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Niger

Niger is a landlocked country in Western Africa, southeast of Algeria. It is a small country neighbouring Burkina Faso, Benin, Nigeria, Chad, