Country FilesWestCountry Profile 2014: NIGER

Sun,19Nov2017

Posted on Sunday, 09 February 2014 14:48

Country Profile 2014: NIGER

Sahel instability tops the agenda

President Mahamadou Issoufou’s attempts to build political consensus and move the country on from its history of military coups have been somewhat overshadowed by external threats. The Touareg rebellion and subsequent Islamist take over of Mali continues to cause serious problems for Niger and in May 2013 a long-feared terrorist attack took place. Twenty-one people died in dual attacks on a military barracks in Agadez and a French-owned uranium mining facility in Arlit.

 

 TABLE OF CONTENTS:

TOP NIGERIEN COMPANIES

TOP NIGERIEN BANKS

 

ar-infographie-niger-2014Sahel instability tops the agenda

May 2013 terrorist attacks point to areas of weakness in security

Key mining and oil projects have been delayed and face government audits

President Mahamadou Issoufou’s attempts to build political consensus and move the country on from its history of military coups have been somewhat overshadowed by external threats. The Touareg rebellion and subsequent Islamist take over of Mali continues to cause serious problems for Niger and in May 2013 a long-feared terrorist attack took place. Twenty-one people died in dual attacks on a military barracks in Agadez and a French-owned uranium mining facility in Arlit. Several days later about 20 high risk prisoners escaped from Niamey’s central prison, including Cheïbane Ould Hama, a Malian Arab who is a member of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and had been jailed for killing four Saudis and an American.

Mokhtar Belmokhtar’s AQIM forces claimed responsibility for the attacks in Nigerand were responsible for the mass hostage-taking at In Aménas in Algeria in January2013. Belmokhtar specifically cited retaliation for Niger’s support of France in its intervention in Mali as the reason for the attacks.

ROAD BLOCKS

In addition, the activities of the Islamist militant group Boko Haramin Nigeria’s northeastern Borno State have caused a wave of refugees to cross over the border into the region of Diffa in Niger. The border between Niger and Nigeria is very poorly controlled, and the government in Niamey has become increasingly concerned that Boko Harammay begin to operate in Niger’s national territory.

Security in Niamey has deteriorated since the May attacks, and there are now many road blocks in the capital that cause resentment among the local population. President Issoufou has appealed vociferously for the international community to help him deal with these complex regional threats while playing up Niger’s role as a key ally in an unstable neighbourhood. Niger sent 670 troops to Mali as part of the United Nations peace keeping force. France and the United States (US) have stepped up their military support. In January the US signed a deal to open a drone base for surveillance activities in the Sahel region and offered to send 100 troops.

Domestically, opposition figures are less impressed with Issoufou’s attempts at statesmanship and continue to make claims about widespread corruption and mismanagement. In August, Issoufou’s attempt to create a government of national unity was rejected by his erstwhile ally and speaker of parliament Hama Amadou, who pulled his party’s support from the proposed cabinet. Amadou and allies in the opposition formed a coalition called the Alliance pour la République in October.

At around the same time, the government announced the arrest of 10 military figures in yet another suspected coup plot. Figures from the former president Mamadou Tandja’s regime and the previous military junta, led by Salou Djibo, have since largely remained quiet.

BIDS FOR EXPLORATION

The 2013 budget increased to 1.4trn CFA francs ($2.9bn), with a lower increase than the previous year, and spending on the military was also up by about $50m. The government has announced an ongoing round of negotiations for new oil exploration licences. Oil production at the China National Petroleum Corporation- run Agadem field – the only producing field in Niger–has not yet met initial expectations. The Zinder refinery is still producing well below capacity. Also, the cost of production means that refined products have difficulty competing with imports from Nigeria. The government signed an initial deal with Chad in April 2013 to allow Niger to export via the Kribi pipeline to the Cameroonian coast, but construction has not yet begun.

There have also been delays with the construction of the new Imouraren uranium mine owned by France’s Areva. What promises to be the world’s biggest uranium mine, with a capacity of 5,000tn per year, now looks unlikely to open before 2016. The project could also be delayed be the renegotiation of Areva’s contract, which expires at the end of 2013, and a government audit of the company’s mining activities.

The economy received a boost in 2012/13 following a better-than-average harvest, which has gone some way to correct the food deficit experienced after droughts in 2005, 2009 and 2011.

 

 TOP NIGERIEN COMPANIES


Rank 2012Rank 2011CompanySectorCountryTurnover (Thds $)Turnover changeNet profits
        
329317SOC. NIGRIENNE DE PRODUITS PTROLIERS*PETROL. SERVICESNIGER373,792NA12,343
 

TOP NIGERIEN BANKS

 

No banks from Niger featured in The Africa's Report's Top 200 Banks in Africa 2012.

 



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