Africa > West Africa > Niger > Niger Transportation Profile

Niger: Niger Transportation Profile


Pinasse carrying cargo and passengers on the Niger River

Strongly confronted by additional than 10 years of a decaying economy, the available infrastructure in Niger has decayed due to wear and tear and poor maintenance. In 1999, almost all infrastructure needed to be restored or restored, at least for the little of it that exists. It is for this reason that the government will put new renovating measures in place and replace the infrastructure.

To accomplish this renovation programme (PRIU), the support of the government has been sought in initiating it. As for the government, thanks to the support of its development partners they have begun work on a few different levels, restoring the national of the roads, airports and tracks, so that the people of this large country can avoid being isolated from the outside world.

Transport: Priority given to major trunk roads

The transport policies in Niger address the renovation and maintenance of the road networks. The angle being worked on is for regional integration and an development in trade exchanges inside and outside of Niger. The roads towards Burkina Faso, and less so but equally near Mali, plus certain sections of the national highway (number 1) are a priority, so that the agricultural and animal produce of each different region can be transported freely. The construction projects, like that of an asphalt road from Téra to the Burkina Faso border, or the rural route from Ayorou to the border of Mali, or the restoration of the road between Niamey and the border of Burkina Faso, and a few kilometres in Niamey, Tahoua, Maradi, and Zinder, are particularly worth a mention.
The rural roads are as well the objects of particular attention. Niger has planned for the construction of an “Onion Road” (84 Km long), linking up Tarna, Galmi and Guidan Albakari, the “Dates Road” (46 Km long), linking up Goudoumaria, Kodjiméri and Abuja and as well the “Sugar Cane Road” with a initial section from Doungou to Majéma (30 Km), and again a second section linking Angoual Marafa to Douméga (29 Km long).

The transport system in this vast country, which measures additional than one million Km², is concentrated around road transport for the moment.

The country has three significant airports, one in Niamey, which complies with international standards, the second at Zinder, and the third at Agadez, which is in the north of the country. The renovation project on the third one should enable it to receive large carriers in about two or three months’ time. However, the Aïr desert is still fragile.

The construction of developed roads has been relatively weak over the last decade. Increase of about 6%2525 for all road system, plus the lack of maintenance of existing roads has lead to an accelerated breakdown in the quality of all road network. Today it is estimated that this network covers about 13 807 Km of road, 3 760 Km of which is covered in tar, 2 860 Km are modern gravel roads, 2 879 Km are normal dirt roads, and about 4 310 Km of them are overland tracks. With the help of investment backers, namely the European Union (EU) and the World Bank, but as well the French Agency for Development, and the BOAD, a restoration programme is underway.

Transport is the second sector receiving attention from the European Union.

Airport Infrastructures

As far as airport infrastructures are concerned, one could mainly consider the Diori Hamani International Airport of Niamey, whose capacities allow it to be open to international air traffic, and secondary airports like Zinder, Agadez, Maradi, Tahoua and Diffa, which are all managed by Asecna.

From the airport of Niamey, Air France ensures two weekly connections to Europe. Since 2003, work has begun to allow the Agadez airport to as well receive large carriers. With works to extend the capacities of its airport, the capital of Aïr, an excellent tourist destination, will open its doors to the world thanks to the increased number of the charter flights.

Road Infrastructures

As far as road infrastructures are concerned, the construction of over 400 Km of asphalt roads will be added to the government’s assets. Work will notably be carried out on sections from Niamey to Dosso, which has been financed by the European Union at the request of the government, and the Niamey-Torodi and Agadez-Zinder roads.
In the city of Niamey itself, according to the elaborated programme, 50 Km of roads are going to be built each year for a total cost of 16.25 billion CFA Francs. An initiative that is by presently showing good signs can be found in the capital of Niger, where one may circulate comfortably on the major streets that have been repaired. Inside the country, there are road-relaying works on 1 433 Km of dirt roads and the construction of additional than 850 Km of rural tracks designed to open up access to villages.

The repairing of damaged sections in the country continues particularly with the work on the major national trunk road N°1, for the section linking Guldan, Roumdji, Maradi, and Tchadoua. Later the work on the sections between Gouré and Zinder plus Gouré and Djadjiii will begin.

