Coordinates: 16°N 8°E / 16°N 8°E / 16; 8
Republic of the Niger
République du Niger (French)
Coat of arms
"Fraternité, Travail, Progrès" (French)
"Fraternity, Work, Progress"
Anthem: La Nigérienne
Location of Niger (dark green)
and largest city
13°32′N 2°05′E / 13.533°N 2.083°E / 13.533; 2.083
Zarma & Songhai
Nigerien /niːˈʒɛriən/ 
Unitary semi-presidential republic
• Prime Minister
Independence from France
3 August 1960
1,267,000 km2 (489,000 sq mi) (21st)
• Water (%)
• 2016 estimate
• 2012 census
12.1/km2 (31.3/sq mi)
• Per capita
• Per capita
low · 187th
West African CFA franc
West African CFA franc (XOF)
Drives on the
ISO 3166 code
Niger, also called the Niger
(/ˈnaɪdʒər/ ( listen), or /niːˈʒɛər/;
French: [niʒɛʁ]) officially the
Republic of the Niger,
is a landlocked country in
Western Africa named after the
Niger is bordered by
Libya to the northeast,
Chad to the east, Nigeria
Benin to the south,
Burkina Faso and
Mali to the west, and Algeria
to the northwest.
Niger covers a land area of almost
1,270,000 km2, making it the largest country in West Africa. Over
80% of its land area lies in the
Sahara Desert. The country's
predominantly Islamic population of about 21 million mostly
clusters in the far south and west of the country. The capital city is
Niamey, located in Niger’s southwest corner.
Niger is a developing country, consistently ranks near the bottom in
the United Nations'
Human Development Index
Human Development Index (HDI); it was ranked 187th
of 188 countries for 2015. Much of the non-desert portions of the
country are threatened by periodic drought and desertification. The
economy is concentrated around subsistence, with some export
agriculture in the more fertile south, and export of raw materials,
especially uranium ore.
Niger faces serious challenges to development
due to its landlocked position, desert terrain, inefficient
agriculture, high fertility rates without birth control, and the
resulting overpopulation, the poor educational level and the
poverty of its people, the lack of infrastructure, the poor health
care, and the environmental degradation.
Nigerien society reflects a diversity drawn from the long independent
histories of its several ethnic groups and regions and their
relatively short period living in a single state. Historically, what
Niger has been on the fringes of several large states. Since
independence, Nigeriens have lived under five constitutions and three
periods of military rule. After the military coup in 2010, Niger
became a democratic, multi-party state. A majority of the population
lives in rural areas, and have little access to advanced education. As
of 2015, 71.3% of Niger’s population cannot read, one of the lowest
literacy rates in the world.
1.2 Empires and kingdoms in pre-colonial Niger
Songhai Empire (600–1591)
1.2.2 Hausa kingdoms (mid-14th century – 1808)
1.2.4 Kanem-Bornu Empire
1.4 Independence (1958)
1.4.1 First military regime: The Supreme Military Council and Second
1.4.2 National Conference and Third
1.4.3 Second military regime, Fourth Republic, third military regime
1.4.4 Fifth republic 1999–2009
1.4.5 Sixth republic and fourth military regime 2009–2010
1.4.6 Seventh republic 2010–present
2 Geography, climate, and ecology
3 Governance and politics
3.1 Foreign relations
3.2 Government finance
3.2.1 Foreign aid
3.3 Judicial system
3.4 Law enforcement
3.6 Administrative divisions
3.7 Largest cities and towns
4.1 Economic sectors
Drought and food crisis
4.2 Growth rates
4.3 Economic reforms
4.4 Transportation infrastructure
5.2 Ethnic groups
5.4 Largest cities
6.1 Festivals and cultural events
6.1.2 Cure Salée festival
7 See also
10 External links
Main article: History of Niger
Ancient rock engraving showing herds of giraffe, ibex, and other
animals in the southern
Sahara near Tiguidit, Niger.
Early human settlement in
Niger is evidenced by numerous
archaeological remains. In prehistoric times, the climate of the
Sahara (Tenere desert in Niger) was wet and provided favorable
conditions for agriculture and livestock herding in a fertile
grassland environment five thousand years ago.
In 2005–06, a graveyard in the Tenere desert was discovered by Paul
Sereno, a paleontologist from the University of Chicago. His team
discovered 5,000-year-old remains of a woman and two children in the
Tenere Desert. The evidence along with remains of animals that do
not typically live in desert are among the strongest evidence of the
Sahara in Niger. It is believed that progressive
desertification around 5000 BCE pushed sedentary populations to the
south and south-east (Lake Chad).
Overlooking the town of
Zinder and the Sultan's Palace from the French
fort (1906). The arrival of the French spelled a sudden end for
precolonial states like the Sultanate of Damagaram, which carried on
only as ceremonial "chiefs" appointed by the colonial government.
Empires and kingdoms in pre-colonial Niger
By at least the 5th century BCE,
Niger had become an area of
trans-Saharan trade, led by the Berber tribes from the north, who used
camels as a well-adapted means of transportation through the desert.
This trade made
Agadez a pivotal place of the trans-Saharan trade.
This mobility, which would continue in waves for several centuries,
was accompanied with further migration to the south and interbreeding
between southern black and northern white populations. It was also
aided by the introduction of
Islam to the region at the end of the 7th
century. Several empires and kingdoms also flourished during this
era, up to the beginning of colonization in Africa.
Songhai Empire (600–1591)
Main article: Songhai Empire
Songhai Empire was an empire bearing the name of its main ethnic
group, the Songhai or Sonrai, located in western
Africa on the bend of
Niger River in present-day Niger,
Mali and Burkina Faso. In the
7th century, Songhai tribes settled down north of modern-day Niamey
and founded the Songhai city-states of Koukia and Gao. By the 11th
Gao had become the capital of the Songhai Empire.
From 1000 to 1325, The
Songhai Empire prospered and managed to
maintain peace with its neighboring empires including the
In 1325, the
Songhai Empire was conquered by the
Mali Empire, but was
freed in 1335 by prince Ali Kolen and his brother, Songhai princes
held captive by Moussa Kankan, the ruler of the
Mali Empire. From
the mid-15th to the late 16th century, Songhai was one of the largest
Islamic empires in history.
Kaouar escarpment, forming an oasis in the
Hausa kingdoms (mid-14th century – 1808)
Main article: Hausa Kingdoms
Niger River and Lake
Chad lay Hausa kingdoms and fertile
areas. These kingdoms flourished from the mid-14th century up until
the early 19th century, when they were conquered by Usman dan Fodio,
founder of the Sokoto Empire. The Hausa kingdoms were not a compact
entity but several federations of kingdoms more or less independent of
one other. Their organization was somewhat democratic: the Hausa kings
were elected by the notables of the country and could be removed by
Hausa Kingdoms began as seven states founded according to the
Bayajidda legend by the six sons of Bawo. Bawo was the unique son of
the hausa queen
Bayajidda or (
Abu Yazid by certain
Nigerien historians) who came from Baghdad. The seven original hausa
states were: Daoura (state of queen Daurama), Kano, Rano, Zaria,
Gobir, Katsena and Biram.
