Poverty alleviation and addressing the problem of hunger remains as the priority action areas for the Niger government. Persistent landlessness, lack of business opportunities and child hunger erode the initial gains made in Niger placed last out of a total of 177 countries on the United Nations list in 2007. The U.N. aid had stated that 300,000 children under the age of five facing the risk of death from malnutrition every year in the Sahel region which encompasses Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, among others. The hunger problem which afflicted the country had stemmed from the apathy that was present in the Niger government. Thus, the government failed to fulfill its serious obligation to provide food to its citizens. (Mousseau and Millant, 2007)
Business conditions have dire prospects. Niger's population lives on less than a dollar a day. The per capita gross domestic product (GDP) was $320 in 2007. Approximately 40 percent of the Niger children suffer from chronic malnutrition and Niger's less than five years old mortality rate is very high. (Mosseau and Mittal, 2006)
The regional integration of West African countries via the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), meant to assure an adequate food supply in the region. However, this organization failed to establish a regulatory mechanism that to ensure food supply and stable food prices. Irregular food production, exchange rates, government policies, international commodity prices, and regional conflicts exacerbated the hunger crisis. High food prices led to the sale of livestock, capital goods, and land, thus putting more people at a high poverty risk.
The Government must do three tasks. First, attain food availability for all of its citizens soon. It has done this based on recent developments. The Board of Directors of the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA) had approved the request of the Niger Government for a grant of CFAF 3 billion (US$7 million) to finance the Emergency Food Security Support Project in August 2008. The main objectives of the grant are to provide support for irrigated rice production and to achieve household food security.The State of Niger will supplement this grant with resources derived from mineral exploitation. The hike in the food prices during the Ramadan period made the Government subsidize the prices of consumed food products. This operation provided 3,000 metric tons of rice and sugar on the market at half the real price. The Government has channelled CFAF 11 billion (US$25 million) for trade channels for the marketing of cowpea.
Second, the government must establish an arrangement with its major food suppliers to deliver food to the country on a regular basis by setting up a Food Exchange Market and funding it through its mineral resources.
Third, the government can promote a holistic training in skills and education to make available a healthy and well-educated work force which can generate substantial income for their families and communities.
Rural development in the North
Rural development is responsible for economic regeneration among the countries in the North, particularly the UK.