Niger is the second-poorest country in the world. The United Nations Development Programme ranked Niger 186 out of 187 countries on its 2011 human development index. Nearly 43 percent of Niger's 15.9 million people live on less than $1.25 a day. Only 46 percent have access to safe drinking water. About 6.5 percent have electricity. Despite the government's efforts, female genital mutilation is still practiced.
Poverty in Niger is exacerbated by chronic food insecurity, due to irregular and insufficient rain, and a low level of diversification in the economy. In 2010, the country experienced an acute food crisis.
Niger has recently experienced a certain amount of political stability, since adopting a democratic system and the political and institutional reforms that followed. Niger ratified the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. A civil society encompassing all the economic, social, and cultural aspects of life has since come into being. Following a coup in February 2010, democracy was restored in 2011, when an election was held.
Canada's relationship with Niger goes back to the early 1960s. CIDA has supported projects that increase food security, improve education and advance equality between women and men.
As part of the Government of Canada's Economic Action Plan 2012, CIDA is restructuring and streamlining its operations. By March 2013, all CIDA funding for country-to-country (bilateral) programs in Niger will end and all existing project and contract work will be completed. Niger will continue to remain eligible for support through CIDA's Pan-Africa regional program, as well as through CIDA's Multilateral and global programs (including international humanitarian assistance when needed) and CIDA's Partnerships with Canadians programs.