Mali Empire was a Mandinka empire founded by
Sundiata Keita circa
1230 that existed up to 1600. At its peak circa 1350, the empire
extended as far west as
Senegal and Guinee Conakry and as far east as
Main article: Kanem-Bornu Empire
Kanem-Bornu Empire was an empire that existed in modern-day Chad,
Niger and Libya. The empire first existed and
prospered as the
Kanem Empire as early as the 9th century and later as
the Kingdom of Bornu until 1900.
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In the 19th century, contact with Europe began with the first European
explorers—notably Monteil (French) and Barth (German)—to travel to
Following the 1885 Berlin conference during which colonial powers
outlined the division of
Africa into colonial spheres, French military
efforts to conquer existing African states were intensified in all
French colonies including Niger. This included several military
expeditions including the Voulet Chanoine Mission, which became
notorious for pillaging, looting, raping and killing many local
civilians on its passage. On 8 May 1899, in retaliation for the
resistance of queen Sarraounia, captain Voulet and his men murdered
all the inhabitants of the village of
Birni-N'Konni in what is
regarded as one of the worst massacres in French colonial history.
French military expeditions met great resistance from several ethnic
groups, especially Hausa and
Tuareg groups. The most notable Tuareg
revolt was the Kaocen Revolt. The French authorities also abolished
the widespread slavery among
By 1922, all resistance to colonial rule was eliminated and Niger
became a French colony. Niger's colonial history and development
parallel that of other French West African territories. France
administered her West African colonies through a governor general at
Dakar, Senegal, and governors in the individual territories, including
Niger. In addition to conferring a limited form of French citizenship
on the inhabitants of the territories, the 1946 French constitution
provided for decentralization of power and limited participation in
political life for local advisory assemblies.
The end of the colonial era was characterized by a transformation of
the political environment in
French West Africa
French West Africa and Niger. The
Nigerien Progressive Party, the Nigerien section of the African
Democratic Rally Party, founded in May 1946, united various tendencies
of Nigerien people in the movement for national independence. In
alliance with progressive French elements and other independence
African movements, the movements acquired the suppression of forced
labor and arbitrary requisitions as well as legal equality between the
African and the French citizens.
Following the Overseas Reform Act (Loi Cadre) of 23 July 1956 and the
establishment of the Fifth French
Republic on 4 December 1958, Niger
became an autonomous state within the French Community. On 18 December
Niger was officially created with Hamani Diori
as the head of the Counsel of Ministers of the
Republic of Niger. On
11 July 1960,
Niger decided to leave the
French Community and acquired
full independence on 3 August 1960 with Diori as its first president.
Hamani Diori and visiting
German President Dr. Heinrich
Lübke greet crowds on a state visit to Niamey, 1969. Diori's single
party rule was characterized by good relations with the west and a
preoccupation with foreign affairs.
For its first fourteen years as an independent state,
Niger was run by
a single-party civilian regime under the presidency of Diori. In 1974,
a combination of devastating drought and accusations of rampant
corruption resulted in a coup d'état that overthrew the Diori regime.
First military regime: The Supreme Military Council and Second
Seyni Kountché and a small military group under the name of
Supreme Military Council deposed Diori in April 1974, following a
military coup, the first of many in the post-colonial history of
Niger. President Kountché ruled the country until his death in
The first action of the Kountché military government was to address
the food crisis which was one of the catalysts of the military
coup. While political prisoners of the Diori regime were released
after the coup and the country was stabilized, political and
individual freedom deteriorated in general during this period.
Political parties were banned. Several attempted coups (1975, 1976 and
1983) were thwarted and authors and associates were severely punished.
Despite the restriction in freedom, the country enjoyed improved
economic development with the creation of new companies, the
construction of major infrastructure (building and new roads, schools,
health centers) and minimal corruption in government agencies, which
Kountché did not hesitate to punish severely.
This economic development was helped by the uranium boom as well as
optimal usage of public funds. Kountché was succeeded by his Chief of
Staff, Col. Ali Saibou, who was confirmed as Chief of the Supreme
Military Council on 14 November 1987, four days after Kountché's
death. He introduced political reforms and drafted a new constitution,
with the creation of a single party. He went on to rule the country as
the Chief of the Supreme Military Council.
The 1989 referendum led to the adoption a new constitution and the
creation of the Second
Republic of Niger. General Saibou became the
first president of the Second
Republic after winning the presidential
election on 10 December 1989. His presidency started during the Second
Republic largely following his efforts at the end of the previous
military regime with attempts at normalizing the political situation
in the country with the release of political prisoners, liberalization
of laws and policies.
President Saibou's efforts to control political reforms failed in the
face of trade union and student demands to institute a multi-party
democratic system. On 9 February 1990, a violently repressed student
march led to the death of three students, which led to increased
national and international pressure for a National Conference. The
Saibou regime acquiesced to these demands by the end of 1990.
National Conference and Third
The National Sovereign Conference of 1991 marked a turning point in
the post-independence era of
Niger and brought about multi-party
democracy. From 29 July to 3 November, a national conference gathered
all fringes of society to examine the political, economic and social
situation of the country and make recommendations for the future
direction of the country. The conference was presided over by Prof.
André Salifou and developed a plan for a transitional government.
This transitional government was installed in November 1991 to manage
the affairs of state until the institutions of the Third
put into place in April 1993.
While the economy deteriorated over the course of the transition,
there were certain notable accomplishments, including the successful
conduct of a constitutional referendum; the adoption of key
legislation such as the electoral and rural codes; and the holding of
several free, fair, and non-violent nationwide elections. Freedom of
the press flourished, with the appearance of several new independent
After the National Sovereign Conference, the transitional government
drafted a new constitution that eliminated the previous single-party
system of the 1989 Constitution and guaranteed more freedom. The new
constitution was adopted by a referendum on 26 December 1992.
Following this, presidential elections were held and Mahamane Ousmane
became the first president of the Third
Republic on 27 March 1993. The
Mahamane Ousmane was characterized by political
turbulence, with four government changes and early legislative
elections called in 1995.
The parliamentary election forced cohabitation between a rival
president and prime minister and ultimately led to governmental
paralysis. As part of an initiative started under the National
Sovereign Conference the government signed peace accords in April 1995
Toubou groups that had been in rebellion since 1990.
