Page 6 - 13 DMA-Niger Report 2012

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4
Investing In NIGER
2012
W
hile
many major global
economies continued their
laboured recovery from the
global financial crisis, 2011 was a relatively
good year for Niger. Consolidating real
GDP growth of 8% in 2010, 2011 saw
democracy restored, production star t at
the Zinder oil refinery, operations begin
at the Azerlik uranium mine and real
GDP growth reach a respectable 2.5%.
And the medium term prospects look
positive too; the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) predicts growth could hit
a highly impressive 14.2% in 2012.
With new investments in uranium and
infrastructure set to come on stream
in the foreseeable future as well as an
improving business climate, Niger’s future
looks full of promise. Indeed, future real
GDP growth is predicted to fluctuate
between 6.6% and 7.3% per annum from
2013 until at least 2016.
Despite recent success and an
encouraging outlook, Niger remains a
low income country. Landlocked and
vulnerable to an increasingly volatile
climate, 40% of the population live on less
than US$1.25 a day and 80% of Nigeriens
are employed in subsistence agriculture.
Niger has also suffered from sporadic
growth, often linked to the level of rainfall,
with expansion interspersed with bouts
of recession – most recently in 2009.
Another drought is expected in the wider
Sahel region in 2012, which will impact on
Niger with agricultural output expected to
fall and food shor tages likely.The country
is also reliant on both international
assistance and remittances, both of which
carry a degree of unpredictability – the
ousting of Qaddafi, for example, and the
related crisis hit Niger as thousands of
Nigerien workers based in Libya were left
jobless and money transfers dried up.
In response to such challenges, the
government is embarking on an ambitious
development programme that aims to
address many of the structural issues that
have long affected this country of nearly
16 million people. Much of this plan is
predicated on a drive to attract foreign
direct investment (FDI). A period of
relative stability and a genuine desire to
reform should provide the platform for
investment in the country, particularly in –
but not limited to – the country’s mining
and extraction sectors. Such investment will
enable the country to achieve its aims of
boosting growth and thus reducing poverty.
A Period of
Relative Stability
After years of political turmoil, Niger is
seemingly entering a period of genuine
democratic reform. Just 14 months after a
military coup that ousted President Tandja
and quashed his attempts to manipulate
the then constitution to maintain his 10-
year grip on power, April 2011 saw the
return of democracy to Niger in elections
widely heralded as free and fair. During this
Economic Overview
by Jonathan Levack
Economic Overview