Niger : An economy on the rise, but debt levels are a concern (Paper-general)

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Niger economie en progression 2018The economy of Niger has been marked in 2018 by economic performance, which have seen a growth of about 5.2% and a significant improvement in the business climate, but also a debt of concern in the country representing almost 45% of GDP, in spite of the important efforts of the government in its policy of reduction of arrears.
The president Mahamadou Issoufou noted Monday in his New Year’s message that the rate of economic growth was distinctly above the average of 3% for all the countries of the Community of States of West Africa (ECOWAS) and 3.7% of the global economy. A performance driven by a good agricultural production, with the implementation of the initiative 3N (Nigeriens nourish the Nigeriens), as well as investments in developmental projects,” he said.
Among these projects include several road infrastructure in Niamey and within the country, the solar power plant of Malbaza, inaugurated current 2018, as well as the modernisation works of Zinder (south).
Added to this is the construction of the reference hospital of Maradi (south), the Friendship hospital nigéro-Turkish in Niamey and those of the digital terrestrial television (DTT), all three completed, as well as those in the course of the bridge Djibo Bakary to Farié (60km west of Niamey, on the Niger river), the third bridge in Niamey (Bridge Seyni Kountché), the modernization of the airport Diori Hamani, the express way from the airport of Niamey, in the city center, the hotel’s presidential or even the international conference Centre Mahatma Gandi.
The year 2018 has seen the launch of the work of the water treatment plant of Goudel, in the capital, and the Millennium Challenge, which consists primarily of hydro-agricultural facilities.
At the same time, “the budget deficit is gradually reduced and may be below 3% in 2020. The inflation rate of 2.9% in 2018 falls short of the standard of the economic and monetary Union west african (UEMOA) 3%, and this despite the measures taken to correct tax adopted in 2018”.

Moreover, the improvement of the business climate, a company in the previous years, continued in 2018. According to the Doing Business report in 2019, the world Bank published at the end of October, the Niger has won a place in the area, ranking 143 out of 190 economies in the world.
It is in terms of the creation of companies that the country achieves its best score, finishing in 27th place in the world, while it is passed at the 158th place, against the 164th in 2017, for obtaining a building permit and the 162nd largest in the world in terms of electricity connection. For the criteria of “transfer of properties”, “varieties of loans” and “protecting minority investors”, it ranks, respectively 111th, 144th and 149, according to the report.
In addition, the Niger, already a producer and exporter of oil since November 2012, has currently the petroleum industry is comprehensive and produces a gross of high quality, will soon increase its production which will increase to 20,000 barrels/day to about 110,000 b/d by 2021 and will benefit from significant revenues through the adoption last June of an amendment beneficial to the production sharing agreement of its block oil from Agadem (north-east), operated by the consortium of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).
On the other hand, the indebtedness of the Niger -evaluated to 45.1% in 2018 – has been a major concern for the bretton Wood that are the world Bank and the international monetary Fund (IMF), judging by the many recent alerts to the place of the authorities of the country.
According to Joelle Dehasse, responsible for the operations of the BM in Niger, the debt of which the outstanding amount was 2017 of 1.985,9 billion CFA francs ($3.4 billion) represents 44% of GDP, with risks of deterioration important, although the Niger belongs to the group of countries with moderate risk.
She noted in December that the domestic debt has been a key factor in the public debt, which has increased by nearly 10%, over a period of four years, in part due to the issue of securities on the regional market, but also because of the debt of the central bank. The maturities tend to be shorter and the interest rates are higher compared to the multilateral debt outdoor.
An IMF delegation headed by its deputy director, African department David Owen, on a visit to Niamey in April last, has certainly appreciated the efforts of the nigerian government in its policy of reducing arrears, but also asked him to be careful in managing debt in the context of increased investment.
In this regard, Mr. Issoufou announced on Monday the clearance of domestic arrears by the government in 2018 estimated to be 109 billion FCFA (over 18.8 million dollars) to the benefit of economic operators.
The nigerian government, in its resolve to fight corruption in all its forms on the national territory, also has a body to drive its national strategy put in place to curb the phenomenon. Chaired by the Prime minister, Brigi Rafini, it comprises, among others, members of the High authority of fight against corruption and the offences assimilated (HALCIA).
Official investigations have concluded that “the Niger is facing a level of corruption is relatively high,” which has touched all regions of the country. “The public sector is considered the sector most affected by corruption, followed by political organizations and those of civil society”, a-t-on statement.
The cases are so legion that the Niger was occupied in 2017 the infamous title of the 112th out of 180 countries in the overall ranking on the state of corruption in the world of the NGO Transparency International.
Finally, throughout the past year, the country lived to the rhythm of the periodic events organized on the national territory by civil society organizations in niger and the political opposition against the finance bill 2018, some measures are considered “anti-social”.

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