A landlocked nation in northwest Africa, Niger shipped an estimated US$444.3 million worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a -44.1% decrease since 2015 and a -71.4% drop from 2018 to 2019.
The latest available country-specific data from 2018 shows that 93.8% of products exported from Niger were bought by importers in: Thailand (14% of the global total), France (13.6%), Switzerland (13.5%), Malaysia (13.3%), Nigeria (11.4%), Brazil (6.3%), China (5.9%), Indonesia (4%), Mali (3.9%), Turkey (3.9%), United States (2.2%) and Japan (1.8%).
From a continental perspective, 44.5% of Niger’s exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while 28.1% were sold to importers in Europe. Niger shipped another 18.9% worth of goods to fellow African countries. Smaller percentages went to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (6.4%), North America (2.2%) then Oceania led by New Zealand and Australia (0.005%).
Given Niger’s population of 23.3 million people, its total $444.3 million in 2019 exports translates to roughly $20 for every resident in the northwest African country.
Niger’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Nigerien global shipments during 2019, 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.
- Oil seeds: US$230.8 million (51.9% of total exports)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $68.6 million (15.4%)
- Inorganic chemicals: $59.6 million (13.4%)
- Vegetables: $12.3 million (2.8%)
- Machinery including computers: $6.3 million (1.4%)
- Organic chemicals: $3.8 million (0.9%)
- Gems, precious metals: $3.5 million (0.8%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $2 million (0.5%)
- Vehicles: $1.7 million (0.4%)
- Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $1.5 million (0.3%)
Niger’s top 10 exports accounted for 87.8% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Inorganic chemicals represent the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 270,886% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving export sales were organic chemicals via a 7,833% gain. Niger’s shipments of oil seeds posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 3,141%.
The leading decliner among Niger’s top 10 export categories was gems, precious metals: thanks to a -98.3% drop year over year
At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Niger’s most valuable goods in 2019 were: oil seeds 51.8% of its global total), radioactive chemical elements (13.4%), petroleum gases (10.8%), refined petroleum oils (4.6%), alliaceous vegetables including onions and garlic (2%), acyclic hydrocarbons (0.8%) and jewelry (0.7%).
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.
- Oil seeds: US$223.2 million (Up by 3,589% since 2018)
- Inorganic chemicals: $47.2 million (Reversing a -$14.7 million deficit)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $17.8 million (Down by -85.8%)
- Vegetables: $10.1 million (Down by -34.2%)
- Gems, precious metals: $3.1 million (Down by -98.5%)
- Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $1.5 million (Up by 15%)
- Organic chemicals: $1.3 million (Reversing a -$3.2 million deficit)
- Collector items, art, antiques: $1.3 million (Reversing a -$237,000 deficit)
- Gums, resins, other vegetable saps: $551,000 (Up by 6,788%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $281,000 (Down by -99.9%)
Niger has highly positive net exports in the international trade under the oil seeds product category.
Overall Niger incurred an estimated -$946.5 million trade deficit for 2019, down by -12.8% from -$1.1 billion in red ink 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$139.1 million (Down by -54.5% since 2018)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$123.4 million (Down by -14.2%)
- Vehicles: -$116.6 million (Down by -31.4%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$106.1 million (Up by 56.3%)
- Cereals: -$75.6 million (Down by -25.9%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$59.6 million (Down by -133.2%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$58.6 million (Down by -31.9%)
- Miscellaneous food preparations: -$52.6 million (Down by -14.4%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: -$47.5 million (Down by -58.2%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$43.6 million (Up by 44.1%)
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)
In macroeconomic terms, Niger’s total exported goods represent an estimated 1.7% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($25.8 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 1.7% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2019 compares to roughly 6.5% for 2018. Those metrics suggest a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Niger’s total economic performance albeit based on relatively short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Niger’s average unemployment rate was 0.3% for 2019, same as one year earlier according to Trading Economics.
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 July 30, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Databases (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on July 30, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on July 30, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on July 30, 2020
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Niger. Accessed on July 30, 2020