Niger Market Entry

Niger Market Entry

Subchapters:

  • Market entry
  • Forms and conditions of operation on the market
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Issues of intellectual property protection
  • Public procurement market
  • Payment terms, payment ethics and resolution of commercial disputes
  • Visas, fees, specific conditions of travel to the territory
  • Employment of citizens from the Czech Republic
  • Fairs and events

Market entry

The situation in Niger is complicated for Czech exporters for many reasons. In addition to the factors operating in all countries of the region (extremely low purchasing power, geographical distance, laboriousness of the case, distrust in the seriousness of the partner, corruption), there are also specific factors such as orientation towards traditional (mainly French) suppliers and the absence of a contractual basis. Establishing a relationship with a local reliable partner (importer, distributor, representative) is a basic condition for successful business. The goods are imported to Niger by trucks via the ports of Cotonou, less Lomé, Tema or Takoradi. The transport time can be extended for months. It is distributed across Niger (mostly from Niamey) by medium-sized import companies (Lebanese) or small local traders. The hub of trade with Nigeria is the city of Maradi. Check smber for agriculture and fishing facts of Niger.

The best market entry strategy is through a local agent or distributor familiar with the language and local business practices, working either on an “ad hoc” commission basis or on a long-term contractual basis. The most suitable for the supplier is, of course, to find a reputable partner who would work on his own account and pay for the offered goods himself when taking them. The most important prerequisite for success is his personal contact with customers or institutions. For larger volumes, you can consider opening a sales agency or branch. Forms of business “joint-venture” between domestic buyers and foreign suppliers are proving themselves. For any major case, it is essential that the local representative has good contacts with the local administration. Due to the number of frauds, there is always a thorough check of the partner (due diligence). The Czech Republic has not yet built any network of representatives in Niger who would regularly treat the local market. In case of interest, we recommend contacting the honorary consul of the Czech Republic in Niger.

Local exporters/importers must be entered in the register of companies and registered with the tax authority like any other company. In addition, they must have a license from the Ministry of Commerce and a certificate of payment of taxes from the Chamber of Commerce. Imported food and medicine must have a label in French with the following information: country of origin, date of manufacture, shelf life and composition. Salt must bear the inscription “Sel iodé Niger”, alcoholic beverages, cigarettes and matches must have “Vente au Niger” on the packaging. Consumables must also have instructions in French. In principle, it can be said that French standards and norms must be followed. The local importer must register with the so-called Guichet unique (so-called enregistrement statistique) and must obtain the so-called Preliminary Import Declaration (L’intention d’importation). For customs clearance, he especially needs invoices, in two copies, preferably in French or another world language, but with a French translation and description of the goods attached. All invoices must include the names of the supplier and recipient of the goods, the name of the goods, the unit and total price and the quantity details. In addition, 2 copies of the Bill of Lading or Air Waybill, proof of country of origin, packing list, pre-shipping inspection document (performed and issued by Cotecna for the Niger government (www. cotecna.com).

The Niger customs tariff distinguishes four basic categories: • medicines, books and textbooks, agricultural supplies, computers, means of production unavailable in Niger – the rate is 0% • basic products, raw materials for the industrial sector, oil, cereals – the rate is 5% • semi-finished products (especially most imported food products), gasoline and diesel – the customs rate is 10% • common consumer goods (alcoholic beverages, perfumes, electronics, but also milk, flour, frozen fish, fruit, etc.) – the rate is 20% Further information: www.izf .org, www.investir-au-niger.com As of 1/1/2015, the so-called unified external customs regime entered into force for all ECOWAS countries, which in the case of Niger does not differ from the above-mentioned basic rates. At the “wish” of Nigeria, a fifth zone is being introduced – so-called goods threatening economic development, with a tariff rate of 35%.

Forms and conditions of operation on the market

On January 1, 1998, an agreement between the 15 African countries of the CFA currency area (and Guinea) called OHADA (Organisation pour l’Harmonisation du Droit des Affaires en Afrique) entered into force, which promotes the development of the African Economic Community, a common commercial policy and guarantees traders and investors legal certainty and compatibility.

Niger has acceded to the OHADA agreement and, with some exceptions, local commercial law does not differ from European (French) law. Domestic as well as foreign companies can operate as, among others, a branch (succursale), Société a Responsabilité Limitée” (SARL – spol. s ro) or “Société Anonyme” – only certain basic different requirements for the amount of minimum capital apply (SARL 1 million FCFA, SA 10 million FCFA). Foreign companies registered in Niger are considered Nigerien entities and have the same rights and obligations under the law as local companies. The same regulations and rules also apply to their registration. With the exception of strategic sectors (energy, uranium, oil), there is no limit on the share of foreign capital in a company.

