition and accountability in Niger inhibit the incentives for public actors to govern in ways that promote political legitimacy, inclusion, rule of law, and delivery of adequate public services. Formal institutions do not function effectively to supply public goods and provide limited opportunities for constructive interaction with citizens.There are serious capacity gaps at all levels, a persistent lack of qualified civil servants and administrators assigned at the sub-national level, and a lack of resources contributing to continued gaps in financing and the extension of public services, including health, education, water, and justice.The GoN budget depends heavily on support from foreign funders. Defense spending is often prioritized over social services given the surge in violent extremist activity, armed banditry, and regional instability.

GoN priorities for the upcoming five years are reflected in the 2022-2026 Plan for Economic and Social Development (PDES), which was recently finalized. USAID/Niger participated along with other donors and development partners in the PDES development process. USAID shares many of the PDES priorities and is committed to accompanying the government to implement the proposed programs. USAID/Niger plans to partner closely with the GoN through capacity building, co-creation, and collaboration to align programs with the PDES. USAID/Niger will pursue government-to-government activities in the future.

Strategic Choices

The new CDCS aligns with the U.S. Government’s (USG) National Security Strategy, the State-USAID Joint Strategic Plan, and Embassy Niamey’s Integrated Country Strategy.Working with other USG institutions in Niger, particularly the Department of State, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the Department of Defense, USAID/Niger will follow a systems approach to supporting the USG interagency goals of advancing democracy and promoting economic growth through this strategy. The humanitarian-development-peacebuilding nexus is a priority for USAID and within the interagency. USAID/Niger will lead interagency coordination with other Sahel Alliance countries.The USAID/Niger CDCS also closely aligns with the four development objectives in the West Africa Mission and Sahel Regional Office joint Regional Development Cooperation Strategy. USAID/Niger will build on the momentum gained and lessons learned from previous investments and legacy projects conceived in the Sahel and West Africa regional platforms to increase resilience and reduce vulnerability to violent extremism.