Niger is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Despite receiving aid from foreign entities, it remains one of the poorest countries in the world. These five development projects in Niger work to address several of the root problems contributing to poverty and instability in the country.
Niger Solar Electricity Access Project (NESAP)
With an average of only 14.3 percent of its population having access to electricity, Niger remains among the least “electrified” countries in the world. However, in 2017, the World Bank approved the sponsorship of the Niger Solar Electricity Access Project (NESAP).
This project is designed to increase solar energy access to rural and peri-urban areas, where access to electricity drops to 5.4 percent. It consists of four components: market development and research, rural electrification, solar hybridization and access expansion and technical assistance and implementation support.
Resilience in the Sahel Enhanced (RISE) Initiative
RISE consists of a number of humanitarian programs by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) that focus on food security, nutrition and sanitation. It also includes programs designed for the health of women and small children, combatting malnutrition and monitoring compliance to health-related legislation.
National Malaria Control Program (NMCP)
As of 2013, malaria affected 32 percent of the population, and it remains the leading cause of death for Nigeriens. NMCP works to combat malaria by establishing a stable supply chain committee. Furthermore, it improves the availability of commodities and the overall performance of malaria prevention efforts.
Niger’s National Education and Training Sector Program
The government of Niger launched a 10-year program expanding into 2024 that tackles the prominent education issue in the country. Currently, the 30 percent literacy rate in the country highlights a need for increased access and quality of education. USAID has also partnered with the Nigerien government to assist with development projects in Niger.
These projects are aimed at raising the quality of education, especially for females, who suffer from the 18 percent gender gap in school enrollment. The program focuses on building community efforts toward education and active parental involvement. It also works to build a reading culture to increase the literacy rate and knowledge retention.
Water Mobilization Project to Enhance Food Security in Maradi, Tahoua and Zinder Regions (PMERSA-MTZ)
PMERSA-MTZ, funded by the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP), aims primarily to build water collection and mobilization infrastructure. It also attempts to strengthen activities that benefit farmers and herders.
Since 2011, it has successfully built wells, thresholds, dams, ponds, boreholes, water banks, dikes, ravines and more. It also continues to train experts and livestock assistants to build capacity for production. Among its other initiatives, the PMERSA-MTZ continues to promote income-generating activities for Nigeriens and contribute to environmental protection and soil conservation efforts in the region.
These active development projects in Niger have consequently improved the quality of life for the country’s population. By working toward minimizing the root causes of poverty in Niger, these programs can boost the development of the country and its citizens’ ability to sustain themselves.
– Francesca Colella