Niger – Republic of Niger a state in West Africa

Niger (State)

The Republic of the Niger (fr. Republique du Niger) is a state in West Africa.


Geographic position

The country shares its northern border with Algeria and Libya, its eastern border with the Republic of Chad, its southern and southwestern border with Nigeria, its southwestern border with Benin (formerly Dahomey) and Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta) and its western border with Mali. The country is landlocked.

Natural conditions

The country is dominated by lowlands with an altitude of 300-500 m above sea level. In the north-west, there is the massif of Ayr, a system of plateaux of different heights. The highest point, Mount Bagesan, reaches 1,900 m. The eastern part of the Ayre steeply falls to the vast sandy desert Tenere, an area of about 400 thousand km². The northern part of the country is occupied by high rocky plateaus. In the south of the country there is a plateau, composed of loams, dense lateritic sands, in some places sandstones.

A special natural area of the country forms the valley of the Niger River, which has the most favorable conditions for life, because there is water.

In general, Niger is one of the hottest countries in the world. During the whole year, the midday heat is at least +30 °, the minimum temperature is +8 °.

The country’s subsoil contains reserves of uranium, tin, coal, iron ore, phosphates, gold, molybdenum, and oil.

Flora and fauna

In Niger grow baobabs, palms (dum and others), and among the grasses the beard grass and elephant grass predominate. In the far southwest, large trees with lush green crowns appear: bombex (cotton tree), mangoes with bright orange fruits, papayas, and palm trees. Bamboos grow along rivers.

Giraffes, antelopes, wild boars, and lions are found there. On the right bank of Niger and near Lake Chad big herds of elephants are found. Numerous rodents, fox fenek, oryx and addax antelopes. Gazelles, cheetah, hyena and jackal inhabit the vast savannas. Ostriches, eagles, white-headed vultures and kites occur. Hippos and crocodiles live in rivers. Birds are especially numerous: ducks, geese, sandpipers, herons, cranes, ibises, storks, black marabou. Among them are many migratory species. A lot of insects, especially termites and locusts.

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The population is 13.3 million (estimated in July 2008).

The annual growth rate is 2.9%;

Fertility – 49.6 per 1000 (fertility – 7.3 births per woman);

Mortality – 20,3 per 1000;

Emigration, 0.6 per 1,000;

Life expectancy – 44 years;

Infant mortality – 115 per 1,000.

Ethnic composition: Hausa 55%, Jerma and Songhai 21%, Tuareg 9%, Fulbe 8%, Manga and Kanuri 5%.

The official language is French. Other languages include Hausa and other local dialects.

The literacy rate is about 28%.


    (Sunni) – 80% – 14% – 1%

Administrative-territorial division

Administratively is divided into the capital district of Niamey and 7 departments, which in turn are divided into 33 districts.

Department Capital Area, Population (2001), people
Agades Agades 634 209 313 274
Diffa Diffa 140 216 329 658
Doso Doso 31 002 1 479 095
Maradi Maradi 38 581 2 202 035
Niamey Niamey 670 674 950
Tahua Tahua 106 677 1 908 100
Tillaberry Tillaberry 89 623 1 858 342
Zinder Zinder 145 430 2 024 898

Political structure

The state system is a republic. The head of state is the president. The capital of the state is Niamey (674,950 people). Large cities: Zinder (170,574 people), Maradi (147,038 people) Political parties:

  • Democratic and Social Convention.
  • National Union of Independents for Democratic Renewal
  • National Movement for Development Society-Nassar
  • Party for National Union and Development
  • Union of Democratic and Progressive Patriots


Advantages : huge reserves of uranium. In the late 90s, oil and gas deposits were discovered.

Weaknesses : dependence on foreign aid. Debt growth after uranium price drop in 1980s. Only 3% of land suitable for agriculture. Poor infrastructure, frequent droughts, instability.

Niger is an agricultural country with a burgeoning uranium mining industry. Mining of uranium ore, cassiterite. Nomadic cattle breeding. Handicrafts. Enterprises of agricultural raw materials processing. Fishing. Cultivation of sugar cane, peanuts, sorghum, cotton, millet, cassava.

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Export: uranium concentrates, cotton, live stock, hides, peanuts. Main buyers of goods from Niger (in 2006) – France (50%), Nigeria (23%), Russia (14%).

Imports: food products, heavy machinery and chemical products, transport equipment, petroleum products and manufactured goods.


When the modern Sahara Desert was a relatively humid climate, the inhabitants of Niger were different from those of today. In the 8th-6th millennium BC, Niger had a Kiffian culture whose members were tall and had a massive build. In the 5th-3rd millennium B.C. it was replaced by the Teneric culture which was graceful in build and belonged to the Mediterranean subrace of the Caucasoid race. The Tenorian culture disappeared without a trace after the drying up of the Sahara; probably, its surviving carriers migrated.

