The United States established diplomatic relations with Niger in 1960, following its independence from France. U.S. relations with Niger since its independence have generally been close and friendly. In 2010, a military junta took power after overthrowing the former president, who had tried to extend his rule unconstitutionally. A new president was inaugurated in 2011, returning Niger to constitutional, civilian rule. Presidential elections are scheduled for February 21, 2016, with run-offs, if needed, on March 20. The violence in Libya and the security threat from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the Nigeria-based group Boko Haram have complicated the government’s efforts to improve Niger’s economy, strengthen governance, and address human rights. The United States has commended Niger for its actions to consolidate and advance democratic institutions in its own country and to promote stability in the region, including its support for refugees who have fled the 2012 turbulence in neighboring Mali. The two countries work closely together on regional peace and security issues. Niger has worked closely with Chad, Cameroon, and Nigeria to counter the violent threat posed by Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin region.
U.S. Assistance to Niger
U.S. foreign assistance to Niger plays a critical role in preserving stability in a country vulnerable to political volatility, and food insecurity and regional instability. U.S. assistance seeks to continue to improve food security, strengthen reproductive health and maternal and child health services, support productive agricultural enterprises, promote democracy and good governance, support prison and judicial reform, and strengthen military education and training. Niger is one of six countries participating in President Obama’s Security Governance Initiative (SGI).
Bilateral Economic Relations
Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world. Its largely agrarian and subsistence-based economy is frequently disrupted by extended droughts common to the Sahel region of Africa. U.S. exports to Niger include rice, vehicles, food-preparation goods, machinery, and fats and oils. Primary imports from Niger to the United States include uranium. Niger is eligible for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. The United States has a trade and investment framework agreement with the West African Economic and Monetary Union, of which Niger is a member. Niger has signed a bilateral investment agreement with the United States.
Niger’s Membership in International Organizations
Niger and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.
The U.S. Ambassador to Niger is Eric P. Whitaker; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List (PDF 49 KB).
Niger maintains an embassy in the United States at 2204 R Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-483-4224).