The rules for setting up an office are codified in the Commercial Code and implementing regulations, the procedure is basically similar to that in the Czech Republic. The company is established at the founding general meeting, where the founding partners or their representatives meet (power of attorney certified by a Czech notary in French or with an official translation, in the case of natural persons a copy of the passport or OP, in the case of legal entities, an extract from the OR with translation). The capital is deposited into a bank account. The articles of association must contain, among other things, the exact name and seat of the company, legal form, share capital, date of establishment, names of all statutory representatives. Supporting documents must be officially translated into French. All documents are then written in French in Niger. The company is subsequently registered (via a notary) in the commercial register (copy of the partnership agreement certified by a notary, extract from the criminal record of the statutory representatives, certified copy of the OP or passport of the partners, and for foreigners also a residence permit, proof of the deposit of the basic assets in the bank (account extract ), photos of partners) and at the social, employment and tax office. The final step is to get permission from the Department of Commerce. A “Guichet unique” office has been established at the Niger Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Chambre de Commerce), which should handle all formalities associated with company registration within 30 days.  The incorporation of the company must be publicly published. We recommend setting up your company with the help of a local lawyer with knowledge of the language and French commercial law.

Marketing and communication

Due to the limited infrastructure in the country, advertising in one of the local languages ​​via radio (approx. 15 stations) and TV is of the greatest importance. Local dailies and weekly newspapers (there are dozens of them) also accept advertising, but due to the low level of education, it has only a limited impact. It should be taken into account that Niger is a country with a predominantly relatively conservative Muslim population. The local customer also usually requires the foreign partner to supply sufficient promotional materials in French. The best sales strategy is then direct marketing.

Issues of intellectual property protection

Rights must be registered locally and enforced under local laws. The trademark owner should register it in Niger. Niger has adopted laws promulgated by the African Intellectual Property Office (OAPI, based in Yaoundé), which aims, among other things, to protect patents. As a member of the OAPI, Niger has accepted a number of obligations arising from international treaties for the protection of patents, intellectual property, including the Paris and Berne Agreements and the agreement establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization. As a WTO member, Niger is a signatory to the TRIPS Agreement. Niger is also a member country of WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization). Despite participating in these international conventions, very little has been done to stop the sale of pirated music recordings, videotapes, computer software, drugs, etc. The government of Niger is addressing the basic existential problems of the population,

Public procurement market

Public orders (so-called tenders) are published in the daily press and on the website of the Ministry of Material Purchase. Even in Niger, it is impossible to enter a competition for larger tenders without preparation and survey of the terrain, knowledge of local competition, conditions and contacts. Participation in contract tenders requires long-term monitoring of the situation with the necessary preliminary lobbying of the relevant central authorities and the provision of relevant information even before the official announcement of tender conditions. This is practically impossible without a permanent presence on the local market.

Payment terms, payment ethics and resolution of commercial disputes

Even in Niger, a well-written business contract (preferably by a local lawyer) is of fundamental importance for the prevention and resolution of business disputes, it is always necessary to thoroughly check with whom we conclude the contract. According to the Law on Investments, commercial disputes in Niger are resolved by the arbitration center (but it is still in its nascent stage) or the International Center for Settlement of Disputes on Investment established by the World Bank, and then by civil courts. However, the resolution of disputes is usually associated with high costs and the enforcement of law is very difficult and lengthy. A foreigner will always be at a disadvantage against a local entity. Furthermore, full knowledge of French law and procedural customs is always required. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to resolve the dispute by agreement to avoid lengthy and costly negotiations and out-of-court settlements. Niger respects international arbitration in the settlement of disputes between foreign investors and the state – it is a member of the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Niger is a member of the WTO, and has also signed a convention prepared by OHADA (Organisation pour l´Harmonisation des Droits des Affaires en Afrique), which harmonizes the legal norms of fifteen member countries in the area of ​​resolving trade and investment disputes and bankruptcies. Niger is also a member of MIGA (Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency). In relation to Czech companies, we have not yet recorded a case of a commercial dispute that would have to be resolved by a third party (court). In any case, we recommend incorporating into the contract a provision on the basis of which any arbitration proceedings would take place outside of Niger.

Visas, fees, specific conditions for traveling to the territory

A bilateral visa regime applies between the Czech Republic and Niger. You can apply for a visa at the Niger embassy in Berlin: Machnowerstrasse 24, 14165 Berlin Tel.: 004930-8058 9660, 8058 9661 e-mail: [email protected]

There is also an honorary consulate of the Republic of Niger in Prague: Liliová 248/8, 110 00 Prague 1 phone: 603 821 410 e-mail: [email protected] The honorary consul is Mr. Jan Sýkora.