These groups claimed they lacked attention and resources from the
central government. The government agreed to absorb some of the former
rebels into the military and, with French assistance, to help others
return to a productive civilian life.
Second military regime, Fourth Republic, third military regime
The government paralysis and the political tension was used as a
motivation for a second military coup. On 27 January 1996, Col.
Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara
Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara led a military coup that deposed President
Ousmane and ended the Third Republic. Col. Maïnassara created the
National Salvation Council composed of military officials, which he
headed. The Council carried out a six-month transition period during
which a new constitution was drafted and adopted on 12 May 1996.
Presidential campaigns were organized in the months that followed.
General Maïnassara entered the campaign as an independent candidate
and won the election on 8 July 1996. The elections were viewed
nationally and internationally as irregular since the electoral
commission was replaced during the campaign.
Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara
Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara became the first president of the Fourth
Republic. His efforts to justify questionable elections failed to
convince donors to restore multilateral and bilateral economic
assistance; a desperate Maïnassara ignored an international embargo
Libya and sought Libyan funds to aid Niger's economy. In
repeated violations of basic civil liberties by the regime, opposition
leaders were imprisoned and journalists often arrested, and deported
by an unofficial militia composed of police and military.
On 9 April 1999, Maïnassara was assassinated during a military coup
led by Maj. Daouda Malam Wanké, who established a transitional
National Reconciliation Council to oversee the drafting of a
constitution for the Fifth
Republic with a French-style
semi-presidential system. The new constitution was adopted on 9 August
1999 and was followed by presidential and legislative elections in
October and November of the same year. The elections were generally
found to be free and fair by international observers. Wanké withdrew
himself from government affairs after the new and democratically
elected president was sworn in office.
Fifth republic 1999–2009
After winning the election in November 1999, President Tandja Mamadou
was sworn in office on 22 December 1999 as the first president of the
Fifth Republic. The first mandate of
Tandja Mamadou brought about many
administrative and economic reforms that had been halted due to the
military coups since the Third Republic. In August 2002, serious
unrest within military camps occurred in Niamey, Diffa, and Nguigmi,
but the government was able to restore order within several days. On
24 July 2004, the first municipal elections in the history of Niger
were held to elect local representatives, previously appointed by the
government. These elections were followed by presidential elections.
Tandja Mamadou was re-elected for a second term, thus
becoming the first president of the republic to win consecutive
elections without being deposed by military coups. The legislative and
executive configuration remained quite similar to that of the first
term of the President:
Hama Amadou was reappointed as Prime Minister
and Mahamane Ousmane, the head of the CDS party, was re-elected as the
President of the National Assembly (parliament) by his peers.
By 2007, the relationship between President
Tandja Mamadou and his
prime minister had deteriorated, leading to the replacement of the
latter in June 2007 by
Seyni Oumarou following a successful vote of no
confidence at the Assembly. From 2007 to 2008, the Second Tuareg
Rebellion took place in northern Niger, worsening economic prospects
at a time of political limited progress. The political environment
worsened in the following year as President
Tandja Mamadou sought out
to extend his presidency by modifying the constitution which limited
presidential terms in Niger. Proponents of the extended presidency,
rallied behind the Tazartche movement, were countered by opponents
(anti-Tazartche) composed of opposition party militants and civil
Sixth republic and fourth military regime 2009–2010
In 2009, President
Tandja Mamadou decided to organize a constitutional
referendum seeking to extend his presidency claiming to respond to the
desire of the people of Niger. Despite opposition from opposition
political parties and against the decision of the Constitutional Court
which ruled earlier that the referendum would be unconstitutional,
Tandja Mamadou modified and adopted a new constitution by
referendum. It was declared illegal by the Constitutional Court but
the President dissolved the Court and assumed emergency powers. The
opposition boycotted the referendum and the new constitution was
adopted with 92.5% of voters and a 68% turnout, according to official
results. The adoption of the new constitution created a Sixth
Republic, with a presidential system, as well as the suspension of the
1999 Constitution and a three-year interim government with Tandja
Mamadou as president. Political and social unrest spiraled before,
during and after the referendum project and ultimately led to a
military coup in 2010 that ended the brief existence of the 6th
In a February 2010 coup d'état, a military junta led by captain Salou
Djibo was established in response to Tandja's attempted extension of
his political term by modifying the constitution. The Supreme Council
for the Restoration of Democracy led by General
Salou Djibo carried
out a one-year transition plan, drafted a new constitution and held
elections in 2011 that were judged internationally as free and fair.
Seventh republic 2010–present
Following the adoption of the newest constitution of 2010 and the
Mahamadou Issoufou was elected as the first
president of the Seventh Republic.
Geography, climate, and ecology
Main article: Geography of Niger
A map of Niger
Satellite image of Niger
Niger is a landlocked nation in West
Africa located along the border
Sahara and Sub-Saharan regions. It borders
Benin to the south,
Burkina Faso and
Mali to the west,
Libya to the north and
Chad to the east.
Niger lies between latitudes 11° and 24°N, and longitudes 0° and
16°E. Niger's area is 1,267,000 square kilometres
(489,191 sq mi) of which 300 square kilometres
(116 sq mi) is water. This makes it slightly less than twice
the size of France, and the world's twenty-second largest country.
Niger borders seven countries and has a total perimeter of 5,697
kilometres (3,540 mi). The longest border is with
Nigeria to the
south (1,497 km or 930 mi). This is followed by
Chad to the
east, at 1,175 km (730 mi),
Algeria to the north-northwest
(956 km or 594 mi), and
Mali at 821 km (510 mi).
Niger also has small borders in its far southwest with
Burkina Faso at
628 km (390 mi) and
Benin at 266 km (165 mi) and
to the north-northeast
Libya at 354 km (220 mi).
The lowest point is the
Niger River, with an elevation of 200 metres
(656 ft). The highest point is
Mont Idoukal-n-Taghès in the Aïr
Mountains at 2,022 m (6,634 ft).
Niger map of Köppen climate classification.
Niger's subtropical climate is mainly very hot and very dry, with much
desert area. In the extreme south there is a tropical climate on the
edges of the
Niger River basin. The terrain is predominantly desert
plains and sand dunes, with flat to rolling savanna in the south and
hills in the north.
Further information: Wildlife of Niger
An elephant in the W National Park.
The north of
Niger is covered by large deserts and semi deserts. The
typical mammal fauna consists of
Addax antelopes, Scimitar-horned
oryx, gazelles and in mountains Barbary sheep. One of the largest
reserves of the world, the Aïr and
Ténéré National Nature Reserve,
was founded in the northern parts of the
Niger to protect these rare
The southern parts of
Niger are naturally dominated savannahs. The W
National Park, situated in the bordering area to
Burkina Faso and
Benin, belongs to one of the most important areas for wildlife in
Western Africa, which is called the WAP (W–Arli–Pendjari) Complex.