From the 7th century, the valley of the Niger River was part of the principality of Songai. By the end of the 15th century, this principality had consolidated to the status of a kingdom. However, in 1591, the Sultan of Morocco’s army conquered the Sangai Kingdom. Then, in the 18th century, the territory of Niger passed under the rule of the Tuaregs, nomadic tribes, who had inhabited the north of modern Niger since the 7th century.

Europeans arrived in Niger at the beginning of the 19th century.

At the end of the 19th century France began to develop Niger. In 1899 a military expedition was sent from the Niger River to Lake Chad. In 1904 the French established the “military territory of Niger,” as part of the colony of Upper Senegal-Niger, which was in turn part of French West Africa. In 1905-06, Muslim preachers and local sultans tried to offer armed resistance to the French.

Since the 1920s, French colonizers actively cultivated various crops on the territory of Niger, intensively developed infrastructure (primarily the road network), and recruited locals to work in industrial enterprises in other, coastal colonies in French West Africa.

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In 1946, Niger received the status of an overseas territory within the French Union. An elected General Council, the local body of self-government, was established. Most of the seats were held by local tribal chiefs.

Niger: map and information about the state

Niger: country on the map of Africa

Niger on a map of Africa (all images are clickable)

  • The official name: Republic of Niger;
  • Capital city: Niamey;
  • Area: 1 267 000 km²;
  • Population: 18,100,200 (as of July 2014);
  • Population density: 14.2 persons/km²;
  • Largest cities: Niamey (730,900), Zinder (205,600), Maradi (191,000);
  • Official language: French;
  • Currency: CFA franc (XAF);
  • Phone code: 227;
  • International alphabetic code: NER;
  • Internet domain: .ne;
  • Time Zone (difference with Moscow): -2.

Niger is a state in West Africa. It borders on Algeria, Libya, Chad, Nigeria, Benin, and Burkina Faso; it is landlocked. Most of its territory is plains, while its northern areas are occupied by high rocky plateaux of the Sahara Desert. Niger is the largest country in the region, with an area of about 1.3 million km².

Its climate is tropical. Rainfall is almost non-existent throughout most of the country, with small amounts falling only in the south-westernmost regions, but even here the annual rainfall is less than 100 mm, and only in the border regions with Benin and Burkina Faso, where the climate changes to subequatorial, does it fall to 800 mm of rainfall per year. The climate of Niger is characterized by sharp diurnal temperature fluctuations: the average temperature during the day is +30-40 °С, and at night, especially in the desert, frosts are possible.

The flora of Niger is represented by vegetation of the semi-desert type. Date palms are common in the oases.

Among the animals found in the Saharan sands, the only animals that can be found are the jerboas, sand foxes and antelope. Giraffes, elephants, antelopes and warthogs are found in the southern areas.

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Map of Niger with cities

Map of Niger

But the state system of Niger is a presidential republic. The legislative body is parliament. Territorially the country is divided into 8 departments and the capital district. The local currency is the CFA franc. The capital is the city of Niamey.

Population is about 18 million people. Most of them are representatives of various peoples of linguistic groups of the Nigger-Congo and Songai, as well as the Tuareg Berber tribes living in the northern part of the country. French is the official language, while Songhai, Bantu and other languages are used in everyday communication. Up to 80% of believers are Muslims, while the rest retain their adherence to ancient traditional beliefs.

Niger is an agrarian state with a predominance of agriculture. Here peanuts, sugar cane, cotton, millet, sorghum and cassava are grown. Cattle breeding is nomadic. Mining industry is developing (uranium ores and cassiterite). Main export articles: uranium concentrate, live stock, peanuts.

Until the middle of the 19th century the lands of Niger were inaccessible for the Europeans, but by the beginning of the 20th century the territories of the modern country became a part of the French West Africa. The independent Republic of Niger was formed in 1960 after the independence of French West Africa and its disintegration into a number of separate states.

At present the country regularly experiences uprisings of Tuareg tribes and armed conflicts between government troops and residents of the northern areas. Therefore, although there are no restrictions on movement, it may not be safe to visit these areas.

The city of Zinder is known for its unusual architecture, there are many monuments of Muslim culture, such as mosques. Not bad, in comparison with other cities, infrastructure is developed. In the oldest quarter of Birni are square houses with geometric designs and paintings on the walls. There is a quarter Zengu, inhabited mainly by the Hausa tribe, and the New Town, which is the economic center of Zinder.

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