Niger's competitive and strategic advantages stem from the combination of several key factors
Niger has significantly increased its defence budget over the past four years as it has helped its neighbours contain and push back terrorist threats and insurgencies. It remains a key ally of the West and the third biggest military power in the region. As a result, the country is a haven of stability and its neighbours increasingly rely on its defence and military capacity. It has a stable government and important military capabilities to safeguard peace and security within and outside its borders.
Respect for the rule of law
Amongst other initiatives, Niger has adopted a secure legal framework, which takes into account the Organisation for the Harmonisation of Business Law in Africa's requirements.
* The ability to acquire and exercise all rights of any kind in property, concessions and administrative permits
* Easy repatriation of capital and profits
* The possibility of resorting to arbitration and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes
Access to key markets
Niger has strategic access to West Africa and is developing links with Algeria through which to export gas and other commodities to mainland Europe. Situated in the heart of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which is composed of 15 countries, Niger has tariff-free access to a market of 250 million consumers. More importantly, it is Northern Nigeria's largest trading partner and can act as a base to supply energy as well as other goods to the region. One area where this is already happening is the refined petroleum products sector where Niger's refinery is supplying Northern Nigeria and its regional neighbours.
Niger is pursuing the creation of international links and the development of transportation infrastructures, significantly enhancing cross-border connectivity and linking large cities in the region.
An attractive business environment
Several measures have been taken with a view to creating an attractive business environment in Niger:
* Adoption of a new investment code
* Establishment of a one-stop shop for local and international investors (guichet unique)
* Strengthening of the effectiveness of public institutions
* The creation of duty-free special economic zones
* Establishment of training centres for the youth, which represent an abundant and cheap labour supply
Ambitious sectoral strategies
Niger has embarked on a new strategy...