Trade between India and Niger
1. Niger, a land-locked country in sub-Sahara region of West Africa, happens to be one of the poorest countries in the world. Uranium provides 65% of country's export proceeds and another 20% are generated by export of live animals in an informal way, to neighbouring countries mainly Nigeria and the rest 10% is contributed by export of agricultural and some basic industrial products. Keeping in view the fact that revenues generated by formal exports are meager to meet administrative and developmental needs of the country, a substantial part of the budgetary requirements of the Nigerien Government are met by financial assistance received from various multilateral and regional financial institutions, as well as by several countries on bilateral basis. Agriculture in Niger at present is at subsistence level. In view of low level of economic development and poor purchasing power of common people, the scope for imports of products by Niger is also rather limited.
2. In the above background, the bilateral trade between India and Niger is also low as is evidenced by the bilateral trade figures for the last eight years given below:
All the figures in US $ Million
The source of data is Department of Commerce, Government of India.
3. Indian exports to Niger during the last 8 years, have registered growth, with variations during alternate years. So far as Indian imports from Niger are concerned, the volume has not been significant except during the years 2010-11 and 2012-13.
4. India's major exports to Niger include pharmaceuticals and chemical products, cereals, sugar and sugar confectionary, and other edible items, cotton, man-made filament and apparels, electrical machinery and equipment and parts thereof; articles of iron and steel; rubber and articles thereof; plastic & leather and articles thereof; matches/combustible items, precious/semi-precious/imitation jewelry, textile, footwear etc. There has been a considerable increase in the export of cereals, sugar and sugar confectionary, other edible items in 2014-15 and in 2015-16.
5. The exports from Niger to India mainly constitute wood and wood articles; iron and steel, chemicals; paper and pulp; leather skins, etc.
6. It may also be noted that the above figures do not truly reflect the quantum of trade as a large number of Niger businessmen procure Indian goods and products from Dubai and the actual volume of export of Indian products to Niger may be significantly higher. Education, especially e-learning, Medical tourism, Pharmaceutical products and Solar energy hold potential for Indian companies / businesses. Besides, Niger would be hosting the African Union Summit in 2019. There is a tremendous potential for development of infrastructure, sanitation projects, construction of hotels etc. Indians companies could look forward to tap into this market.
7. Bilateral trade between India and Niger is expected to increase with growing awareness about Indian strengths in different sectors of the economy. With Indian companies doing LOC and other projects in Niamey, their footprint in Niger is likely to grow and may provide impetus to bilateral trade.