- RURAL DEVELOPMENT
- SUSTAINABLE INFRASTRUCTURE
- SECURITY, RECONSTRUCTION AND PEACE
- SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
- GOVERNANCE AND DEMOCRACY
International cooperation between Niger and Germany began in the 1960s. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has had an office in the capital Niamey since 1968. GIZ currently has 25 seconded experts, more than 10 development workers and around 200 national staff working in Niger.
The Republic of Niger has a population of around 20 million and is one of the world’s poorest countries. An unpredictable climate, depleted soils and erosion pose a threat to agricultural production. Frequent natural disasters and high population growth mean that Niger is often affected by food crises. Economic growth mainly benefits the urban elite – almost half the population still lives in extreme poverty. Poverty is particularly severe in rural regions, home to 80 per cent of the population.
Niger’s most important exports are natural resources, such as uranium and oil, and agricultural goods, including livestock. However, a mere 15 per cent of its area is suitable for farming.
Following a phase of political instability, 2011 saw the restoration of a democratically elected government in the Republic of Niger. Nonetheless, the security situation remains fragile due to Niger’s location in a crisis region, with large numbers of people fleeing to Niger from the conflicts in neighbouring Libya, Mali and Nigeria or displaced within Niger itself.
A range of factors, including the country’s geography, poor infrastructure and challenging security situation, obstruct development progress in Niger. Over the past five years, the Government of Niger has produced various development strategies and programmes, which also provide a frame of reference for the donor community and aim, among other things, to improve food security and the education sector in Niger.
Based on these strategies, bilateral cooperation between Germany and Niger focuses on three priority areas:
- rural development and food security
- decentralisation of state structures
- basic education.
In addition, GIZ is providing advisory support to the Niger Basin Authority, the Ministry of Planning, Spatial Planning and Community Development and the national Food Security Authority. GIZ’s Civil Peace Service programme is promoting the peaceful transformation of conflicts between local communities and nomadic pastoralists in areas of cross-border transhumance. On behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office (AA), GIZ is supporting measures to improve training and human resource management in the police service and boost security along the country’s borders. The Federal Foreign Office is also working with the African Union to improve border management, with GIZ providing human capacity development and training and supporting the demarcation of national boundaries and the construction of border posts.
In a relatively short time, Niger has become the main transit country for migrants travelling from West Africa to North Africa and Europe. Every year, up to 150,000 migrants cross Niger on their journey north. A joint project funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the European Union is assisting local authorities and regions along the migration routes to manage the challenges posed by the current refugee crisis. A project funded by the German Government promotes local employment in the Agadez and Zinder regions. Another aims to improve the management of migration impacts by promoting a coherent migration policy, stakeholder networking and training, and broad civil society participation. In addition to the ongoing projects, urgent measures have been taken to support the structurally weak region of Agadez, including ‘cash for work’ programmes in agriculture and waste disposal, emergency relief, and literacy and training initiatives.