Wealth and poverty
Niger is among the poorest of the world's countries. The GNI per capita is US$880 but the richest 10% share 28.5% of wealth, while the poorest 10% share 3.7%. Almost two-thirds of the population lives below the poverty line.
Debt relief has significantly reduced Niger's annual debt service obligations, freeing funds for expenditures on basic health care, primary education, HIV/AIDS prevention, rural infrastructure, and other programs geared at poverty reduction.
Education and work
Schooling in Niger is free and compulsory between the ages of 7 and 12, but only about 49% of children complete primary school. Teacher shortages and the widely spread population create accessibility problems for many children. Abdou Moumouni Dioffo University in Niamey is Niger’s only university.
Only 29% of the total population is literate and there is a wide disparity between the literacy rates of males, 43%, and females, 15% (2005).
Almost half of children are employed for at least one hour a week and 63% of people aged over 15 are in the workforce.
Industries and products
Agricultural products include cowpeas, cotton, peanuts, millet, sorghum, tapioca (manioc extract) and rice; as well as cattle, sheep, goats, camels, donkeys, horses and poultry.
Niger is one of the world’s leading uranium producers. Other natural resources include coal, iron ore, tin and gold exploration for oil in the Lake Chad area is ongoing. Niger's industries include mining (uranium and coal), production of bricks, cement and chemicals, textile manufacture and food processing.
Niger has a growing trade relationship with China. China has strong uranium interests in the country and exports rice, textiles and telecommunication materials to Niger, and provides employment through development projects such as dam construction, telecommunication establishment and well drilling. Niger’s other key trading partners are France, the Netherlands, French Polynesia and Nigeria.