At the heart of the Sahel region, Niger is one of the world's poorest countries. Not only is it landlocked and subjected to extreme climate conditions, it also has to deal with strong demographic growth and regional instability. AFD is assisting it in priority sectors: education, water and sanitation, energy, health, rural development, governance and support for the private sector.
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"Excellence Learning school" in Niamey, Niger
AFD and Niger: combating poverty and investing in young people's education
"Excellence Learning school" in Niamey, Niger

Promoting education and employment among young people

Niger, school class, Mali Béro School, Niamey, Guionie

Promoting education and employment among young people

Niger's population growth, at 3.9% per year, places a heavy burden on the educational system. Nearly 80% of children are now enrolled in school, double the rate 15 years ago, and yet the country struggles to offer its young people education and employment of adequate quality. In a country where fewer than 40% of children continue beyond primary education, many challenges still remain, such as managing and training teachers, ensuring that education meets the needs of the economy, and combating illiteracy.

The Government of Niger has therefore adopted a proactive policy to improve the quality of education (2014-2024 sectoral education and training program). AFD is supporting it in its efforts, by:

  • improving children's access to school by promoting quality basic education (co-funding with the Global Partnership for Education);
  • improving vocational training in industry and construction;
  • promoting the economic and social integration of young people in areas affected by conflict.

Faced with the enormity of the task, the government of Niger has set up a common fund to raise finance for the sector. AFD is participating alongside its partners from Switzerland, Luxembourg and Norway, as well as UNICEF.

facilitating access to water and sanitation

water tower, Niamey, Niger, Guionie

facilitating access to water and sanitation

Located at the heart of the Sahel region, Niger is a desert country. Access to drinking water is very difficult, dedicated infrastructure is rare and there are wide disparities between rural and urban areas: in rural areas, only 1.1% of the population has access to an optimal service, compared with 63.6% in major towns and cities. With respect to sanitation, only 0.8% of the population has access to an efficient service in rural areas and 10.8% in urban areas.

To address the significant challenges in the sector and stay on course for its sustainable development goals (SDGs), in 2017 Niger adopted ambitious programs to strengthen access to water and sanitation and improve water management.

AFD is a longstanding partner: 

  • Since 1979, we have funded several village water systems. 
  • Since 2002, we have also been improving access to water and sanitation in Niamey.

Our aims are to increase drinking water production and distribution capacity, provide the authorities with tools for planning sanitation investments, and improve sanitation and hygiene in the capital's main public hospitals.

Overcoming the electricity shortage

Lethabo, Niger, energy

Overcoming the electricity shortage

Niger has a significant energy potential. Its mineral, hydraulic, wind and solar resources should be sufficient to ensure the country's development. And yet very few households have access to electricity. According to estimates, the level of access to electricity is around 10%, with significant disparities between urban and rural areas, and between the capital Niamey and other urban centers.

To deal with growing demand, Niger has launched major electricity production and distribution projects, with the objective being to diversify its electricity generation mix and secure supply.

AFD supports this approach and together with the European Union is funding a project to extend the grid in urban and rural areas, and two planned power plants in Agadez and Niamey. Alongside the World Bank, AFD is also participating in the funding of the Kandadji hydroelectric power plant.

Strengthening the health system

Niger, hospital, Niamey, children, nurse

Strengthening the health system

Niger's health statistics are a cause for concern: life expectancy is limited to 61.9 years and the rate of infant malnutrition is 43%. This is due in part to an aging infrastructure, isolation of the population and a shortage of human and medical resources. 

To address this, in 2015 the Government set up a National Health Policy and a Health Development Plan to improve the standard of health care for Nigeriens.

AFD is providing assistance through two projects:

  • Since 2006, we have been contributing to the Common Health Fund in order to coordinate actions with the Health Development Plan.
  • Since 2014, we have been participating in the Sahel Solidarity Health initiative to improve the health of mothers and children.

We are also looking to finance one project to assist the demographic transition and another to combat chronic malnutrition in the Sahel, with the Gates Foundation.

Supporting rural development

Niger, agriculture, private sector, cereals, Guionie

Supporting rural development

Hunger is still a threat to certain sectors of the population in Niger, and the rate of child malnutrition is especially high. In 2012, the Government of Niger adopted a strategic framework for food and nutritional security and sustainable agricultural development (FNS/SAD) called the 3N Initiative: "Nigeriens Nourishing Nigeriens", as well as its associated action plan. Its objective by 2035 is to permanently free its inhabitants from hunger and malnutrition and guarantee the conditions for full participation in national production and in improving their income.  

AFD's work is fully in line with Niger's strategy. We support many programs throughout the country for:

  • boosting the agro-sylvo-pastoral sector and protecting the incomes of producers;
  • improving the management of natural resources;
  • strengthening agricultural sectors with the greatest potential;
  • supporting measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Backing the private sector

Niger, woman, bank, microfinance, private sector, funding

Backing the private sector

With less than 5% of the population having access to the financial system, the rate of financial inclusion in Niger remains one of the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa. For many, microfinance networks provide the only means of accessing financial services.

The private sector in Niger is relatively underdeveloped and informal. Industry is hampered by an aging infrastructure, a lack of qualified human resources and limited access to markets. The mining, energy and telecommunications sectors are dominated by just a few large companies. 

AFD is supporting local entrepreneurship and the emergence of a local economic fabric by:

  • supporting microfinance, by assisting ACEP Niger (targeting small entrepreneurs in urban areas) and Asusu SA (agricultural funding);
  • encouraging innovation and business creation via the partnership with PAI-Bond’Innov;
  • easy access to credit for microenterprises/SMEs with the Ariz scheme;
  • funding projects with strategic impact via suitable financial tools (Proparco).

Supporting good governance

Niger, Assemblée nationale, Niamey, government

Supporting good governance

Competence for "governance" was transferred to AFD from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2006. This led us to begin funding a number of support initiatives in Niger:

  • Technical assistance to the High Commissioner for State Modernization via the Dynamic program for modernization of public services (PDMSP), and via monitoring of the Itinerant Public Service in nomadic areas.
  • Support for the Ministry of Justice through the AJUSEN program, in order to strengthen the judicial system’s ability to combat organized crime and people trafficking.
  • Support for the modernization of the State and public services (AMESP) in order to help strengthen the devolved and decentralized State and improve public services. 
years on the ground in Niger
million euros spent since 2010
million euros for youth integration in 2016

Located at the heart of the Sahel region, Niger is a vast landlocked desert territory extending over more than a million square kilometers. With a population of 20 million inhabitants, its demographic growth is one of the highest in the world, at around 4% per year.

This seriously hampers Niger's economic prospects: it is one of the poorest countries on the planet. In 2016, it was ranked second from last among UN Member States in the UNDP's human development index. For Niger's population, access to adequate drinking water, electricity and care is a daily concern.  

The country faces many challenges: it must ensure that its population has access to essential services and give its young people the keys to integration in the labor market. It is also confronted by chronic food insecurity, the unstable security situation in the Sahel and climate hazards that undermine its economy.

AFD has been an essential partner of Niger for sixty years. It prioritizes basic services: water, energy, health and education-employment, to provide a future for young people in Niger. It is also helping to establish a model of sustainable development.

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Funding type


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  • Climate
  • Employment and Shared Prosperity
  • Forests and Biodiversity
  • Hunger and Food
  • Inequalities
  • Infrastructure
  • Peace and Justice
  • Poverty
  • Sustainable Cities
  • Sustainable Consumption and Production

Funding type

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  • Delegation of European Union Funds
  • Grant
  • Sovereign Concessional Loan


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