It has the most important population of the rare
West African lion
West African lion and
one of the last populations of the Northwest African cheetah.
Other wildlife includes elephants, buffaloes, roan antelopes, kob
antelopes and warthogs. The
West African giraffe
West African giraffe is currently not
found in the W National Park, but further north in Niger, where it has
its last relict population.
Environmental issues in
Niger include destructive farming practices as
a result of population pressure. Illegal hunting, bush fires in some
areas and human encroachment upon the flood plains of the
for paddy cultivation are environmental issues. Dams constructed on
Niger River in the neighboring countries of
Niger itself are also cited as a reason for a reduction of
water flow in the
Niger River—which has a direct effect upon the
environment. A lack of adequate staff to guard wildlife in the parks
and reserves is another factor cited for loss of wildlife.
Governance and politics
Politics of Niger
Politics of Niger and Government of Niger
Mahamadou Issoufou, President of Niger.
Niger's new constitution was approved on 31 October 2010. It restored
the semi-presidential system of government of the 1999 constitution
(Fifth Republic) in which the president of the republic, elected by
universal suffrage for a five-year term, and a prime minister named by
the president share executive power.
As a reflection of Niger's increasing population, the unicameral
National Assembly was expanded in 2004 to 113 deputies elected for a
five-year term under a majority system of representation. Political
parties must attain at least 5 percent of the vote in order to gain a
seat in the legislature.
The constitution also provides for the popular election of municipal
and local officials, and the first-ever successful municipal elections
took place on 24 July 2004. The National Assembly passed in June 2002
a series of decentralization bills. As a first step, administrative
powers will be distributed among 265 communes (local councils); in
later stages, regions and departments will be established as
decentralized entities. A new electoral code was adopted to reflect
the decentralization context. The country is currently divided into 8
regions, which are subdivided into 36 districts (departments). The
chief administrator (Governor) in each department is appointed by the
government and functions primarily as the local agent of the central
On 26 May 2009, President Tandja dissolved parliament after the
country's constitutional court ruled against plans to hold a
referendum on whether to allow him a third term in office. According
to the constitution, a new parliament was elected within three
months. This began a political struggle between Tandja, trying to
extend his term-limited authority beyond 2009 through the
establishment of a Sixth Republic, and his opponents who demanded that
he step down at the end of his second term in December 2009. See 2009
Nigerien constitutional crisis. The military took over the country and
President Tandja was put in prison, charged with corruption.
The military kept their promise to return the country to democratic
civilian rule. A constitutional referendum and national elections were
held. A presidential election was held on 31 January 2011, but as no
clear winner emerged, run-off elections were held on 12 March 2011.
Mahamadou Issoufou of the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism
was elected president. A parliamentary election was held at the same
Niger's flag waving at the embassy in Paris.
Main article: Foreign relations of Niger
Niger pursues a moderate foreign policy and maintains friendly
relations with the West and the Islamic world as well as non-aligned
countries. It belongs to the UN and its main specialized agencies and
in 1980–81 served on the UN Security Council.
Niger maintains a
special relationship with former colonial power
France and has close
relations with its West African neighbors.
It is a charter member of the
African Union and the West African
Monetary Union and also belongs to the
Niger Basin Authority
Niger Basin Authority and Lake
Chad Basin Commission, the Economic Community of West African States,
the Non-Aligned Movement, the
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and
the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa
(OHADA). The westernmost regions of
Niger are joined with contiguous
Burkina Faso under the Liptako-Gourma Authority.
The border dispute with Benin, inherited from colonial times and
concerning inter alia
Lété Island in the
Niger River, was solved by
International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice in 2005 to Niger's advantage.
Government finance is derived revenue exports (Mining, oil and
agricultural exports) as well as various forms of taxes collected by
the government. In the past, foreign aid has contributed to large
percentages of the budget. In 2013, Niger's government has adopted a
zero-deficit budget of 1.279 trillion CFA francs ($2.53 billion) which
is claimed to balance revenues and expenditures by an 11% reduction in
the budget from the previous year.
The 2014 budget was 1.867 trillion CFA which is distributed as follows
according to: public debt (76,703,692,000 CFA), personnel expenditures
(210,979,633,960 CFA), operating expenditures (128,988,777,711 CFA);
subsidies and transfers: 308,379,641,366 CFA) and Investment
The importance of external support for Niger's development is
demonstrated by the fact that about 45% of the government's FY 2002
budget, including 80% of its capital budget, derives from donor
resources. The most important donors in
Niger are France, the
European Union, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and
United Nations agencies (UNDP, UNICEF, FAO, World Food
United Nations Population Fund).
Other principal donors include the United States, Belgium, Germany,
Switzerland, Canada, and Saudi Arabia. While
USAID does not have an
office in Niger, the United States is a major donor, contributing
nearly $10 million each year to Niger's development. The U.S. also is
a major partner in policy coordination in such areas as food security
Main article: Judiciary of Niger
Judiciary of Niger
Judiciary of Niger was established with the creation of
Republic in 1999. The constitution of December 1992 was
revised by national referendum on 12 May 1996 and, again, by
referendum, revised to the current version on 18 July 1999. It is
based on the
Code Napoleon "Inquisitorial system", established in
Niger during French colonial rule and the 1960 Constitution of Niger.
The Court of Appeals reviews questions of fact and law, while the
Supreme Court reviews application of the law and constitutional
questions. The High Court of Justice (HCJ) deals with cases involving
senior government officials. The justice system also includes civil
criminal courts, customary courts, traditional mediation, and a
military court. The military court provides the same rights as
civil criminal courts; however, customary courts do not. The military
court cannot try civilians.
Main article: Law enforcement in Niger
Law enforcement in Niger is the responsibility of the Ministry of
Defense through the National Gendarmerie and the Ministry of the
Interior through the National Police and the National Guard. The
National Police is primarily responsible for law enforcement in urban
areas. Outside big cities and in rural areas, this responsibility
falls on the National Gendarmerie and the National Guard.
Niger Armed Forces
Niger Armed Forces
Niger Armed Forces (Forces armées nigériennes) are the military
and paramilitary forces of Niger, under the president as supreme
commander. They consist of the
Niger Army (Armée de Terre), the Niger
Air Force (Armée de l'Air) and the auxiliary paramilitary forces,
such as the National Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie nationale) and the
National Guard (Garde Nationale). Both paramilitary forces are trained
in military fashion and have some military responsibilities in
wartime. In peace time their duties are mostly policing duties.
