France and Niger historically have strong relations. The two countries are linked through many agreements, in the areas of cultural, legal and defence cooperation. There is much high-level contact between political leaders and regular bilateral visits.
Consulate of France in Niger: Niamey
France’s community in Niger: 1,214 French nationals registered in January 2022.
Consulate of Niger in France: Paris
Niger’s community in France: 2,057 in 2015
- The President of the French Republic visited Niamey on 23 December 2017.
- The French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, visited Niamey on 12 October 2017 and 15 March 2018.
- The Minister of the Interior, Gérard Collomb, visited Niger from 15 to 17 March 2018, to attend a conference in Niamey (14 countries) on the fight against immigration, bringing together for the first time countries of departure, transit and arrival.
- Ministre d’État François de Rugy represented France on 25 February 2019 for the Climate Summit in Niamey, organized by Niger’s Presidency of the Climate Commission for the Sahel Region created by the African Union.
- Minister of the Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire visited Niger on 28 March 2019 for the Franc Zone Finance Ministers Meeting.
- President Bazoum was received by the French President on 9 July 2021. He took part in the Summit on the Financing of African Economies, held in Paris on 18 May 2021, as well as the Paris Peace Forum on 11 November 2021 and the International Conference for Libya on 12 November 2021.
- Former President Mahamadou Issoufou made official visits to France in June 2016 and June 2018 and was received in Paris by President François Hollande on 31 March 2017 and then President Emmanuel Macron on 15 January 2021.
- He attended the Sixth Replenishment Conference of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on 10 October 2019 in Lyon, and the Paris Peace Forum on 12 November. On 13 January 2020, he attended the Pau Summit alongside his G5 Sahel counterparts and the President of the French Republic.
In 2019, French exports to Niger increased by 17%, with a volume of €127 million. At the same time, French imports from Niger increased markedly, with a volume of €51 million. However, the bilateral trade balance has traditionally and structurally been positive in Niger, with the French deficit, which, however, is falling because of the significant drop in uranium imports.
At sectoral level, Niger mainly imports electrical equipment, computers and devices, and pharmaceuticals from France. Niger’s three main exports to France are non-ferrous metals, metal ores and various chemicals.
Around 30 French companies are working in Niger across all economic sectors, including services, distribution and mining.
Niger is one of the 19 priority countries for French development assistance. At the Renaissance Conference (for the financing of the 2017-2021 Economic and Social Development Plan) held in Paris on 13 and 14 December 2017, France pledged €400 million (all instruments combined) to Niger for the 2017-2021 period.
This financing is mainly implemented by the Agence française de développement (AFD, French Development Agency), the priorities of which are i) improving food security ii) strengthening governance for peace and public services iii) investing in human capital and youth iv) supporting economic development of territories and vi) supporting the demographic transition and women’s contribution to development. Niger received €590 million in AFD commitments between 2010 and 2019, including €280 million between 2017 and 2019. In 2019, France provided €119.27 million in official development assistance, including 71.74 million bilaterally.
France is the leading destination for students from Niger: in 2019/2020, there were 1,088 studying in France, which co-financed educational and mobility programmes (Erasmus +) in the areas of agriculture, health, political science and mathematics.
France supports the scaling up of the Secretariat of the Climate Commission of the Sahel Region and the implementation of the Climate Investment Plan for the Sahel Region (US$1.3 billion).
Decentralized cooperation (22 active partnerships) covered a large portion of Niger’s territory in 2018, amounting to €1 million per year.
Scientific cooperation draws on the National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD) and the medical and health research centre (CERMES) that is a member of the Pasteur Institute network and Agrhymet.
Cultural cooperation is built on the Jean Rouch France-Niger cultural centre, which is a binational institution. Its two centres in Niamey and Zinder have the two largest public libraries in Niger. Two Alliances Française branches are located in Agadez and Maradi. The Lycée Français La Fontaine in Niamey has almost 800 pupils, from pre-school through to secondary school.
In view of the security challenges in the Sahel-Sahara region, there is extensive security and defence cooperation between France and Niger. It seeks in particular to strengthen Niger’s expertise in combating major crime (terrorism, various forms of trafficking).
Operation Barkhane, launched in August 2014, relies on a projected air base in Niamey. It is committed in supporting Niger’s armed forces and the G5 Sahel Joint Force with which it conducts joint cross-border operations. The Joint Command Post and the Intelligence Fusion Cell, created following the Pau Summit, are also located in Niamey. Since March 2022, Niamey has also hosted a partner command post.
This operational cooperation is supplemented by a permanent structural cooperation system overseen by a network of seven military cooperation officers involved in six projects regarding training advice and operationalization of armed forces. Domestic security cooperation uses seven cooperation officers and mainly targets the areas of training and capacity building, in coordination with the EUCAP Sahel Niger mission.
Updated: June 2022