Niger, officially the Republic of Niger, is a landlocked country in Western Africa, named after the Niger River. The economic growth throughout the past 50 has steadily been increasing. For the past 50 or so years there has been a steady increase in the life expectancy resulting in the increase in GDP / economic growth.
In order to show the extent to which the health and education in Niger is we have compared one indicator of health and one of Education and compared it to a relatively developed country. In this case we have compared Niger to the UAE (United Arab Emirates) using the life expectancy in years and compared it to the literacy of adults aged 15 and above. From fig 2 we can see that not only is there and increase in both but in comparison the UAE has a much larger literacy in adults aged 15 and above and life expectancy then Niger.
It Is also interesting to look at the difference in literacy for females and males. It is very common to see that in LDC's there is a larger gap between the education that males receive compared to females. This may be due to cultural reasons as well as most of the work that is available to their economy is highly labour intensive and therefore is generally accepted to me a males job in LDC's.
How have each of the following have contributed to Economic Development in your country:
1. Education: In Niger education being very basic and many not continuing past their early teens the country has a very poor education standard and in turn has a low GDP. In the past 10 - 15 years various foundations have sought out to increase the quality and duration of education in Niger.
2.Property Rights: Niger is among the poorest countries in the world, with most of its population dependent for their livelihoods upon subsistence agriculture and livestock-rearing. The country has experienced declining average rainfall, desertification, recurring droughts and deforestation. Undernourishment is widespread and the majority of the rural population does not have access to safe drinking water. The severe drought and food emergency in 2005 caused the undernourishment of many and left the country’s population extremely vulnerable.
The government has been unsuccessful in its attempts through legislation to increase land tenure security for the population, individualize land-use rights, and reduce the power of traditional chiefs. Instead, there are now layers of often contradictory land rights. The 1993 Rural Code decentralizes land administration and allows for registration of customary land rights, but confusion over what rights can be registered, and the lack of capacity to manage land registration, has caused an increase in land disputes and increased the risk that those with less power to assert claims, such as women and pastorals, will ultimately lose land rights.
3.Technology: Niger relies heavily on foreign sources for technical expertise, and French agencies are especially active; the Bureau of Geological and Mineral Research, the French Company for the Development of Textile Fibers, the Institute of Fruit and Citrus Fruit Research, and the French Institute of Scientific Research for Development and Cooperation all have offices in Niamey. The University of Niamey, founded in 1971, includes faculties of science, agronomy, and health services, and institutes of radioisotopes and of research on the teaching of mathematics. In 1987–97, science and engineering students accounted for 32% of college and university enrollments. The National Museum of Niger, founded in 1959 in Niamey, has a zoo, a geological and mineral exhibition, and paleontology and pre-history museums.
4.Women’s empowerment: In Niger women's rights have been slowly increasing allowing women's to work in more stereo typically male orientated jobs. This although a large step forward for women's rights was predominantly due to the necessity of a stable income forcing women to work. Although on a late September day in the Niger hundreds of women from the Egberu, Afam-Ukwu and Afam-Nta communities gathered in Oyigbo. In an attempt to increase the availability of women's health care.
International factors that act as a barrier to both growth and development.
1. Over Specialization on A narrow range of products: Niger is dependent on primary commodities for a significant share of their export revenue. Rising commodity prices would be extremely beneficial for Niger. It would increase the rate of economic growth and the revenues could be used to finance education, health, and infrastructure, then this can set a positive cycle of development and growth in Niger. However, if prices fall for the commodities Niger will experience a deteriorating terms of trade. The current account deficit in Niger will increase and it will be very difficult to finance current expenditure and Niger’s necessary imports. The falling price will adversely affect growth and development in Niger. Due to the fact Niger is dependent on a very narrow range of primary exports they face a lot of vulnerability and uncertainty where any change in the price of exported commodities could significantly impact economic growth and development within the country. Overall, the overspecialization in Niger, makes it is extremely difficult for the country to gain much growth through international trade.
2. Price Volatility: Niger exports mostly commodities like wheat, vanilla, shellfish, sugar, and fiber. The price elasticity for demand for commodities and the price elasticity of supply for commodities on the world market, tend to be relatively inelastic. With such inelastic supply and demand, any change in the demand or supply conditions for resources will lead to large price fluctuations. This will have a marked impact on revenue for Niger. This price volatility, and subsequent export volatility makes it very difficult for producers and governments in developing countries to plan ahead. The inability to plan ahead has an impact on investments in companies, thus adversely effecting Niger’s economic growth. Also, the inability to plan ahead effects government planning for education, health care and infrastructure, thus affecting economic development.
A means of achieving economic growth and economic development.
1. Diversification: In the agricultural context, diversification can be regarded as the re-allocation of some of a farm's productive resources, such as land, capital, farm equipment and pieces to other farmers and, particularly in richer countries, non-farming activities such as restaurants and shops. Factors leading to decisions to diversify are many, but include; reducing risk, responding to changing consumer demands or changing government policy, responding to external shocks and, more recently, as a consequence of climate change. In Niger I believe that this will be a productive way of increasing exports and production essentially increasing GDP and Growth. Although this is currently not being put in place due to the large percentage of the population that is currently living under the poverty line. Due to the large percentage of poverty in the country the government has chosen to focus on increasing the living standards rather then the re-allocation of resources.
2. Trade liberalization: Trade liberalization is the removal or reduction of restrictions or barriers on the free exchange of goods between nations. This includes the removal or reduction of tariff obstacles, such as duties and surcharges, and non-tariff obstacles, such as licensing rules, quotas and other requirements. I believe that although this will allow the country to grow as it may give them more export opportunity's and allow for more exposure to international market it has a lot of negative affects. For example trade liberalization would allow MNC's to take control of the country as they would be allowed to use the resources available to them and many MNC's have a larger income than LDC's. Overall I would argue that although there are a large amount of negative aspect trade liberalization allows Niger to increase its exposure. As well as having more exposure due to MNC's coming into the country they may begin to fix and increase the amount of infrastructure as they would need roads and ports to export their goods.
Explain why the servicing of international debt causes balance of payments problems and has an opportunity cost in terms of foregone spending on development objectives.
If Niger were to pay of the debt Gross external debt which in 2011 was $1.342 billion US dollars it would cause a huge decrease in the amount of public spending that the government is attempting to do.