Solar Water Pumps Irrigating Niger’s Arid Farmland

Country Overview

The African country of the Republic of Niger is bordered by Libya, Chad, Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Algeria. The population of Niger is approximately 27.20 million people.

In 2021, Niger’s economy was ranked 124th in gross domestic product (GDP) in the world. The country’s economy is dependent on the export of gold, oily seeds, radioactive chemicals, refined petroleum, uranium ore, and thorium ore.

In July 2023, a junta seized power in a coup in Niger. Russia is reported to have supported the military coup in an effort to distract France and the United States from the war in Ukraine.

Environmental  Policies

In 2016, Niger signed the Paris Climate Agreement, committing to an unconditional 3.6% reduction in greenhouse gas emission by 2030, compared to a business-as usual scenario.

Power Generation Capabilities

In 2021, only 18.6% of the people in Niger had access to electricity. In 2021, the state owned utility, Société Nigérienne d’Electricité, Nigerien Electricity Society (NIGELEC) used refined petroleum (88.9%) and renewable energy (11.1%) to generate electricity in Niger. Solar is the dominant type of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Niger.

Recent renewable energy projects in Niger include:

  • 50 MW Solar Tender – The Ministry of Petroleum, Energy and Renewable Energy is continuing the tender evaluation for the Gorou Banda solar photovoltaic plant, located near the nation’s capital, Niamey.
  • Solar Irrigation Project – The World Bank-funded Niger Solar Electricity Access Project is providing solar powered water pumps to irrigate farms, increasing yields in food-insecure, arid Niger.


Oil was first discovered in Niger in 1975. In 2022, Niger produced only 8,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

Niger’s crude oil is transported through a pipeline to a refinery, located approximately 475 miles east of the nation’s capital, Niamey. Refined petroleum is primarily used as fuel for domestic transport and power generation.

The landlocked country of Niger has significant undeveloped solar energy resources. Niger’s solar and biomass renewable energy resources have the potential to replace all the nation’s refined oil power plants. Solar also has the potential to provide power for water pumps to irrigate the nation’s many small farms.

On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, prompting the European Union, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand to place economic sanctions on Russian imports and exports. As a result, the crude oil and natural gas prices increased by over 50% from May 2021 to May 2022.

Niger is facing dwindling oil production and volatile prices for oil imports. Solar offers Niger hope for water irrigation and food security.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”



Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio, podcast, and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on a diverse range of energy issues.

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