The armed forces are composed of approximately 12,900 personnel,
including 3,700 gendarmes, 3200 national guards, 300 air force
personnel, and 6,000 army personnel. The armed forces of
been involved several military coups over the years with the most
recent in 2010. Niger's armed forces have a long history of military
France and the United States. As of 2013[update],
Niamey is home to a U.S. drone base.
Administrative divisions of Niger
Main articles: Regions of Niger, Departments of Niger, and Communes of
Niger is divided into 7 Regions and one capital district. These
Regions are subdivided into 36 departments. The 36 Departments are
currently broken down into Communes of varying types. As of
2006[update] there were 265 communes, including communes urbaines
(Urban Communes: as subdivisions of major cities), communes rurales
(Rural Communes), in sparsely populated areas and postes
administratifs (Administrative Posts) for largely uninhabited desert
areas or military zones.
Rural communes may contain official villages and settlements, while
Urban Communes are divided into quarters.
Niger subvisions were
renamed in 2002, in the implementation of a decentralisation project,
first begun in 1998. Previously,
Niger was divided into 7 Departments,
36 Arrondissements, and Communes. These subdivisions were administered
by officials appointed by the national government. These offices will
be replaced in the future by democratically elected councils at each
The pre-2002 departments (renamed as regions) and capital district
Niamey (capital district)
Largest cities and towns
Largest cities or towns in Niger
Main article: Economy of Niger
Niamey, Niger's capital and economic hub.
The economy of
Niger centers on subsistence crops, livestock, and some
of the world's largest uranium deposits.
desertification, a 2.9% population growth rate, and the drop in world
demand for uranium have undercut the economy.
Niger shares a common currency, the CFA franc, and a common central
Central Bank of West African States
Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), with seven
other members of the West African Monetary Union.
Niger is also a
member of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in
In December 2000,
Niger qualified for enhanced debt relief under the
International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund program for Heavily Indebted Poor
Countries (HIPC) and concluded an agreement with the Fund for Poverty
Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF).
Debt relief provided under the
enhanced HIPC initiative significantly reduces Niger's annual debt
service obligations, freeing funds for expenditures on basic health
care, primary education, HIV/AIDS prevention, rural infrastructure,
and other programs geared at poverty reduction.
In December 2005, it was announced that
Niger had received 100%
multilateral debt relief from the IMF, which translates into the
forgiveness of approximately $86 million USD in debts to the IMF,
excluding the remaining assistance under HIPC. Nearly half of the
government's budget is derived from foreign donor resources. Future
growth may be sustained by exploitation of oil, gold, coal, and other
Uranium prices have recovered somewhat in the last
few years. A drought and locust infestation in 2005 led to food
shortages for as many as 2.5 million Nigeriens.
Main article: Agriculture in Niger
The fertile south of
Niger near the
The agricultural economy is based largely upon internal markets,
subsistence agriculture, and the export of raw commodities: foodstuffs
and cattle to neighbors. Foreign exchange earnings from livestock,
although difficult to quantify, are considered the second source of
export revenue behind mining and oil exports. Actual exports far
exceed official statistics, which often fail to detect large herds of
animals informally crossing into Nigeria. Some hides and skins are
exported, and some are transformed into handicrafts. 
Niger's agricultural and livestock sectors are the mainstay of all but
18% of the population. 14% of Niger's GDP is generated by
livestock production (camels, goats, sheep and cattle), said to
support 29% of the population. Thus 53% of the population is actively
involved in crop production. The 15% of Niger's land that is
arable is found mainly along its southern border with Nigeria.
Drought has turned farmland into useless soil. A farmer examines the
soil in drought-stricken
Niger during the 2005 famine.
In these areas, Pearl millet, sorghum, and cassava are the principal
rain-fed subsistence crops. Irrigated rice for internal consumption is
grown in parts of the
Niger River valley in the west. While expensive,
it has, since the devaluation of the CFA franc, sold for below the
price of imported rice, encouraging additional production. Cowpeas and
onions are grown for commercial export, as are small quantities of
garlic, peppers, potatoes, and wheat. Oasis farming in small patches
of the north of the country produces onions, dates, and some market
vegetables for export.
But for the most part, rural residents engaged in crop tending are
clustered in the south centre and south west of the nation, in those
areas (the Sahel) which can expect to receive between 300 to
600 mm (12 to 24 in) of rainfall annually. A small area in
the southern tip of the nation, surrounding Gaya can expect to receive
700 to 900 mm (28 to 35 in) or rainfall. Northern areas
which support crops, such as the southern portions of the Aïr Massif
Kaouar oasis, rely upon oases and a slight increase in
rainfall due to mountain effects. Large portions of the northwest and
far east of the nation, while within the
Sahara desert, see just
enough seasonal rainfall to support semi-nomadic animal husbandry. The
populations of these areas, mostly Tuareg, Wodaabe – Fula, and
Toubou, travel south (a process called transhumance) to pasture and
sell animals in the dry season, north into the
Sahara in the brief
Rainfall varies and when it is insufficient,
Niger has difficulty
feeding its population and must rely on grain purchases and food aid
to meet food requirements. Rains, as in much of the Sahel, have
been marked by annual variability. This has been especially true in
the 20th century, with the most severe drought on record beginning in
the late 1960s and lasting, with one break, well into the 1980s. The
long-term effect of this, especially to pastoralist populations,
remains in the 21st century, with those communities which rely upon
cattle, sheep, and camels husbandry losing entire herds more than once
during this period. Recent rains remain variable. For instance, the
rains in 2000 were not good, while those in 2001 were plentiful and
Soils that have become degraded, for example by intensive cereal
production, cover 50 per cent of Niger's land. Laterite soils have a
high clay content, which means they have higher Cation Exchange
Capacity and water-holding capacity than sandy soils. If laterite
soils become degraded, a hard crust can form on the surface, which
hinders water infiltration and the emergence of seedlings. It is
possible to rehabilitate such soils, using a system called the
Bioreclamation of Degraded Lands.
This involves using indigenous water-harvesting methods (such as
planting pits and trenches), applying animal and plant residues, and
planting high-value fruit trees and indigenous vegetable crops that
are tolerant of drought conditions. The International Crops Research
Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has employed this system
to rehabilitate degraded laterite soils in
Niger and increase
smallholder farmers' incomes. Trials have demonstrated that a
200 m2 (2,153 sq ft) plot can yield an income of around
US$100, which is what men traditionally earn from millet production
per hectare (10000m²). As women are often given degraded soils, using
this practice has helped to improve livelihoods for women in
Kandadji Dam on the
Niger River, whose construction started in
August 2008, is expected to improve agricultural production in the
Tillaberi Department by providing water for the irrigation of 6,000
hectares initially and of 45,000 hectares by 2034.
Drought and food crisis
Sahel drought, 2005–06
Niger food crisis, and 2010
As one of the Sahelian nations in West Africa,
Niger has faced several
droughts which led to food shortages and, in some cases, famines since
its independence in 1963. This includes a series of droughts in the
1970s and 1980s and more recently in 2005–2006 and again in 2010.
The existence of widespread famine in 2005–2006 was debated by the
Niger as well some local NGOs.
Mining in Niger
Mining in Niger and Coal mining in Niger
Niger mining industry is the main source of national exports, of
which uranium is the largest export.
Niger has been a uranium exporter
since the 1960s and has had substantial export earnings and rapid
economic growth during the 1960s and 1970s. The persistent uranium
price slump has brought lower revenues for Niger's uranium sector,
although it still provides 72% of national export proceeds. When the
uranium-led boom ended in the early 1980s the economy stagnated, and
new investment since then has been limited. Niger's two uranium
mines—SOMAIR's open pit mine and COMINAK's underground mine—are
owned by a French-led consortium and operated by French company
As of 2007[update], many licences have been sold to other companies
from countries such as India, China,
Canada and Australia in order to
exploit new deposits. In 2013, the government of
Niger sought to
increase its uranium revenue by subjecting the two mining companies to
a 2006 Mining Law. The government argued that the application of the
new law will balance an otherwise unfavorable partnership between the
government and Areva. The company resisted the application of the new
law that it feared would jeopardize the financial health of the
companies, citing declining market uranium prices and unfavorable
market conditions. In 2014, following nearly a year long negotiation
with the government of Niger,
Areva agreed to the application of 2006
Mining Law of Niger, which would increase the government's uranium
revenues from 5 to 12%.
A farmer collecting millet in Koremairwa village in the Dosso
In addition to uranium, exploitable deposits of gold are known to
Niger in the region between the
Niger River and the border
with Burkina Faso. In 2004, the first Nigerien gold ingot was produced
from the Samira Hill Gold Mine, in Tera Department. The Samira Hill
Gold Mine thus became the first commercial gold production in the
country. The reserves at the location were estimated at 10,073,626
tons at an average grade of 2.21 grams (0.078 oz) per ton from
which 19,200 kilograms (42,300 lb) will be recovered over a
six-year mine life. Other gold deposits are believed to be in nearby
areas known as the "Samira Horizon", which is located between Gotheye
SONICHAR (Société Nigerienne de Charbon) in
Tchirozerine (north of
Agadez) extracts coal from an open pit and fuels an electricity
generating plant that supplies energy to the uranium mines. Based on
2012 reports by the government of Niger, 246016 tons of coal were
extracted by SONICHAR in 2011. There are additional coal deposits
to the south and west that are of a higher quality and may be
exploitable. Substantial deposits of phosphates, coal, iron,
limestone, and gypsum have also been found in Niger.
Main article: Petroleum industry in Niger
A test oil well in the Tenere Desert, January 2008
The history of oil prospecting and discovery goes back to the
independence era with the first discovery of Tintouma oil field in
Madama in 1975. It is the Agadem basin that has attracted much
attention since 1970 with Texaco and then
Esso prospecting in the
basin until 1980. Exploration permits on the same basin were held
Elf Aquitaine (1980–1985), Esso-Elf (1985–1998),
Esso (1998–2002) and Esso-
Petronas (2002–2006). While the reserves
were estimated at 324 millions barrels for oil and 10 billion m3 for
Petronas relinquished the permit because it deemed the
quantities too small for production.
With the sudden increase in oil price, this assessment was no longer
true by 2008. the government transferred the Agadem block rights to
Niger announced that in exchange for the US$5 billion
investment, the Chinese company would build wells, 11 of which would
open by 2012, a 20,000-barrel-per-day (3,200 m3/d) refinery near
Zinder and a pipeline out of the nation. The government estimates the
area has reserves of 324 million barrels (51,500,000 m3), and is
seeking further oil in the Tenere
Desert and near Bilma.
producing its first barrels of oil in 2011.
The economic competitiveness created by the January 1994 devaluation
of the Communauté Financière Africaine (CFA) franc contributed to an
annual average economic growth of 3.5% throughout the mid-1990s. But
the economy stagnated due to the sharp reduction in foreign aid in
1999 (which gradually resumed in 2000) and poor rains in 2000.
Reflecting the importance of the agricultural sector, the return of
good rains was the primary factor underlying economic growth of 5.1%
in 2000, 3.1% in 2001, 6.0% in 2002, and 3.0% in 2003.
In recent years, the
Government of Niger
Government of Niger drafted revisions to the
investment code (1997 and 2000), petroleum code (1992), and mining
code (1993), all with attractive terms for investors. The present
government actively seeks foreign private investment and considers it
key to restoring economic growth and development. With the assistance
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), it has undertaken
a concerted effort to revitalize the private sector.
A market in Maradi.
In January 2000, Niger's newly elected government inherited serious
financial and economic problems including a virtually empty treasury,
past-due salaries (11 months of unpaid salaries) and scholarship
payments, increased debt, reduced revenue performance, and lower
public investment. In December 2000,
Niger qualified for enhanced debt
relief under the
International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund program for Highly
Indebted Poor Countries and concluded an agreement with the Fund on a
Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF).
In addition to changes in the budgetary process and public finances,
the new government has pursued economic restructuring towards the IMF
promoted privatization model. This has included the privatization of
water distribution and telecommunications and the removal of price
protections for petroleum products, allowing prices to be set by world
market prices. Further privatizations of public enterprises are in the
In its effort to comply with the IMF's Poverty Reduction and Growth
Facility plan, the government is also taking action to reduce
corruption and, as the result of a participatory process encompassing
civil society, has devised a Poverty Reduction Strategy Plan that
focuses on improving health, primary education, rural infrastructure,
and judicial restructuring.
A long planned privatization of the Nigerien power company, NIGELEC,
failed in 2001 and again in 2003 due to a lack of buyers. SONITEL, the
nation's telephone operator which was separated from the post office
and privatised in 2001, was renationalised in 2009. Critics have
argued that the obligations to creditor institutions and governments
Niger into a process of trade liberalization that is
harmful for small farmers and in particular, rural women.
A rural mother tends to her malnourished infant at the Maradi MSF aid
centre, during the 2005–2006
Niger food crisis. While the Maradi
Region is the breadbasket of Niger, the 20th century saw three severe
Sahel droughts which brought dramatic food insecurity to even the most
fertile regions of Niger.
