The legal tender of the Niger is the West African CFA franc. Its ISO Code is XOF and the currency is also used in 7 other West African states like Togo and Senegal. It was introduced in 1945 as a replacement for the French franc due to its fall in value following World War II. The country’s Central Bank handles its financial assets as well as the issuing of the currency. The CFA franc is issued in the form of coins and banknotes. One franc is made up of 100 centimes.
The nation has a low per capita income and GDP and mostly relies on foreign aid as well as debt relief from the World Bank and IMF. In 2022, the country’s revenue was estimated at $11.63 billion while the per capita income was $800. Agriculture and services are the main sources of income for the country, with hefty contributions of 39% and 41% to the national revenue respectively. The relatively low rate of inflation of about 2.9% can be attributed to the use of common currency in the region.
The country had about 4.688 million people in its workforce by 2007. Its economy is centred on subsistence farming, livestock rearing and mining. The informal sector employs majority of the citizens with about 90% of the population being either in the livestock or agricultural sectors. The rest of the workforce is in commerce, government institutions and industries such as mining, textiles, chemicals and food processing.
Approximately 12.55% of Niger’s land is arable, and most of it is located in the southern region. These areas are however prone to drought due to varying rainfall. Cassava, pearl millet and sorghum are the main subsistence crops and their cultivation is dependent on rainfall. Rice is extensively grown under irrigation to feed the country’s population. Onions and cowpeas are the main export crops while garlic, potatoes, wheat and peppers are also exported in smaller quantities. The main industrial crops are cotton and groundnuts. During the 1970’s groundnut oil was the main export commodity of the country.
The country has large deposits of uranium and its two mines are owned and operated by an alliance between Niger and France. Export of uranium ore comprises about 72% of the total revenue generated by exports in the nation. The current prices of uranium in the world market and the slump in demand are however a major setback to the economy of the country.
Besides uranium, Niger also has exploitable gold deposits near its border with Burkina Faso. Significant deposits of iron, phosphates, limestone, gypsum and coal have also been found in the country. The energy of the coal reserves is relatively low with high contents of ash, and is mostly used to generate power for the two uranium mines. The country also has a petroleum industry that started operating in 2011. Initially, liquefied natural gas, diesel and gasoline produced in Niger were consumed locally but increase in production and building of an export pipeline through Cameroon and Chad has seen the country begin to export refined petroleum.