France and Niger have close, special relations.
Latest bilateral meetings
• Mr Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, visited Niger in February 2015, after a first visit in May 2013.
• President Mahamadou Issoufou took part in the Republican march in January 2015 in the wake of the attacks in Paris. He also took part in the Élysée Summit for Peace and Security in Africa in December 2013, as well as at the Paris Summit for Security in Nigeria in May 2014. He was again received in France in June 2015.
• Mr François Hollande, President of the French Republic, made a state visit to Niger in May 2014. Mr Manuel Valls, French Prime Minister, visited Niger in November 2014.
• The Prime Minister of Niger, Mr Brigi Rafini, made a working visit to France in July 2013.
France is one of Niger’s leading suppliers. However, the bilateral trade balance is structurally in favour of Niger due to exports of uranium. Mechanical equipment and pharmaceuticals are the main export items from France to Niger.
Some twenty French companies are present in Niger, including both subsidiaries of large groups and small and medium-sized enterprises. They work in particular in the services, distribution and mining sectors.
France’s foreign direct investment stock in Niger totalled €147 million in 2012, primarily in the mining and telecommunications sectors.
France is the largest bilateral donor of development assistance to Niger, behind the United States ($73 million disbursed in 2013).
The framework partnership document signed in November 2013 for the period 2013-2016 identifies five main priority areas:
• stability and security;
• sustainable development;
• human development;
• agriculture and food security;
• cultural diversity and Francophonie.
The projects of the Agence française de développement (AFD, French Development Agency) have in recent years focused on water and infrastructure in urban and rural areas, education, vocational training, health, energy, and support for non-governmental organizations and the private sector. It is also implementing budget support for Niger (€10 million in 2013 and €10 million in 2014).
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development is also implementing several priority solidarity funds such as “State modernization and decentralization in Niger”, “Support for the modernization of Abdou Moumouni University in Niamey” and “Tax compliance and development”.
There is also a Franco-Nigerien cultural centre in Niamey, which also has a branch in Zinder. Two Alliances françaises are located in Agadez and Maradi.
In view of the security challenges in the Sahel-Sahara region, there is extensive security and defence cooperation between France and Niger.
As such, Niger, along with Mali and Mauritania, received support under the “Justice and Security in the Sahel-Sahara Region” Priority Solidarity Fund project, aimed at strengthening State capacities in terms of internal security, the justice system, and customs in the fight against terrorism and organized crime. A project providing “Support for cross-border cooperation in the Sahel” (ACTS) is being implemented in the border area with Burkina Faso and Mali, from 2015.
In the framework of Operation Barkhane, which was launched in August 2014, France has an air force detachment in Niamey. A temporary forward base has also been set up in Madama, near the Libyan border.