With a young, rapidly growing population of 15.2 million (2010), Niger is a vast landlocked country in Africa and of the least developed in the world. The economy is dominated by agriculture and mining, being highly vulnerable to fluctuating global prices and recurrent drought. Its main export is uranium, although negotiations on oil exploration and gold mining may change this. 85 per cent of labour force are vulnerable workers (2005) and GDP/capita was at $358 in 2010.

Social indicators are low: the infant mortality rate is 81 per 1,000 live births, a literacy rate of 29 per cent (2008) and of just 17 per cent among women. Without renewed efforts, Niger is unlikely to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

Labour market and decent work issues

Niger is working to reach the Millennium Development and to set the foundations for sustainable development. Employment promotion has been identified as central to these aims.

Agriculture and artisanal trade dominate the labour market. Most workers are in the informal sector and in vulnerable jobs.

Low literacy levels and educational attainment prevent many from achieving their aspirations and women and young people are at greater risk of unemployment.

Social protection is limited and a basic floor is needed to protect people against life’s contingencies.

Many jobs are difficult and dangerous and accidents in the workplace are common, particularly in mines, transport and public works, resulting in loss of income for workers and employers, as well as dragging down labour productivity. Niger has the foundations for effective social dialogue which can help improve safety in the workplace through better implementation of occupational safety and health regulations.

Child labour is of major concern and food insecurity pushes many children into working at an early age to feed themselves and supplement family income.

Decent work into national policies

Since 2010, the government of Niger has set a broad framework for development, focusing on macroeconomic and financial stability; the development of productive sectors of the economy, particularly in rural areas; improving access to social services for the poor; and strengthening capacity across the board. The importance of job rich growth has been fully recognized.

To support these goals, the Government and Social Partners with ILO support have identified the following priorities:

i)job creation and entrepreneurship, particularly in rural areas

ii) elimination of child labour, particularly in its worst forms

iii) fostering a culture of social dialogue

iv)extension of social protection and occupational safety and health

The Decent Work Country Programme, under preparation, contributing also towards the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) to which the ILO is a contributor.

National partners 


Further reading