A landlocked nation in northwest Africa, Niger shipped an estimated US$1.6 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a 49.1% increase since 2014 but a -21.5% decline from 2017 to 2018.
Based on 2017 estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Niger’s exported goods plus services represent 16.4% of the country’s total economic output or Gross Domestic Product. Please note that the overall value of exported goods and services includes re-exports. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.
The latest available country-specific data shows that 93.8% of products exported from Niger were bought by importers in: Thailand (14.2% of the global total), France (13.5%), Malaysia (13.4%), Switzerland (13.2%), Nigeria (11.2%), Brazil (6.4%), China (6%), Indonesia (4%), Turkey (also 4%), Mali (3.8%), United States (2.1%) and Japan (1.8%).
From a continental perspective, 45.1% of Niger’s exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while 27.7% were sold to European importers. Niger shipped another 18.6% worth of goods to fellow African nations. Smaller percentages went to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (6.5%), North America (2.1%) then Oceania led by Australia and New Zealand (0.004%).
Given Niger’s population of 19.9 million people, its total $1.6 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $80 for every resident in the northwest African country.
Niger’s unemployment rate was 0.3% in 2018 down from 0.4% one year earlier, according to Trading Economics.
Niger’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Nigerien global shipments during 2018, based at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Niger.
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: US$286.2 million (18.3% of total exports)
- Cereals: $224.7 million (14.4%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $222.5 million (14.2%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $220.6 million (14.1%)
- Gems, precious metals: $206.8 million (13.2%)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: $104 million (6.6%)
- Cereal/milk preparations: $72.8 million (4.7%)
- Cotton: $66.9 million (4.3%)
- Vehicles: $45.8 million (2.9%)
- Vegetables: $21.9 million (1.4%)
Niger’s top 10 exports accounted for 94.1% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Gems and precious metals was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 344.1% since 2017 propelled by higher sales of gold on international markets. In second place for improving export sales were vegetables thanks to a 43.4% increase. Niger’s shipments of sugar and sugar confectionery posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 27.8%.
The leading decliner among Niger’s top 10 export categories were animal or vegetable fats, oils and waxes which fell -56.6% year over year.
At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Niger’s most valuable goods in 2018 were: palm oil; rice; uranium or thorium ores and concentrates; processed petroleum oils; gold; sugar; pasta or couscous; woven cotton fabrics; cars; then onions, garlic and leeks.
The following types of Nigerien product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.
In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
- Ores, slag, ash: US$222.4 million (Down by -9.9% since 2017)
- Gems, precious metals: $206.6 million (Up by 345.6%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $183.8 million (Down by -67.4%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $121.5 million (Down by -18.6%)
- Cotton: $60.9 million (Up by 12.7%)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: $57.9 million (Up by 43.6%)
- Cereal/milk preparations: $34.5 million (Down by -26.2%)
- Vegetables: $15.5 million (Up by 134.1%)
- Live animals: $13.5 million (Up by 75%)
- Oil seeds: $6.1 million (Up by 640.7%)
Niger has highly positive net exports in the international trade of uranium or thorium ores and concentrates under the ores, slag and ash product category.
Overall Niger incurred a -$1.1 billion trade deficit for 2018, reversing a $230.5 million surplus one year earlier.
Below are exports from Niger that result in the greatest negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Niger’s goods trail Nigerien importer spending on foreign products.
- Machinery including computers: -US$305.3 million (Up by 109.7% since 2017)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: -$295.3 million (Up by 350%)
- Vehicles: -$168.3 million (Up by 153.3%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$144.8 million (Up by 72.4%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: -$113.7 million (Up by 18.9%)
- Cereals: -$98.9 million (Reversing a $104.2 million surplus)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$85.8 million (Up by 101.5%)
- Arms, ammunition: -$81.1 million (Up by 1698.6%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$67.8 million (Down by -39%)
- Miscellaneous food preparations: -$61.3 million (Up by 61.4%)
Niger has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for machinery including computers followed closely by aircraft and spacecraft.
Nigerien Export Companies
Not one Nigerien corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000 for 2016.
Wikipedia lists export-related companies from Niger. Selected examples are shown below:
- Air Niamey (airliner)
- COMINAK (uranium mining)
- SONIDEP (oil, gas)
- SONITEL (telecommunications)
Niger’s capital city is Niamey.
See also Nigeria’s Top 10 Exports and Capital Facts for Niamey, Niger
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on October 28, 2019
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Databases (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on October 28, 2019
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on October 28, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on October 28, 2019
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Niger. Accessed on October 28, 2019