Niger’s economy depends on subsistence crops, livestock and uranium deposits. The country runs a continuous deficit on merchandise trade and its imports are dominated by machinery, vehicles, fuels and cereals. In 1999, France was one of the biggest trading partners of Niger in terms of imports (19%) and exports (40%). However, subsequently Japan has emerged as Niger’s main export partner. Nigeria is Niger’s biggest trade partner if figures related to informal trade are also considered. Niger also has trade relations with Germany, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and, in the region, with Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Benin.
Niger Trade: Balance of Trade
Niger’s current account balance had a deficit of $321 million, according to 2007 estimates. The country reported total commodities exports of $428 million in 2006, with the import of commodities standing at $800 million.
Niger Trade: Exports
Exports of agro based and other products play a significant role in Niger’s economy. While uranium is the biggest contributor to Niger’s export revenues, foreign exchange earnings from livestock are also quite significant. Although the actual export of livestock is far higher than the official statistics, a large amount of it is unaccounted with large herds of animals informally crossing into Nigeria. Cowpeas, onions, hides and skins are the other items of exports from Niger. Japan has emerged as one of the biggest export destinations for Niger products and accounted for over 80% of the African nation’s exports. Nigeria and France are the two other major export destinations for Niger’s products and accounted for 8.5% and 2.9% of the nation’s 2008 exports.
Niger Trade: Imports
Foodstuffs, machinery, vehicles and parts, petroleum and cereals are the major items imported by Niger. France is the biggest import partner of Niger and accounted of nearly 17% of the African nation’s 2008 exports. China, Algeria, Nigeria, French Polynesia and Belgium were the other main import partners of Niger in 2008 and accounted for 11%, 9.7%, 7.5%, 6.6% and 4.3%, respectively.