Niger GDP is about $9.24 Billion with a growth of 5.2% in 2018, up from 4.9% in 2017, reflecting a good agriculture year. The GDP is mainly dependent on the Agricultural sector accounting for about 43.4% of the economy, followed by the services sector 35% and then the industrial sector with 14.9%. The growth should continue for the upcoming year as it’s expected to 5.4% in 2019 and 5.7 in 2020. This positive trend could be related to the agricultural sector thanks to land expansion irrigated areas and the development of mini-dams. Also, the 2017-2020 Economic and Social Development Plan includes numerous infrastructure projects which are boosting the economy.
Niger generated 284 MW, the totality of it comes from fossil fuel, with very low electricity access amounting for only 11%. Niger is aiming to reach universal access by 2035. In Niger, uranium accounts for 5% of GDP and 5% of tax revenue. Niger is holding 10% of the world’s uranium reserves and is ranked as the world’s fourth-largest producer with 5,000 tons of uranium per year. The country has a reserve of 1 million 800,000 tons of uranium which Niger count utilize to produce cheap nuclear energy. As Niger cost post-construction will be extremely low compared to other nations, because of the Uranium deposits in the country.
According to Mr. Daouda Djibo Takoubakoye, Secretary-General of HANEA (Niger High Authority for Atomic Energy) and Director of the electro-nuclear department in charge of the implementation of the electro-nuclear program “By 2030, we intend to begin the construction and more precisely December 18, 2026. Already on December 18, 2021, the site will be identified and the excavation will start.”
Niger has taken steps into the implementation of nuclear power as they are working with IAEA and the government is showing a strong will to develop nuclear as stated by Mr. Mikhail Chudakov, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy “There is a strong commitment from the Government to the work of developing the infrastructure for a nuclear power program…I am encouraged that even though Niger is still in an early phase, it has already enacted a comprehensive nuclear law, established an independent Nuclear Regulatory Authority, and is currently reviewing existing regulations and developing appropriate new ones”
According to Mr. Shaukat Abdulrazak (IAEA’s director, Africa) who will be attending Africa Nuclear Business Platform in Kenya next October “IAEA has supported Niger up to five million euros in various development projects and has strengthened its capabilities in the peaceful use of nuclear science and technology.”
Nuclear power could give a significant push to Niger’s economy as it would provide reliable electricity, improve agricultural practices, help with desalination of water and medicine. Also, the industry would create jobs as explained by Mr. Daouda “If we connect today a 1000 MW nuclear power plant, we will have a GDP growth rate of 25% for the first year. This growth will follow 12.5% each year for ten years. An electro-nuclear program creates 100,000 jobs. There will be 5000 people who will work during the 5 years in the construction of the power station. In addition, the country will benefit from the high technology that will be used to set up this plant.” Mr. Daouda will be joining Africa Nuclear Business Platform as well to discuss further Niger’s nuclear program.
Regional cooperation in the energy sector could play a significant role in the region as West Africa has a so-called energy trading system, the West African Power Pool (Wapp). Its information center is in Cotonou and today every African country that produces electricity sufficiently has the right to sell it on the regional market. So, if Niger produces enough electricity, it can sell it in the regional system. Niger is currently electrically connected to 8 countries, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Nigeria.
Niger’s electro-nuclear program is sub-regional. In 2014, they held a first meeting of the West African group for the program. Each country will have a part of the program. For example, there will be countries that will specialize in electric transport, others in the supply of fuels or waste management (spent fuel), etc. So, the economic impact will be felt and also the creation of jobs.
For further information about Africa Nuclear Business Platform:
Author: Ibrahim Ababou. Global Account Manager – Nuclear/ Project Manager – Africa Nuclear Business Platform.