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Niger is part of:
Africa · Western Africa ·
Water Basins of Niger:
Lake Chad · Niger Basin ·
Facts & Figures edit
Capital Niamey
Neighbouring Countries Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Libya, Mali, Nigeria
Total Area 1,267,000 km2
  - Water 300 km2 (0.02%) / 2 m2/ha
  - Land 1,266,700 km2
Coastline 0 km
Population 13,956,980 (11.0 inhab./km2)
HDIA 0.370 (2007)
Gini CoefficientA 50.5 (1995)
Nominal GDPB $5,322 million
GDP (PPP) Per CapitaB $700
National UN Presence FAO, UNDP, WHO, UNECA
Land UseC
  - Cultivated Land 144,911 km2 (11.44%)
     - Arable 144,784 km2 (11.43%)
     - Permanent Crops 127 km2 (0.01%)
     - Irrigated 730 km2
  - Non cultivated 167,520 km2 (88.56%)
Average Annual RainfallD 151 mm
Renewable Water ResourcesE 33.7 km3
Water WithdrawalsF 8.01 km3/yr
  - For Agricultural Use 95%
  - For Domestic Use 4%
  - For Industrial Use 0%
  - Per Capita 185 m3
Population with safe access to
  - Improved Water Source 46%
     - Urban population 80%
     - Rural population 36%
  - Improved Sanitation 13%
     - Urban population 43%
     - Rural population 4%
References & Remarks
A UNDP Human Development Report
B CIA World Factbook and Wikipedia
C CIA World Factbook Country Profiles
D Aquastat - FAO's Information System on Water and Agriculture
E CIA World Factbook
F Earthtrends

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Country Profile: Climate, Geography, Socio-Economic Context

Country Profile: Water Bodies and Resources

Niger depends on sources outside its boundaries for 90% of its water resources. Niger is located in two major transborder basins: the Irhazer Lullemeden and Chad Basins. The Niger River crosses the southwest of Niger and is the only permanent river in the country. Important wetlands within Niger (and crossing into neighboring countries) include Lake Chad and the W National Park (named because the Niger River flowing through the park forms the letter “W”). W Park makes up 220,000 hectares and is registered under the Ramsar Convention on Internationally Protected Wetlands.

Niger has 34 cubic kilometers per year of renewable water resources of which 31 cubic kilometers is surface water and the balance is groundwater. An estimated 20% of the country’s groundwater resources are currently being exploited. Sixty-four percent of the rural population does not have access to safe drinking water. Many are only able to access pond water, which is often contaminated with guinea worms, animal waste, and chemicals.

Ninety-five percent of total water-use is dedicated to agriculture. The majority of Nigeriens depend on subsistence farming for food and, historically, seasonal rainfall provided enough water for farming. However, regional rainfall has declined an estimated 20–50% over the course of the last 30 years, and recent droughts have resulted in severe food shortages. Desertification is a growing problem.

In some years, Niger is severely impacted by drought in combination with locust invasions, which cause devastating food and pasture shortages.

Country Profile: Legal and Institutional Environment

Legal Framework

Niger’s Water Code was passed in 1993 and amended in 1998. Under the Water Code, access to public water-points is open to all, including outsiders such as nomadic pastoralists. Public water-points are managed by local Management Committees. Construction of new water-points with a daily capacity above 40 cubic meters requires governmental authorization.

The 1993 Rural Code addresses both land and water issues, and in some areas conflicts with the Water Code. The Rural Code grants pastoralists a common right to rangelands, and priority rights over both land and water in their home areas (terroir d’attache). Outsiders must negotiate access to water and grazing rights in these areas. In contrast, the Water Code grants open access to public water-points.

Institutional Framework
Key Agencies in Niger's Water Sector
Key Agencies in Niger's Water Sector

The Ministry of Water Resources, Environment and Desertification Control, the Ministry of Agricultural Development, the Ministry of Animal Resources, and the National Environmental Council for Sustainable Development all have responsibility for management of Niger’s water resources. The Ministry of Water retains overall responsibility for sector coordination.