Main article: Transport in Niger
One of the roads leading to Tahoua, central Niger
Diori Hamani International Airport
Diori Hamani International Airport at Niamey
Transport is crucial to the economy and culture of this vast
landlocked nation, with cities separated by huge uninhabited deserts,
mountain ranges, and other natural features. Niger's transport system
was little developed during the colonial period (1899–1960), relying
upon animal transport, human transport, and limited river transport in
the far south west and south east. No railways were constructed in the
colonial period. Construction of a network of paved roads linking
major cities began after the independence reaching its heights during
the uranium boom in the 1970s and 1980s. Primary or paved road systems
are limited to bigger cities or connection between major cities. Road
connections or networks in rural areas are mostly unpaved, all-weather
laterite surfaces to grated dirt or sand plowed roads with various
degrees of maintenance. In 2012, there was 19,675 kilometres
(12,225 mi) of road network throughout Niger, of which 4,225
kilometres (2,625 mi) were paved.
Niger River, which crosses the southwestern part of the country,
is unsuitable for river transport of any large scale, as it lacks
depth for most of the year, and is broken by rapids at many spots.
Camel caravan transport was historically important in the Sahara
Sahel regions which cover most of the north.
Air transport is mainly concentrated in Niamey. Niger's only
international airport is Diori Hamani International Airport, is
located in the capital, Niamey. Other airports in
Niger include the
Mano Dayak International Airport
Mano Dayak International Airport in
Agadez city and
Zinder Airport in
Zinder city but as of January 2015, they were not regularly serviced
by any carriers.
In 2014, construction for the railway extension connecting Niamey
(Niger) to Cotonou via
Parakou (Benin) began and is expected to be
completed by 2016. It includes the construction of 574 kilometres
(357 mi) new railway from
Niamey to connect to the existing line
Parakou (Benin). Besides Niamey, the railway line will go through
Dosso city and Gaya.
Main article: Demographics of Niger
Fulani women with traditional facial tattoos.
As of 2016[update], the population of
Niger was 20,672,987.
Expanding from a population of 1.7 million in 1960, Niger's population
has rapidly increased with a current growth rate of 3.3% (7.1 children
This growth rate is one of the highest in the world and is a source of
concern for the government and international agencies. The
population is predominantly young, with 49.2% under 15 years old and
2.7% over 65 years, and predominantly rural with only 21% living in
A 2005 study stated that over 800,000 people (nearly 8 per cent of the
Niger are enslaved.
Main articles: Hausa people, Zarma people,
Tuareg people, Fula people,
Kanuri people, Tubu people,
Diffa Arabs, and Gurma people
Niger has a wide variety of ethnic groups as in most West African
countries. The ethnic makeup of
Niger is as follows: Hausa (53.0%),
Tuareg (10.4%), Fula (French: Peuls; Fula:
Fulɓe) (9.9%), Kanuri Manga (4.4%), Tubu (0.4%), Arab (0.3%),
Gourmantche (0.3%), other (0.2%).
Main article: Languages of Niger
French, inherited from the colonial period, is the official language.
It is spoken mainly as a second language by people who have received a
formal western education and serves as the administrative language.
Niger has been a member of the Organisation Internationale de la
Francophonie since 1970.
Niger has ten official national languages, namely Arabic, Buduma,
Fulfulde, Gourmanchéma, Hausa, Kanuri, Zarma & Songhai, Tamasheq,
Tassawaq, Tebu. Each is spoken as a first language primarily by the
ethnic group with which it is associated. Hausa and
Zarma-Sonrai, the two most spoken languages, are widely spoken
throughout the country as first or second languages.
Further information: List of cities in Niger
16°58′26″N 7°59′27″E / 16.9738889°N 7.9908333°E /
18°43′57″N 7°22′05″E / 18.7325°N 7.3680556°E /
13°48′N 5°15′E / 13.8°N 5.25°E / 13.8; 5.25
13°38′46″N 4°01′44″E / 13.6461111°N 4.0288889°E /
13°02′40″N 3°11′41″E / 13.0444444°N 3.1947222°E /
13°29′30″N 7°05′47″E / 13.4916667°N 7.0963889°E /
Niamey Capital District
13°31′00″N 2°07′00″E / 13.5166667°N 2.1166667°E /
14°53′25″N 5°16′04″E / 14.8902778°N 5.2677778°E /
13°45′12″N 7°59′11″E / 13.7533333°N 7.9863889°E /
13°48′00″N 8°59′00″E / 13.8°N 8.9833333°E / 13.8;
Main article: Religion in Niger
A mosque in Niamey
Religion in Niger
Religion in Niger (estimates round to 80%)
Christianity & animism
Niger is a secular country and separation of state and religion is
guaranteed by Articles 3 and 175 of the 2010 Constitution, which
dictate that future amendments or revisions may not modify the secular
nature of the republic of Niger.
Religious freedom is protected by
Article 30 of the same constitution. Islam, widespread in the region
since the 10th century, has greatly shaped the culture and morals of
the people of Niger.
Islam is the most dominant religion, practiced by
80% of the population.
The second most practiced religion is Christianity; this by less than
20% of the population.
Christianity was established earlier in the
country by missionaries during the French colonial years. Other urban
Christian expatriate communities from Europe and West
Africa are also
presented. Religious persecution is rare in
Niger which is ranked last
(#50) on the
World Watch List
World Watch List for severity of persecution that
Christians face for actively pursuing their faith.
Islam in Niger
Approximately 59 percent of Muslims in
Niger are Sunni, 7 percent are
Shi'a, 5% are
Ahmadiyya and 20% Non-denominational.
spread into what is now
Niger beginning in the 15th century, by both
the expansion of the
Songhai Empire in the west, and the influence of
Trans-Saharan trade traveling from the
Maghreb and Egypt. Tuareg
expansion from the north, culminating in their seizure of the far
eastern oases from the
Kanem-Bornu Empire in the 17th centuries,
spread distinctively Berber practices.
Both Zarma and Hausa areas were greatly influenced by the 18th and
19th century Fula led
Sufi brotherhoods, most notably the Sokoto
Caliphate (in today's Nigeria). Modern Muslim practice in
often tied to the
Sufi brotherhoods, although there are small
minority groups tied to
Sufi orders in the
west, and the
Sanusiya in the far northeast.
A small center of followers of Salafi movement within
appeared in the last thirty years, in the capital and in Maradi.
These small groups, linked to similar groups in Jos, Nigeria, came to
public prominence in the 1990s during a series of religious
Niger maintains a tradition as a secular state,
protected by law. Interfaith relations are deemed very good, and
the forms of
Islam traditionally practiced in most of the country are
marked by tolerance of other faiths and lack of restrictions on
personal freedom. Divorce and polygyny are unremarkable, women are
not secluded, and head coverings are not mandatory—they are often a
rarity in urban areas. Alcohol, such as the locally produced
Bière Niger, is sold openly in most of the country.
