That dollar amount reflects an 87.4% increase since 2016 and a 46% gain from 2019 to 2020.
The 3 biggest exported products from Niger are gold, uranium or thorium ores and concentrates, and processed petroleum oils. Combined, that trio of leading exported goods represent 88.1% of Niger’s overall export revenues. So high a percentage indicates an intensely concentrated set of export goods.
Niger’s Major Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data shows that 97.5% of products exported from Niger were bought by importers in: United Arab Emirates (49.9% of the global total), France (17.1%), Mali (8.7%), Burkina Faso (6.3%), Canada (4.4%), Nigeria (3.2%), United States (1.8%), Algeria (1.6%), Chad (1.4%), Ghana (1.3%), Spain (1%) and Benin (0.9%).
From a continental perspective, 50.8% of Niger’s exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while 24.7% were sold to importers in Europe. Niger shipped another 18.4% worth of goods to fellow African countries.
Smaller percentages went to North America (6.1%) and Oceania’s Australia (0.01%).
Given Niger’s population of 24.2 million people, its total $1.247 billion in 2020 exports translates to roughly $50 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 2020, 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.
- Gems, precious metals: US$631.2 million (50.6% of total exports)
- Ores, slag, ash: $285.1 million (22.9%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $183.4 million (14.7%)
- Vegetables: $17.5 million (1.4%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $15.3 million (1.2%)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: $15.2 million (1.2%)
- Vehicles: $14.8 million (1.2%)
- Machinery including computers: $13.7 million (1.1%)
- Live animals: $11.9 million (1%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $10.7 million (0.9%)
Niger’s top 10 exports accounted for 96.1% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Aircraft and spacecraft represents the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 3,717% from 2019 to 2020.
In second place for improving export sales were vehicles via a 360.3% gain.
Niger’s shipments of gems and precious metals posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 233.1%, propelled by higher international revenues from gold exports.
The leading decliner among Niger’s top 10 export categories was animal or vegetable fats, oils and waxes, thanks to a -73.3% drop year over year.
At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Niger’s most valuable goods in 2020 were gold at 50.6% of its global total, uranium and thorium ores and concentrates (22.9%), refined petroleum oils (14.7%) and palm oil (1.2%).
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.
- Gems, precious metals: US$630.8 million (Up by 233.7% since 2019)
- Ores, slag, ash: $284.6 million (Up by 25.8%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $63.3 million (Down by -29.5%)
- Live animals: $11.7 million (Down by -49.6%)
- Vegetables: $8.3 million (Down by -84.7%)
- Oil seeds: $2.8 million (Down by -39.4%)
- Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $1 million (Down by -48.9%)
- Wool: $13,000 (Reversing a -$7,000 deficit)
- Gums, resins, other vegetable saps: $7,000 (Reversing a -$14,000 deficit)
- Live trees, plants, cut flowers: $3,000 (Down by -88.5%)
Niger has highly positive net exports in the international trade under the gems and precious metals product category, notably for gold.
Overall Niger incurred a -$1.78 billion trade deficit for 2020, down by -7.3% from -$1.9 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.
- Cereals: -US$396.4 million (Up by 24.7% since 2019)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: -$277 million (Up by 1.8%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$258.8 million (Up by 140.6%)
- Machinery including computers: -$239.3 million (Down by -7.7%)
- Arms, ammunition: -$238.8 million (Up by 143.1%)
- Vehicles: -$197.9 million (Down by -1.4%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$118.7 million (Up by 41.5%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$113.3 million (Down by -47.5%)
- Miscellaneous food preparations: -$89.9 million (Up by 66.3%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$89.6 million (Up by 29%)
Niger has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for cereals, principally rice and to a much lesser extent corn.
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 4.1% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2020 ($30.5 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 4.1% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2020 compares to roughly 1.7% for 2019. Those percentages suggest a relatively increasing 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 for 2020 was 0.7%, up from an average 0.5 in 2019 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 October 5, 2021
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Databases (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity)
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on October 5, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on October 5, 2021
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Niger. Accessed on October 5, 2021