The Sahelian Company, CSE, whose chief offices are located in Dakar carries out work on the road going to the border of Burkina Faso, which allows there to be a connection between both capitals, Niamey and Ouagadougou, in much less time.

The WAZIR company is one of the biggest companies in civil engineering, creator of art work, buildings and hydraulics, the quality of their services being known beyond the borders of Niger. In 1999, with the economic boom in Niger, the company resumed its business activities under the new name, "Entreprise Moussa WAZIRI".

The objectives are to open up the rural zones through the construction of tracks to facilitate the access of the poorest populations to the markets, social services and to data. Europe has joined the objective to facilitate the cross-border exchanges through renovating the regional roads. They want to ensure the longevity of the investments that have been made in the sector through a maintenance project on the trunk roads network. About 65 million Euros should be allocated to the sector in accordance with the 9th FED.

As for the World Bank, it agreed to an IDA loan of 28 million dollars in 1997 for transport infrastructure, in order to improve the road network and ensure the maintenance of the roads.

The work on several new rural tracks for a total distance of 480 Km started in 2002 throughout all the departments with the exception of Agadez and Diffa. Work as well started on the renovation of sections of asphalt covered roads from Niamey to Dosso and from Niamey to the border of Burkina Faso. About 1 500 Km of dirt roads have by presently been or are in the process of being relayed. Finally, the reconstruction of two bridges on the road from Niamey to Say and again to Tapoa has begun.

At the same time, a set of reforms of the transport sector were partially completed. Indeed, the “Caisse Autonome pour le financement et l’entretien routier” (CAFER) – the Independent Bank for road maintenance and financing – has been created. As well, the Civil Engineering Government has been restructured. And finally, the “Société de locations des matériels des travaux publics” (SLMTP) – Company for construction work equipment hire - will indeed be privatised in June 2003, falling into the hands of private Nigerien investors for a total of 51 %2525 of the company’s capital and thus allowing a free-market economy in the transport sector.

The CAFER marks the disengagement of the government in the direct execution of road network maintenance. A government-owned independent establishment, it is essentially known as a road fund financed by diverse resources other than the Public Treasury: licences for oil products intended for consumption, road tolls on major trunk roads, resources coming from direct operations, or by grants for work on the national road network...

To ensure import and export operations of goods entering and leaving Niger, the Nigerien Transit Company (NITRA), a Customs approved transport agent, has qualified staff and an infrastructure to match its ambitions. As well the CNUT, the Nigerien Agency for public transport users, is looking for, studying and implementing all measures leading to an development in its efficiency, the speed of transport, and cost management. Its competence as well includes national, regional and international transport, inclunding all modes of transport.

The railroad project seems to be at a dead end. The railway lines at no time arrived in Niger. The continuation of the line from Parakou to Niamey has always been a topic of discussion. The task is delicate because railroad transport is ensured by a communal organisation between Benin and Niger (OCBN), a semi-public establishment created in 1959, lies in the hands of both nations. Initially registered on the inventory of privatised companies, the OCBN was removed and will, instead, be restructured. It has several significant structural difficulties: outdated traction equipment, most of which is over 20 years old; a lack of competitiveness with regards to road transport, and a financial situation that is close to bankruptcy. At the moment, the OCBN manages the long line (438 Km) between Cotonou and Parakou. The border lines in the west towards Ouidah (58 km) and in the east towards Abomey (107 km) have by presently been closed due to their lack of profitability.

On the other hand, next 9 years of inactivity, the line between Cotonou and Porto Novo was opened again in January 1999. The track that heads towards Burkina Faso, Dori-Téra and Niamey inclunding the one towards Nigeria, Sokoto-Brini N' Konni are at the verge of collapse.

However the creation of the Statutory Company Africarail, which wants to seize the opportunities of the NEPAD and show that its programme to work on various sections of track is deserving of a priority programme, has begun to arouse some hopes of seeing trains in Niamey.

The road will still be, for some years, the only means of ground transport in Niger.

Airports - with paved runways Total: 
Airports - with unpaved runways Total: 
Transportation - note: