Niger (2012)

Source: REEEP Policy Database (contributed by SERN for REEEP)

This policy & regulatory overview is not updated anymore since 2015. We decided to keep it online due to high demand but would like to make you aware of the fact that it might be outdated.

Energy sources

Total installed electricity capacity (2011, source: IRENA): 230 MW
Thermal: 100%

Total primary energy supply (excluding electricity trade) (2008, source: IRENA): 3,995 ktoe
Biomass: 93%
Oil and oil products: 4%
Coal and coal products: 3%

The energy sector is dominated by the high consumption of the residential sub-sector, which is mainly based on wood resources (wood and biomass remnants). Deforestation has long been a problem for Niger, due to the dominant use of traditional biomass resources by the majority of the population.

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About 87% of the electricity consumed in the country is imported from Nigeria. The local production (thermal power from coal and diesel) contributes just 13%. Fuel imports to the country account for 11.2% of all imports. 

Niger depends on imports to cover its energy needs, particularly for gasoline, diesel and petroleum products, which are imported from Persian Gulf countries and Nigeria. Petroleum product imports in 2008 totalled 3,330 bbl/day, a 38% fall from 2007 levels. The Chinese-state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation recently acquired rights to construct a refinery in the country. The Soraz refinery, 60% owned by the CNPC, officially opened on the 28th of November 2011. The plant has a 20,000 bpd capacity. The plant is supplied by crude from the Agadem Oilfield, opened in June 2011 with support from the CNPC. Preliminary estimates suggest a recoverable volume of 324 million barrels.

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Extend network

At national level, access to electricity climbed from 6.7% to 9.3% between 1998 and 2006. The Accelerated Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy for 2008-2012 aims to raise the household access rate to 3% in rural areas and 65% in urban areas by the end of the program.

The majority of the grid electricity found in the country is imported from Nigeria (90%). This is done by means of a 260 km, 132 kV line.

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Capacity concerns

Nearly all households (96.4%) use wood/charcoal as the main cooking fuel. This situation contributes to the increasing deforestation. Inadequate infrastructure could generate high congestion losses, leading to low productivity. The limited infrastructure development in the energy sector has made it difficult to satisfy an increasing potential demand. The dependence on traditional biomass resources has also lead to gender inequality in education and employment, as women are traditionally responsible for gathering fuel wood on a daily basis. Petroleum fuel prices have been very high in the country, due to the over-dependence on imported petroleum products. Government stocks currently need to be sold off, before cheaper fuel from the new Soraz refinery can be released onto the market.

In 2004, a national campaign was launched to generalise the use of coal (instead of wood) and strengthen domestic power generating capacity. To this end, the companies Société nigérienne de carbonisation du charbon minéral (SNCC) and Société nigérienne du charbon de l'Azawak (SNCA) were established in 2005 and 2006, respectively. In 2011, only SNCC is producing electricity, SNCA being still in the exploration phase.

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Renewable energy

Solar energy
The average solar energy potential ranges between 5 and 7 kWh/m2/day, while the average period of sunshine varies between 7 and 10 hours per day. In 2006, the power installed in the sector of solar photovoltaic (PV) was estimated at 1,170 kWp. The current use of solar thermal energy (hot water) accounts for about 2,000 m² of absorbers. The use of solar cooking and drying is very low, but significant potential exists for the development of solar cooking, with Niger being rated the 15th most viable country in the world for further uptake of the technology by Solar Cookers International.

Wind energy
The average wind speed is 5 m/s in the northern part of the country and about 2.5 m/s in the south, indicating a moderate potential for wind power utilisation in the country. Currently, about 30 small-scale installations are used for water pumping purposes.

Biomass energy
The potential for energy from biomass is substantial in Niger. Household biomass use is amongst the highest in Africa, with the vast majority relying on fuel wood for heating, lighting and domestic tasks. Current forested potential amounts to 9.9 million hectares, with a further 59 Mt of animal and agricultural wastes. Biogas is only used at experimental scale, with an estimated potential of nearly 1 million hectares, and an exploited potential of 100. Currently, about 10 small-scale biodigesters (primarily of the dome type) are in operation.

Geothermal energy
No specific study into the potential for geothermal power generation has been conducted for the country. However, numerous geothermal analyses have been performed due to exploration for oil, revealing the presence of geothermal basins in Niger, which, with further investigation, may prove viable for generating power.

Niger has roughly 270 MW of undeveloped hydro-electric potential, primarily in the form of the Niger river, and its potential for damming. Current projects include the 125 MW Kandadji project, 200 km upstream from Niamey, the capital, as well as two smaller dams at Gambou (122 MW) and Dyodyonga (26 MW). Small hydroelectric sites in the country have the potential to produce nearly 8 GWh per year, most notably Sirba, and Gouroub Dargol.

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Energy efficiency

Niger’s energy consumption is low; the energy consumption per inhabitant is estimated at 0.14 toe as against an African average of 0.5 toe. Per capita electricity consumption stood at 40 kWh in 2008. The main source of lighting for households in Niger is kerosene (80.1% of households light their homes with this fuels, with 84.4% in rural areas and 59.1% urban areas). The gas/batteries/candles/wood group is the second source of lighting in Niger with 10.4% of households, followed by electricity which is limited to urban areas and concerns 38.7% of households. 89% of the total energy consumed in Niger is attributed to the residential sector. With the main sources of income for the country coming from the mining sector (uranium exports accounted for 55% of GDP in 2004), this traditionally energy-intensive sector has plenty of potential for efficiency savings.

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Electricity market
In 2005, 78% of total electricity production was from coal, supplied by the Société nigérienne du charbon (SONICHAR,, the rest coming from the Société nigérienne d'électricité (NIGELEC).  Almost 95% of NIGELEC's capital is held by the state, and the rest by Niger corporations and a foreign institution.

Liquid fuels and gas market
The upstream sector in the country is predominantly operated by the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC,, which holds the rights to exploit the Agadem oilfield, as well as holding a 60% stake in the Soraz refinery, the only oil refining project in the country. The remainder of the refinery stake is directly held by the Government. The Société nigérienne des produits pétroliers (SONIDEP, still holds a monopoly on the importation and storage of finished petroleum products, with the exception of butane gas, over the whole of the national territory.  It supplies petroleum products to Niger's main distributors, in particular Tamoil, Mobil and Total. Distribution is organised through regional depots, service stations and drum stores.

Gas may be freely imported, stored, distributed and transported.  The Société nigérienne des hydrocarbures (SONIHY) and the Niger gas companies NIGERGAZ and SONIGAZ are the three distributors that import, bottle and distribute butane gas.  In this sub-sector, where natural gas marketing is concerned, the state and the PSC or CC contractor consult in order to set the market price for each quarter and for each exclusive exploitation licence or exploitation permit The price thus regulated is subsidised, which is not the case with other forms of gas.

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NIGELEC held a monopoly on the generation, transport and distribution of electrical energy until 2003. Under the terms of the new Electricity Code adopted in 2004, independent producers may establish operations in the country and generate power, but they are generally required to sell their surpluses to NIGELEC, which is responsible for transmitting and distributing the surplus to customers.  Electricity tariffs are fixed by decree.
SONICHAR, which is treated as an independent producer, generates electricity in the north of Niger and sells it directly to the mining companies; it also sells some to NIGELEC for its distribution in the cities of Agadez, Arlit, Akokan and Tchirozérine.  In the rest of the territory, power is generated and distributed exclusively by NIGELEC.

SONIDEP holds a monopoly over the import and storage of all petroleum products except for butane gas. Distribution is unbundled from the SONIDEP remit, and is performed by private entities. The three natural gas companies SONIHY, NIGERGAZ AND SONIGAZ are the sole market actors in the natural gas sector. The CNPC is the only major corporate player in the upstream sector, and is currently the only company with a license to extract oil in the country.

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Energy framework

The statement for energy policy adopted by the government in 2004 has been followed by many action plans for the promotion of RE. Stratégie Nationale sur les Énergies Renouvelables (SNER, National Renewable Energies Strategy) aims to increase the contribution of RE to the national energy balance from less than 0.1% in 2003, to 10% by 2020, by:

  • Facilitating the promotion of RE supply systems,
  • Reducing the impact on forest resources,
  • Promoting rural electrification on the basis of RE resources,
  • Promoting education, training, research and development related to RE technologies.

The Stratégie Nationale d'Accès aux Services Energétiques Modernes (SNASEM, National Strategy for Access to Modern Energy Services) aims to increase the percentage of the population with access to modern energies by 2015, through granting:

  • Access to modern fuels for cooking,
  • Access to motive power for villages with 1,000–2,000 inhabitants,
  • Access to electricity for rural and peri-urban populations, to reach a cover rate of 66%.

The Stratégie Nationale des Energies Domestiques (SNED, National Strategy for Domestic Energies) aims to create a coherent framework for  the sub-sector of domestic energies, by:

  • Assuring the sustainable use of forest resources and better reforestation,
  • Promoting alternative sources of energy (other than wood) and improving the efficiency of the appliances used ,
  • Strengthening the capacity of the main market actors for a better management of the sector,
  • Setting up communication to inform and educate the actors on issues related to the production and use of domestic energies.

The Accelerated Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (SDRP 2008-2012) plans to endow the country with economic infrastructures through its “Development of Infrastructures” program. It is intended to stimulate the growth of, and facilitate access to, social facilities by promoting RE. The Stratégie du Développement Rural (SDR, Strategy for Rural Development) with its sub-program “Renewable Energy and Rural Electrification” considers improving the population's access to electricity to help rural communities in developing their local economy, and the improvement of their living conditions. The same strategy plans in its program “Environmental Protection” the promotion of the use of alternative sources of energy as a substitute for wood.

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Energy debates

Up to now, RE is not subject to any legislative text in Niger. A law on RE, however, is currently being formulated. Through this law, the government can provide support in the form of loans, subsidies, fiscal advantages etc. in order to promote the increased utilisation of RE. Companies importing RE equipment can benefit from incentive measures, facilitating the acquisition of said equipment. At present, imported RE equipment is rated and taxed as electronic material. The new law intends to exonerate all imported equipment used in rural electrification and rural water pumping from taxes. It also aims to create a national rural electrification fund.

High fuel prices have traditionally caused tensions in the country, and with the opening of the new refinery in Zinder, Niger’s second city, the pattern appears to be continuing, with widespread riots over the continuing high prices charged on petroleum products. The Government attributes high prices to the need to sell off remaining imported stock before introducing indigenously-refined products into the national market.

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Energy studies

Niger is a founding member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), one of the regional economic communities (RECs) responsible for realising the objectives of the African Union. An important ECOWAS initiative is the West African Power Pool (WAPP), the purpose of which is to expand trade in electricity between the 15 member countries (energy being one of the primary constraints on sub-regional supply), by coordinating the investment projects submitted to donors.

The MEPRED-Niger project, in partnership with ECOWAS and West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), is aimed at promoting access to energy; it is managed by the Comité national multisectoriel énergie (CNME, National Multi-sectoral Energy Committee), established in 2005.  In order to make the common market in energy services more efficient, a Regional Committee of Energy Sector Regulators (CRRE) of the UEMOA Member States was set up in 2009 for the purpose of advising the Commission. 

Niger also hosts conferences in Niamey for the Renewable Energy Market of the Sahel and West Africa (MESAO), the last having been held in 2009. The then Minister of Mines and Energy, Mohamed Abdalahi, said his country sought, through the MESAO, to offer professionals, African decision makers, and African and international civil societies, the opportunity to meet, exhibit their products and discuss the effectiveness of renewable energies.

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Role of government

The Ministry of Mining and Energy (MME) is in charge of sector-based policy, and defines the legislative and statutory framework of activities for the production, transport, import, export and distribution of energy.

The Ministry of Environment and the Struggle against Desertification is in charge of the management of the supply of wood energy, and the management of the country’s forest resources.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Normalisation is in charge of the regulation of trade issues, including those pertaining to the energy sector.

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Government agencies

The CNEDD (Conseil National de l’Environnement pour un Développement Durable – National Environmental Council for Sustainable Development) created by the government in January 1996, defines the orientation and coordination of environmental policies related to sustainable development.

The CNES (Centre National de l’Énergie Solaire – National Centre of Solar Energy) is a public administrative structure created in 1998. It conducts research work in the field of solar energy, and is in charge of the realisation of prospective and diagnostic studies, as well as supervising the state's involvement in the training and promotion of the distribution of equipment in the field of RE. The CNES also has a subdivision dedicated to research into biomass energy in the country, including research into alternative fuelwoods, and technologies for better utilisation of biomass resources.

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Energy procedure

The Programme Régional de Promotion des Énergies Domestiques et Alternatives au Sahel (PREDAS) is implemented by the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) and the state members of ECOWAS, with financial support of the EU and the German Development Cooperation. It aims at helping the country members to organise sustainable supply and rational use of domestic energies, by avoiding harmful impact on the environment.

The Programme Régional Biomasse Énergie (PRBE) is implemented by the ECOWAS/UEMOA with the financial support of the Netherlands. This program joins the framework of the implemented PEC (Politique Energétique Commune – Common Energy Policy) of the UEMOA, and contributes to the long-term management of biomass in a policy to fight poverty and promote environmental protection.

ALG (Autorité du Liptako Gourma – Authority for Integrated Development of the Liptako Gourma Region) has elaborated a plan for developing the energy sector of the region (located between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger) from 2007 to 2025. This plan aims to fight poverty and contribute to a harmonious and integrated development of the region, through the introduction of modern forms of energy (electricity, mobility) and the reduction of harmful environmental influences.

The Access to Modern Energy Services Project (PRASE) is part of the program to reduce poverty in Niger. The program focuses on the access to energy facilities for social and productive activities (cooking, motive power and electricity) for the entire population of Niger in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

Quite a number of sub-sectors are in charge of the implementation of projects related to the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The Conseil National de l'environnement pour un Développement Durable (CNEDD) was appointed as the National Designated Authority (NDA) of the CDM in 2006. As such, the CNEDD registered and approved the first MDP project in Niger, the “Bio-Carbon Initiative of the PAC” (Programme d’Actions Communautaires – Community Actions Program). This project is financed by the World Bank. One of its objectives is the restoration of land through the plantation of 23,000 trees (acacia senegal) throughout the whole territory.

In Niger, relevant initiatives include:

  • Resource Allocation Framework (RAF 4) of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Program,
  • European Union Energy Facility,
  • Clean Development Mechanism,
  • Small Grant Program of the GEF for RE Promotion,
  • The Regional Program for the Promotion of Household and Alternative Energies in the Sahel of the CILSS,
  • Regional Biomass Energy Program of UEMOA/ECOWAS,
  • Regional Program for Energy against Poverty of the UNDP.

The first stage of the Kandadji hydropower project is expected to be completed in 2013. This phase of the project consists of the construction of a 1.6 billion cubic metre dam, and the regulation of river flow to reduce silation, prior to the construction of the hydroelectric dam itself.

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Energy regulator

The Autorité de Régulation Multisectorielle (ARM, Authority of Multisector-Based Regulation, was created in 1999, and regulates the sectors of energy, telecommunications, transport and water.