Water supply to urban areas is overseen by Société du patrimoine des eaux du Niger (SPEN) and the Corporation for the Exploitation of the Water of the Niger River (SEEN). The Office des Eaux et du Sous-Sol (OFEDES) builds and maintains wells. The Niger Association for the Development of Private Irrigation (ANPIP) promotes the sustainable development of small-scale irrigation. Rural water service is decentralized and is the responsibility of the communities. Communities have set-up user associations and village water committees to operate and maintain their water systems. These smaller water service providers serve the majority of Niger’s population since more than 80 percent of the country’s population lives in rural or peri-urban areas.

Public water-points are managed by management committees (comités de gestion). These are responsible for general maintenance and collection of user fees. The committees’ ability to control access is very limited.

Niger is part of the Niger River Basin Authority (NRBA) along with Guinea, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Benin, Chad and Nigeria. The country is also a member of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, which includes Cameroon, Chad, the Central African Republic and Nigeria.

Government Reform and Intervention

In 2000-01 Niger updated its water and sanitation policy and reorganized its urban water sector. The policy reorganized key agency responsibilities, created new water service providers, and created the Water Sectoral Project (PSE). Most notably, the policy update created the Asset Holding Company for Urban Water Supply in Niger (SPEN) and the Niger water supply utility (SEEN). SEEN operates under a lease contract to SPEN and is in partnership with an international private operator. Regulation of urban water is to be performed by a multi-sector agency established in 2003, but the agency is not yet fully operational. The policy also separated urban and rural water service.

Niger’s 2002 Poverty Reduction Development Strategy allocates approximately six percent of the national budget to the WSS sector. It also calls for the development of improved irrigation infrastructure as a priority area. There is concern that water infrastructure projects are being planned without a full understanding of their impact on land tenure issues.

In 2006 the Niger Basin Initiative (NBI) was launched bringing together the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the NRBA, Wetlands International, and the Nigerien Conservation Foundation (NCF). The goal of this initiative is to ensure that environmental concerns are addressed in water basin development

The decentralization of the sector occurred only recently. Therefore, local providers have yet to totally develop their financial, managerial, and technical capacity. The sector will have to overcome this lack of capacity while at the same time improving on monitoring and evaluation (M&E) processes so that access estimates and performance measures are more precisely collected.

Levels of sanitation access remain woefully inadequate, particularly in rural areas. In response, the government created the fledgling National Water and Sanitation Commission (CNEA). If properly supported, the CNEA and the National Monitoring and Evaluation Committee for Water and Sanitation Sector (CNSESEA) can expand access to sanitation facilities. Sanitation functions in urban areas are already the responsibility of SPEN and SEEN, where coverage is slowly expanding. However, in rural areas service providers have not assumed sanitation responsibilities, thereby placing the 2015 MDG targets for sanitation likely out of reach.

Country Profile: Water Sector Coordination

See Sector coordination sub-page for detailed description

Country Profile: Trends in Water Use, Management and Sanitation

The Urban Sub-sector

Although SPEN and SEEN are responsible for water service in urban areas, the Ministry of Water still sets water rates. Rates have increased from 196 CFA in 1999 to 244 CFA in 2005. In 2008, water rates can still comfortably meet operation and maintenance costs, but billing and collection effectiveness could improve based on a recent utility benchmarking study for West Africa. SPEN will be able to better meet its revenue requirement and consolidate its financial position if water rates continue to edge up in-step with cost of service and inflation.

Annual spending in the urban areas appears to meet MDG drinking water targets; however, the lag in sanitation will require additional allocations since latrines in cities and large towns are rarely “improved.” Taken together, SEEN and SPEN are steadily improving, meeting operation and maintenance (O&M) costs, and making possible water access to the poor by waving connections in peri-urban for those that qualify.

The Rural Sub-sector

The rural sub-sector did not formerly decentralize its WSS service until early 2005. The capacity to manage water facilities and potential private sector operators is limited at the local level. Most rural areas are not able to recover costs, because rates must be kept affordable. Although this is the case, rural communities are responsible for meeting their own O&M costs without assistance from the central government. In practice however, rural areas are able to subsidize their revenues with donor funding or by offsetting the cost to repair failing equipment, replace or install new facilities through donor funding. Local communities are also responsible for contributing nominal amounts in either cash or in-kind for capital improvements financed by the central government.