A traveler to the Republic of Niger should be expected at the airport by a local business partner or another serious person familiar with local conditions. Road crossings are usually only open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:30-7:30 p.m. It is strictly forbidden to photograph military and government buildings throughout the state. It is possible to travel to Niger by air either directly (Air France) or with a transfer via Royal Air Maroc from Rabat, Air Senegal from Dakar, Air Ivoire from Abijan, Air Chad from Njamena, Douala or Lomé, Ethiopian Airlines from Addis Ababa. The ASKY airline provides connections between the capitals of West and Central African states. Before traveling to the countries of the West African region, every traveler should visit a professional doctor specializing in tropical diseases (in Prague, for example, the Clinic of Geographical Medicine of the Vinohrady Royal Hospital, or Center for Travel Medicine) where all recommended vaccinations can be completed – against yellow fever (mandatory, confirmation may be required at the airport), jaundice type A and B, typhoid, meningitis, cholera and tetanus. In Niger there is a danger of rapid dehydration, the drinking regime must be strictly followed. There is no vaccination against malaria. For a short stay, preliminary antimalarial prophylaxis is recommended, while resistance to individual drugs develops over time. Therefore, the type of antimalarial used must be consulted with a specialist in tropical diseases before departure. Common antimalarials include, for example, Lariam and Malaron. When the slightest symptoms of any disease (flu, angina, headaches, feelings of fatigue) appear, it is necessary to visit the nearest hospital and have a malaria test done. This is very simple (taking a blood sample from the pad of the finger on the hand) and fast – it takes about 15 minutes even with the blood analysis. Medicines for ongoing malaria are freely available in Niger and are effective – the disease subsides within two to three days. It is essential not to let the disease develop (the incubation period of malaria is about a week) – then it can have very serious consequences. It can also be recommended that the traveler buys one pack of local antimalarial drugs in the destination country and takes it back to the Czech Republic with him. Due to the incubation period, malaria can manifest itself only after returning to the homeland, and there could be problems with its occurrence and therefore treatment in the Czech Republic. The security situation in the country is negatively affected by developments in neighboring countries (conflict in Mali, unstable situation in Libya, activity of the Nigerian sect Boko Haram in the north of Nigeria). For trips to the north above 20. at the same time, a special permit is required. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic recommends completely avoiding trips to southern Niger, to the area bordering Nigeria and Chad. Military operations against the terrorist group Boko Haram are underway in the area and there is an increased risk of terrorist attacks. In February 2015, Boko Haram attacked the towns of Bosso and Diffa. Even in the south of the country, it is better to avoid roads at night and travel with an armed escort. It is not recommended to travel to the north of the city of Agadez and to the entire border area with Mali, Algeria, Libya, as well as to the vicinity of Lake Chad, where there is an increased danger from Islamic radicals. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic recommends traveling to other parts of the country only if absolutely necessary. Abductions of Europeans in the entire territory of Niger are a major risk. As everywhere in the world, caution must be exercised, e.g. do not inform about planned moves, do not show larger sums of money or jewelry. In the event of a necessary trip, we recommend that you exercise the highest degree of caution.

Before traveling, travelers are advised to contact the relevant embassy of the Czech Republic and register through the DROZD voluntary registration system.

Employment of citizens from the Czech Republic

How to get a work permit and who provides it, salaries, minimum wage (if any), social and health care and its provision.

Fairs and events

There are no significant fairs and exhibitions in the territory.

 

Practical telephone numbers (emergency services, police, firemen, information lines, etc.)

  • Police: 17 • Fire/Ambulance: 18 • Niamey International Airport: 20732381 • Niamey Police Station: 20732553 • Niamey Central Hospital: 20732253 • Gamkalley Clinic: 20 73 20 33 • Kaba Clinic: 20 73 21 08; 20 73 26 52 • ZÚ France: 20722431 – 33, 94280109

Addresses of important institutions:

Ministère du Commerce, de l’Industrie et de la Promotion du Secteur Privé Direction du Développement du Secteur Privé. BP: 480 Tel: (227) 20 73 58 81 Fax: (227) 20 73 21 50 Ministère du Commerce, de l’Industrie et de la Promotion du Secteur Privé Direction du Développement Industriel. BP: 480 Tel: (227) 20 73 58 25 Fax: (227) 20 73 21 50 Chambre de Commerce, d’Agriculture, d’Industrie et d’Artisanat de la République du Niger Address: BP 209, Niamey, Niger Tel: (227) 20 73-22-88 Fax: (227) 20 73-46-68 Ministeré des finances Secreraire generale. BP 862 Niamey, Niger Tel: (227) 20 72-20-37 Fax: (227) 20 72-33-71

Important web links and contacts

  • www.gouv.ne • www.presidence.ne • www.tamtaminfo.com • www.izf.net • www.uemoa.int/Pages/Home.aspx • www.ohada.com • www.stat-niger.org / statistics

Niger Market Entry