Entrepreneurship in Niger: 75 Start-up and Business Owners Meet to Dialogue on Youth Employment

Migration and Youth

Niamey – Every year a lack of job opportunities, extreme weather and extreme poverty push young Nigeriens to leave their country to search for a better life, either seasonally or indefinitely.  

To support Nigerien youth, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in January 2018 launched the “Initiatives for the Development of the Enterprise” (IDEE) project. IDEE aims to support local businesses creating job opportunities for young Nigeriens. 

On Thursday (13/06), in Niamey IOM organized its third national meeting for the 75 beneficiaries supported by the IDEE project, attended by more than 100 people, among which local and international authorities. 

Through its activities, the IDEE project helps sensitize youth on the creation of local work opportunities and entrepreneurial activities as alternatives to irregular migration, while also considering the needs of vulnerable groups such as women and people with disabilities. 

The IDEE project encourages young people to pursue higher education, to develop other sectors of the economy such as IT or fashion, and thus, to create innovative job opportunities for their peers. More than 75 per cent of Nigeriens currently employed work in agriculture (UNDP HDI 2018), the main sector for job creation in Niger. 

Two types of beneficiaries in three different cities of intervention (Niamey, Tahoua, Zinder) are being targeted through the project: young Nigerien entrepreneurs already in business, and young start-uppers who are looking to learn the technical skills they need to launch their businesses. 

The IDEE project supported 36 Nigerien entrepreneurs this past year; an additional 39 young graduates with innovative business ideas recently have been selected as beneficiaries.  

Each beneficiary was able to present their business during yesterday’s event, and to share their thoughts on the strengths and challenges of the project. Three beneficiaries received awards of recognition for their hard work and remarkable progress. 

“In all honesty, I don’t know where I would be today without the IDEE project,” says Naffissa, one of IDEE’s business owners in Niamey. Naffissa has a catering company in Niamey which she has been expanding since becoming an IDEE beneficiary. “I didn’t expect this award today, but I have given everything to my business, so this recognition today only makes me want to give more.”  

The meeting gave both groups an opportunity to meet and get to know each other, and also to build trust and professional momentum. Networking, the IDEE project believes, is a key component, and as such encourages beneficiaries to discuss among themselves and provide services for one another. 

“The IDEE project never limited itself to material support. Since its conception, a great importance has been given to an integrated support system,” said Martin Wyss, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Niger during the meeting. “Today we are here to promote mutual support and experience-sharing.” 

The IDEE project is funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Italian Agency for Cooperation and Development (AICS) and implemented by IOM in partnership with the Ministry for Youth Entrepreneurship in Niger, incubator CIPMEN, Capital Finance and the NGO Terre Solidali. 

Background information 

With socioeconomic and developmental indices situating Niger at the bottom of the pile (189/189 UNDP HDI 2018), the country sees 40 per cent of its population living below the poverty line. 

The high growth rates (an average of 7.6 children per woman) create a high dependency rate with almost 70 per cent of Niger’s 21.5 million inhabitants being under the age of 24. 

More than 100,000 people transited through Niger in 2018 on their way up north to either Libya, Algeria or further up, according to IOM’s Flow Monitoring Points in Niger – an estimate of 90 per cent of them of Nigerien nationality. 

For more information, please contact Monica Chiriac at IOM Niger, Tel: +227 8931 8764, Email: mchiriac@iom.int 


  • IDEE’s 75 beneficiaries met this Thursday (13/06) in Niamey to share experiences with youth entrepreneurship. Photo: IOM/ Daniel Kisito Kouawo 

  • IDEE’s 75 beneficiaries met this Thursday (13/06) in Niamey to share experiences with youth entrepreneurship. Photo: IOM/ Daniel Kisito Kouawo 

  • Kabirou is one of IDEE’s 36 business owners and one of the three beneficiaries to receive an award of recognition this Thursday (13/06) in Niamey.