Rural user associations and village water committees provide little to no sanitation service. The greatest opportunity for increased government and outside donor assistance is in the rural sanitation sub-sector. Niger needs to improve both the coverage and sustainability of sanitation services in rural areas by implementing newly drafted sanitation action plans and supporting the leadership role of CNEA. Hygiene awareness continues to be an issue in rural areas. Outside assistance, whether by the government, donors, or non-governmental organizations, can build awareness through community-level hygiene promotion campaigns.

Country Profile: Challenges and Opportunities

The challenges facing Niger’s water supply and sanitation (WSS) sector are serious obstacles to achieving sustainable drinking water access and sanitation. To achieve its 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Niger’s WSS sector will need to double its capacity in the next six years. In order to expand coverage this quickly, the sector will need to embark on a training and institutional capacity building program so that government and donor contributions to the sector are absorbed and utilized effectively.

Multiple issues must be addressed as the sector improves and expands service. These issues include:

  • Improving the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system;
  • Building the capacity of key agencies in the sector;
  • Strengthening the performance of the sector in terms of cost-recovery; and,
  • Promoting the sanitation leadership role of the National Water and Sanitation Commission (CNEA).

Donor Involvement

Niger has several key development partners in the WSS sector. Most donors have focused their support on rural programs. Both the UN Development Program and the World Bank actively coordinate donor roles and responsibilities in Niger. The donor community strongly supported the recent Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) revised in 2007. The WSS sector funding gap is not clear considering Niger’s available data, but it is expected that outside donor assistance will continue to account for the bulk of funding in the WSS sector.

The World Bank is working jointly with France, Germany, Denmark, the EU, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to support the implementation of the Niger’s Rural Development Strategy, with special focus on irrigation and sustainable land and water resources management. In 2008, the Bank concluded a six-year US $45 million Private Irrigation Promotion Project (PIP2), which followed a 1996–2001 pilot project. PIP2 was designed to advance the Government of Niger’s agricultural-sector growth objectives through: (1) intensification and diversification of irrigated production to improve food security; (2) private sector development and empowerment of farmer associations and other agricultural organizations; (3) availability of sustainable financial arrangements in rural areas; and (4) the creation of a production environment that is environmentally sustainable and socially equitable. The completion report concluded that cost-effective small-scale irrigation with full participation of the private sector was valid and highly relevant for Niger. Irrigation investments under the project had an average cost of approximately US $2000 per hectare. These investments can bring measurable improvements in farmers’ welfare and achieve high economic rates of return, possibly above 20%.

The World Bank, with the AfDB, European Investment Bank (EIB) and West African Development Bank (WADB), plan support for urban water delivery. The World Bank’s Local Urban Infrastructure Development Project includes a component on urban water supply and sanitation.

The World Bank’s Community Action Program finances the creation of local development plans generated by communities and local governments. The broad aim of the program is to support sustainable natural resource management and local capacity. The Bank is providing technical assistance to scale-up sustainable land and water management in Niger.

The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) funds several village and pastoral water-supply projects that improve or build wells and work on resource management.


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Projects and Case Studies

Projects in or about Niger

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  1. Sanitation Project with the construction of community latrines around the market and in the public square of the Village KIOTI ‎(1,268 views) . . Jana Jozefini
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  8. Reversing land and water degradation trends in the Niger River Basin ‎(3,933 views) . . WikiBot
  9. Provision of wells for the supply of potable water to the rural community of Gueskerou ‎(2,006 views) . . WikiBot
  10. Provision of potable water to the rural community of Kahi Garin Jeji, Niger ‎(1,700 views) . . WikiBot
  11. Provision of potable water to the rural community of Boula Aminami, Niger ‎(2,469 views) . . WikiBot
  12. Project for a drilling at Moidiodie- Leye in the rural village of Pignari. ‎(1,856 views) . . WikiBot
  13. Improving access to safe drinking water in Mallam Boulamari village, Niger ‎(2,528 views) . . WikiBot
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Case studies in or about Niger

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5 most recently updated publications on Niger

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5 most popular publications on Niger

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Who is Who

People working in Niger

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Organizations working in Niger
  1. Niger Basin Authority ‎(3,427 views) . . WikiBot

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See also

External Resources



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