Facts about Niger

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NigerNiger became independent from France in 1960 and experienced single-party and military rule until 1991, when Gen. Ali SAIBOU was forced by public pressure to allow multiparty elections, which resulted in a democratic government in 1993. Political infighting brought the government to a standstill and in 1996 led to a coup by Col. Ibrahim BARE. In 1999 BARE was killed in a coup by military officers who promptly restored democratic rule and held elections that brought Mamadou TANDJA to power in December of that year. TANDJA was reelected in 2004. Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world with minimal government services and insufficient funds to develop its resource base. The largely agrarian and subsistence-based economy is frequently disrupted by extended droughts common to the Sahel region of Africa. A predominately Tuareg ethnic group emerged in February 2007, the Nigerien Movement for Justice (MNJ), and attacked several military targets in Niger's northern region throughout 2007. Events have since evolved into a budding insurrection.

Geography of Niger

Western Africa, southeast of Algeria
16 00 N, 8 00 E
total: 1.267 million sq km
water: 300 sq km
land: 1,266,700 sq km
Area comparative:
slightly less than twice the size of Texas
Land boundaries:
total: 5,697 km
border countries: Algeria 956 km, Benin 266 km, Burkina Faso 628 km, Chad 1,175 km, Libya 354 km, Mali 821 km, Nigeria 1,497 km
0 km (landlocked)
desert; mostly hot, dry, dusty; tropical in extreme south
predominately desert plains and sand dunes; flat to rolling plains in south; hills in north
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Niger River 200 m
highest point: Mont Bagzane 2,022 m
Natural resources:
uranium, coal, iron ore, tin, phosphates, gold, petroleum
Natural hazards:
recurring droughts
Environment current issues:
overgrazing; soil erosion; deforestation; desertification; wildlife populations (such as elephant, hippopotamus, giraffe, and lion) threatened because of poaching and habitat destruction
Geography - note:
landlocked; one of the hottest countries in the world: northern four-fifths is desert, southern one-fifth is savanna, suitable for livestock and limited agriculture

Population of Niger

13,272,679 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 46.9% (male 2,994,022/female 2,882,273)
15-64 years: 50.7% (male 3,262,114/female 3,083,522)
65 years and over: 2.4% (male 150,982/female 152,181)
Median age:
16.5 years
Growth rate:
Infant mortality:
118.25 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 43.76 years
male: 43.8 years
female: 43.73 years
Fertility rate:
7.46 children born/woman
noun: Nigerien(s)
adjective: Nigerien
Ethnic groups:
Hausa 56%, Djerma 22%, Fula 8.5%, Tuareg 8%, Beri Beri (Kanouri) 4.3%, Arab, Toubou, and Gourmantche 1.2%, about 1,200 French expatriates
Muslim 80%, remainder indigenous beliefs and Christian
French (official), Hausa, Djerma
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 17.6%
male: 25.8%
female: 9.7% 


Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Niger
local long form: Republique du Niger
Government type:
Administrative divisions:
8 regions (regions, singular - region) includes 1 capital district* (communite urbaine); Agadez, Diffa, Dosso, Maradi, Niamey*, Tahoua, Tillaberi, Zinder
3 August 1960 (from France)
National holiday:
Republic Day, 18 December (1958)
the constitution of January 1993 was revised by national referendum on 12 May 1996 and again by referendum on 18 July 1999
Legal system:
based on French civil law system and customary law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Mamadou TANDJA (since 22 December 1999)
head of government: Prime Minister Seyni OUMAROU (since 3 June 2007); appointed by the president and shares some executive responsibilities with the president
cabinet: 26-member Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term).
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly (113 seats; note - expanded from 83 seats; members elected by popular vote for five-year terms)
Judicial branch:
State Court or Cour d'Etat; Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel


Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking near last on the United Nations Development Fund index of human development. It is a landlocked, Sub-Saharan nation, whose economy centers on subsistence crops, livestock, and some of the world's largest uranium deposits. Drought cycles, desertification, and a 2.9% population growth rate, have undercut the economy. Niger shares a common currency, the CFA franc, and a common central bank, the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), with seven other members of the West African Monetary Union. In December 2000, Niger qualified for enhanced debt relief under the International Monetary Fund program for Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and concluded an agreement with the Fund on a 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, Niger received 100% multilateral debt relief from the IMF, which translates into the forgiveness of approximately US $86 million 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 mineral resources. Uranium prices have increased sharply in the last few years. A drought and locust infestation in 2005 led to food shortages for as many as 2.5 million Nigeriens.

$8.859 billion (2007 est.)
GDP growth rate:
GDP per capita:
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 39%
industry: 17%
services: 44%
Inflation rate:
Labor force:
70,000 receive regular wages or salaries 
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 90%, industry and commerce 6%, government 4%
revenues: $320 million - including $134 million from foreign sources
expenditures: $320 million
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
uranium mining, cement, brick, textiles, food processing, chemicals, slaughterhouses
cowpeas, cotton, peanuts, millet, sorghum, cassava (tapioca), rice; cattle, sheep, goats, camels, donkeys, horses, poultry
uranium ore, livestock, cowpeas, onions
Export partners:
France 46.3%, US 19.6%, Nigeria 19.5%, Switzerland 4.7%
foodstuffs, machinery, vehicles and parts, petroleum, cereals
Import partners:
France 15.2%, US 11.2%, French Polynesia 8.3%, Nigeria 7.2%, Italy 6.7%, Cote d'Ivoire 5.4%, China 4.7%, Germany 4.5%, Belgium 4.5% 
Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF); note - responsible authority is the Central Bank of the West African States

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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