Niger is a West African country. Covering the southern part of the Sahara desert and the Sahel strip, the country owes its name to the Niger River, which flows through it in the Southwest. It borders Algeria to the north, Libya to the northeast, Chad to the east, Nigeria and Benin to the south, Burkina Faso to the southwest, and Mali to the west. It occupies an area of 1,267,000 km2. The main cities are Niamey, the capital, with 774 900 residents (2004), Zinder (209 100 residents), Maradi (195 400 residents), Tahoua (99 900 residents) And Agadez (29 400 residents).
The climate of Niger is desert in the north, semi-desert in the center and dry tropical in the south. It is one of the warmest countries in the world, with extremely high temperatures throughout the year.
Niger has an agricultural sector on its way to self-sufficiency, through irrigation programs that compensate for the usual drought periods experienced throughout the year. The production of corn, sorghum, cassava, sugar cane and rice fills agricultural activity. Livestock breeding also plays an important role in this sector.
The industrial activity has its strength in the exploration and treatment of uranium (of which it is a major world producer), complemented by the extraction of ores such as lime stone, plaster, copper and titanium. There is also a need to consider the manufacturing industries that are dedicated to the treatment of chemicals, food products, textiles and agricultural equipment. Finally, it should be noted that Niger uses the ports of Cotonou (Benin) and Lagos (Nigeria), which are connected to Niger, not by railways (nonexistent in that country), but only by roads. Niger’s main trading partners are France, Côte d’Ivoire, the United Kingdom and China.
Environmental indicator: the value of carbon dioxide emissions, per capita (metric tons, 1999), is 0.1.
In 2006, Niger had 12 525 094 residents, which corresponded to a population density of 9 residents/km2 , a very low figure, partly resulting from the climatic conditions that are felt throughout the territory. The birth and death rates are, respectively, 50.73% and 20.91%. Average life expectancy is 43.76 years. The value of the Human Development Index (HDI) is 0.292 and the value of the Gender-adjusted Development Index (IDG) is 0.279 (2001). It is estimated that, in 2025, the population will be 18 777 000 residents. The main ethnic groups are the Hausa (53%), the Zerma-Songhai (21%), the Tuareg (10%) and the Fulas (10%). In religious terms, Sunni Muslims represent 89% of the population, while followers of traditional beliefs are 11%. The official language is French.
Niger finds its roots in the kingdoms of Takedda (located in the west of the territory) and Bornu (located in the east), established at the beginning of the second millennium d. C. However, these kingdoms were dismantled in the 15th century by Moroccan military expeditions, but it would be the Tuareg people who took advantage of the chaos resulting from these initiatives, taking over the entire region.
French colonization started in 1889 but, due to the strong resistance shown by the natives, it was not until 1922 that France managed to create favorable conditions for the establishment of a civil administration. When, in 1946, Niger received the status of French overseas territory, local consultative and legislative assemblies were created, which favor the social rise of members of the Songhai-Zerma (French-speaking) ethnic group, which proved to be the most receptive to European influences.. It was not surprising, therefore, that the first local administrator, appointed in 1957, was Djibo Bakary, leader of that ethnic group. For Niger democracy and rights, please check intershippingrates.
Independence was only declared on August 3, 1960, after a referendum in 1958, the results of which dictated the establishment of a statute of autonomy for Niger, although it remained linked to France. Hamani Diori, Bakary’s successor and cousin, who led the independence process, established a dictatorial regime that would be replaced by another dictatorship, this one with military characteristics, through a coup d’état that took place in 1974. Only in 1993 were the first multiparty elections, which gave victory to the Social Democratic Convention (a coalition of nine political parties), led by Mahamane Ousmane.
The year 1994 brought some social instability to the country, provoked by the armed Tuareg rebellion in the North of Niger due to the great difficulty of this nomadic people to adapt to the creation of borders. However, the government managed to establish diplomatic channels that had the corollary of signing a peace agreement on 9 October of that year, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, which established an area reserved for 750 000 Tuaregs in the north of the country, endowed with regional autonomy.
- Countryaah.com: Offers a full list of airports in the country of Niger, sorted by city location and acronyms.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Provides most commonly used abbreviations and initials containing the country name of Niger. Listed by popularity.
1UpTravel.com – Map of Niamey
View a detailed black and white map of Niamey city, the capital of Niger.
1UpTravel.com – Maps of Niger
Check out the political and shaded relief maps of this western African country, southeast of Algeria.
Niger – National Geographic
Satellite imaging and political map-making create a zoomable map of this African country, with cities, rivers and topography.