Niger: The best growth in Africa thanks to mega project set up by President deposed by military


The African Development Bank (AfDB) forecasts an outstanding 11.2% growth for Niger in 2023, placing it as the fastest-growing economy in Africa and one of the leading performers globally. This impressive growth is largely attributed to the Niger-Benin pipeline, the continent’s longest oil pipeline, stretching about 2000 km, with 1250 km within Niger. Despite the political turmoil following the coup on July 26, 2023, that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum, this important infrastructure project, initiated during his administration, stands as a testament to his legacy.

The Niger-Benin pipeline, which became active in 2023, marks a key development in Niger’s economic landscape. It connects the Agadem oil field in Niger’s far east to the port of Sèmè in Benin, allowing the exportation of Nigerien crude oil for the first time. This project promises to boost Niger from its previous oil production capacity of barely 20,000 barrels per day, a figure that has stayed stagnant since 2011, to a potential output of 110,000 barrels per day, according to the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), which is responsible for the production.

The $4.5 billion investment into this pipeline is anticipated to transform the region’s destiny, boosting Niger’s economic growth well beyond the initial estimates for 2023 and supporting the country’s vision for a successful future. The AfDB’s report on “Africa’s Macroeconomic Performance and Prospects” emphasises the pipeline’s vital role in this growth, which is nearly three times the previous growth projections for Niger.

Nevertheless, challenges remain, including the repercussions of Niger’s announced departure from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), and the constant security threats from jihadist groups in the region where the oil is extracted. These factors pose notable risks to the sustainability of the projected economic growth and the successful exploitation of the oil pipeline. The future of Niger’s economy, hence, hinges not only on the strategic infrastructure projects like the Niger-Benin pipeline but also on the resolution of these political and security challenges.


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