Niger is a landlocked and food-deficit Sahel country. Just over half the population is under age 15. Gender disparities persist and continue to strongly challenge the country’s development. A demographic growth of 3.9 percent, one of the highest in the world, adds to this already fragile context.
Food and nutrition insecurity in Niger are significant. This situation stems from poverty, environmental degradation, and cyclical shocks. Repeated droughts, floods, and desertification mark the ecological fragility of the country. This in turn has a significant negative impact on livelihoods as the economy is strongly reliant on climate sensitive sectors such as agriculture.
The population is predominantly rural, and 80 percent live in extreme poverty. Access to markets is limited. The weakness of insurance and other risk mitigation mechanisms impede the country’s development. Persisting regional volatility and security problems reinforce the persisting fragility. WFP continues to record the continuous arrival of refugees from Mali in all camps and hosting site, a situation likely to continue through the year.
In light of this situation, the government has put resilience building and social protection at the core of its development agenda. Despite advancements, including meeting the Millennium Development Goal 1 target of reducing hunger within the country, food and nutrition insecurity remains one of the major development challenges. Approximately 1.5 million people are chronically food insecure.