A small percentage of the population practices traditional indigenous
religious beliefs. The numbers of Animist practitioners are a
point of contention. As recently as the late 19th century, much of the
south center of the nation was unreached by Islam, and the conversion
of some rural areas has been only partial. There are still areas where
animist based festivals and traditions (such as the Bori religion) are
practiced by syncretic Muslim communities (in some Hausa areas as well
as among some
Wodaabe pastoralists), as opposed to several
small communities who maintain their pre-Islamic religion. These
include the Hausa-speaking Maouri (or Azna, the Hausa word for
"pagan") community in
Dogondoutci in the south-southwest and the
Kanuri speaking Manga near Zinder, both of whom practice variations of
the pre-Islamic Hausa
Maguzawa religion. There are also some tiny
Boudouma and Songhay animist communities in the southwest.
Main article: Education in Niger
A primary classroom in Niger.
The literacy rate of
Niger is among the lowest in the world; in 2005
it was estimated to be only 28.7% (42.9% male and 15.1% female).
Primary education in
Niger is compulsory for six years. The
primary school enrollment and attendance rates are low, particularly
for girls. In 1997, the gross primary enrollment rate was 29.3
percent, and in 1996, the net primary enrollment rate was 24.5
About 60 percent of children who finish primary schools are boys, as
the majority of girls rarely attend school for more than a few
years. Children are often forced to work rather than attend
school, particularly during planting or harvest periods. Nomadic
children in the north of the country often do not have access to
Main article: Health in Niger
The child mortality rate in
Niger (deaths among children between the
ages of 1 and 4) is high (248 per 1,000) due to generally poor health
conditions and inadequate nutrition for most of the country's
children. According to the organization Save the Children,
the world's highest infant mortality rate.
Niger also has the highest fertility rate in the world (7.03 births
per woman according to 2013 estimates); this means that nearly
half (49%) of the Nigerien population is under age 15.
Niger has the
11th highest maternal mortality rate in the world at 820
deaths/100,000 live births. There were 3 physicians and 22 nurses
per 100,000 persons in 2006.
Main article: Culture of Niger
Horsemen at the traditional
Ramadan festival at the Sultan's Palace in
the Hausa city of Zinder.
A traditional home in Zinder.
Nigerien culture is marked by variation, evidence of the cultural
crossroads which French colonialism formed into a unified state from
the beginning of the 20th century. What is now
Niger was created from
four distinct cultural areas in the pre-colonial era: the Zarma
Niger River valley in the southwest; the northern periphery
of Hausaland, made mostly of those states which had resisted the
Sokoto Caliphate, and ranged along the long southern border with
Nigeria; the Lake
Chad basin and
Kaouar in the far east, populated by
Kanuri farmers and
Toubou pastoralists who had once been part of the
Kanem-Bornu Empire; and the
Tuareg nomads of the
Aïr Mountains and
Saharan desert in the vast north.
Each of these communities, along with smaller ethnic groups like the
Wodaabe Fula, brought their own cultural traditions to the
new state of Niger. While successive post-independence governments
have tried to forge a shared national culture, this has been slow
forming, in part because the major Nigerien communities have their own
cultural histories, and in part because Nigerien ethnic groups such as
Tuareg and Kanuri are but part of larger ethnic communities
which cross borders introduced under colonialism.
Until the 1990s, government and politics was inordinately dominated by
Niamey and the
Zarma people of the surrounding region. At the same
time the plurality of the population, in the Hausa borderlands between
Birni-N'Konni and Maine-Soroa, have often looked culturally more to
Nigeria than Niamey. Between 1996 and 2003, primary
school attendance was around 30%, including 36% of males and only
25% of females. Additional education occurs through madrasas.
Festivals and cultural events
Main article: Guérewol
Participants in the
Guérewol perform the
Guérewol dance, 1997.
Guérewol festival is a traditional
Wodaabe cultural event that
takes place in
Tahoua region or In'Gall in
Agadez Region. It
is an annual traditional courtship ritual practiced by the Wodaabe
(Fula) people of Niger. During this ceremony, young men dressed in
elaborate ornamentation and made up in traditional face painting
gather in lines to dance and sing, vying for the attention of
marriageable young women. The
Guérewol festival is an internationally
attraction and was featured in films and magazines as prominent as the
Cure Salée festival
Main article: Cure Salee
"La Cure salée" (English: Salt Cure) is a yearly festival of Tuareg
Wodaabe nomads in In'Gall in
Agadez Region traditionally to
celebrate the end of the rainy season. For three days, the festival
features a parade of
Tuareg camel riders followed with camel and horse
races, songs, dances, and storytelling.
Main article: Media of Niger
Niger began developing diverse media in the late 1990s. Prior to the
Third Republic, Nigeriens only had access to tightly controlled state
Niamey contains scores of newspapers and magazines;
some, like Le Sahel, are government operated, while many are critical
of the government. Radio is the most important medium, as
television sets are beyond the buying power of many of the rural poor,
and illiteracy prevents print media from becoming a mass medium.
In addition to the national and regional radio services of the state
broadcaster ORTN, there are four privately owned radio networks which
total more than 100 stations. Three of them—the Anfani Group,
Sarounia and Tenere—are urban-based commercial-format FM networks in
the major towns. There is also a network of over 80 community
radio stations spread across all seven regions of the country,
governed by the Comité de Pilotage de Radios de Proximité (CPRP), a
civil society organisation. The independent-sector radio networks are
collectively estimated by CPRP officials to cover some
7.6 million people, or about 73% of the population (2005).
Aside from Nigerien radio stations, the BBC's Hausa service is
listened to on FM repeaters across wide parts of the country,
particularly in the south, close to the border with Nigeria. Radio
France Internationale also rebroadcasts in French through some of the
commercial stations, via satellite. Tenere FM also runs a national
independent television station of the same name.
Despite relative freedom at the national level, Nigerien journalists
say they are often pressured by local authorities. The state ORTN
network depends financially on the government, partly through a
surcharge on electricity bills, and partly through direct subsidy. The
sector is governed by the Conseil Supérieur de Communications,
established as an independent body in the early 1990s, since 2007
headed by Daouda Diallo. International human rights groups have
criticised the government since at least 1996 as using regulation and
police to punish criticism of the state.
Outline of Niger
Cinema of Niger
LGBT rights in Niger
List of African writers by country#Niger
Music of Niger
Telecommunications in Niger
African Centre of Meteorological Application for Development
^ a b République du Niger, "Loi n° 2001-037 du 31 décembre 2001
fixant les modalités de promotion et de développement des langues
nationales." L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde (accessed 21
^ "Nigerien – definition of Nigerien in English from the Oxford
Dictionaries". Retrieved 1 March 2018.
^ a b c d "Niger". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 20 April
World Bank GINI index, accessed on January 21, 2016.
^ a b "Human Development Report 2016" (PDF). United Nations
Development Programme. 2016. p. 25. Retrieved 4 January
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