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Degree of independence

The ARM is a public legal entity, independent of the government, with autonomy of both finance and authority. Budgeting for the organisation, however, is still approved through the Office of the Prime Minister. The council consists of five members, appointed for a six-year term. These include a Speaker and four Sector Directors, each responsible for one of the ARM's regulated sectors.

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Regulatory framework

Order Number 99-044 of the 26th October 1999 established the ARM, as well as detailing the structure of the organisation and its responsibilities to the sector. The Order also provides for the procedural actions of the ARM in terms of granting and revoking licenses, and numerous other mechanisms for the performance of the regulator's duties.

Law No. 2003-2004 of January 31st, 2003 governs the electricity sector in the country, establishing the role of the ARM in the sector, as well as that of government departments such as the MME.

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Regulatory roles

The activities of the ARM in the sector include:
- Participating in promoting the rational development of energy supply,
- Ensuring the balancing of the economic and financial sector of electric energy, and preserving the conditions necessary for economic viability,
- Safeguard the interests of consumers and protect their
rights with regard to price, supply and power quality;
- Ensuring fair competition in production, transportation, and distribution of electric energy,
- Facilitating third party access to transmission and distribution ,
- Securing control of public service activities of electrical energy, assignees and licensees,
- Ensuring compliance with regulations relating to the electric energy sector,
- Assessing customer satisfaction.

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Energy regulation role

The import, transport, distribution and production of electricity and oil products are controlled by the Ministry of Mining and Energy (MME), the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Normalisation through numerous laws and their decree of implementation, in collaboration with the ARM. The Ministry of Environment and the MME are responsible for the management of traditional energies, respectively the matching of demand and supply. The legislation is governed by an order that regulates the organisation of the marketing and the transport of firewood in major cities, the applied tax system and the detailed guidelines.

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Regulatory barriers

Whilst the legislative and regulatory framework for energy regulation has been established in the country, more needs to be done to promote the use of sustainable energy, and to attract private sector investment for the increased use of renewable energy technologies. Mechanisms such as subsidies or feed-in tariffs may be applicable in this situation. The further unbundling and privatisation of NIGELEC would also aid this situation, giving IPPs the ability to enter the market.

With the overthrow of President Mamouda Tanja in February 2010, state institutions were temporarily dissolved in order to establish a new government structure. Presidential elections were held in January and March 2011, although it is unclear if full operation has begun in the state actors in the energy sector as of yet. With the establishment of a stable and democratic government under long-time opposition leader Mahamadou Issoufou, it is hoped that further economic developments, including in the energy sector, can be made.

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International Renewable Enegy Agency (2011) Renewable Energy Country Profile - Niger. Available at: [Accessed 19th September 2013]

UNDP. National Adaption Programme Republic of Niger. August 2006. Available at: [Accessed 19th September 2013]

U.S. Energy Information Administration (2011) Country Profile: Niger. Last updated May 2013. Available at: [Accessed 19th September 2013]

IMF. Niger: Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. May 2008. Available at: [Accessed 19th September 2013]

WTO Country Annex. Niger. Available at: [Accessed 19th September 2013]

Solar Cookers International Network. Niger - Solar Cooking. Available at: [Accessed 19th September 2013]

GTZ. Country Chapter Niger. Renewable Energies in West Africa. 2009. Available at: [Accessed 19th September 2013]

Reuters. Protests rage in Niger´s oil refinery city. 8 December 2011. Available at: [Accessed 19th September 2013]

Comite permanent Inter-Etats de Lutte contre la secheresse dans le Sahel. Available at: [Accessed 19th September 2013]

Cri de Cogogne. Energy Potential of Niger. Available at: [Accessed 19th September 2013]

Autorite de Regulation Multisectorielle. ARM. Available at: [Accessed 19th September 2013]

BBC News. Military coup ousts Niger president Mamadou Tandja. 19 February 2010. Available at: [Accessed 19th September 2013]

Voice of America. Provisional Results Have Issoufou Winning Niger Presidency. 13 March 2011. Available at: [Accessed 19th September 2013] Close References