Niger has made some progress for children in the past decade. Monetary poverty has declined from 53.7 per cent in 2005 to 45.4 per cent in 2014, but remains very high at 51.4 per cent in rural areas (where 84 per cent of the population live) compared to 8.7 per cent in urban areas.
The social protection system covers only a small fraction of families and according to the 2016 Multidimensional Overlapping Deprivation Analysis, two thirds of children under 5 experience at least four deprivations simultaneously.
Niger has one of the fastest growing (almost 4 per cent annually) and youngest populations in the world, estimated at 20.65 million in 2017, with 58.2 per cent under age 18. With population doubling every twenty years, expanding coverage of social services while increasing quality constitutes a core challenge.
Bottlenecks to effective service coverage in all social sectors include: (a) the lack of efficiency and accountability in the allocation and use of human resources, limited human and institutional capacity and limited outreach at decentralized levels; and (b) traditional, cultural and religious beliefs and practices that limit demand.
Across sectors, challenges in implementing child-sensitive national policies can be attributed to a limited government budget and weak coordination, data quality and monitoring and evaluation. Most sectoral programmes focus on short-term results, to the detriment of quality and equity.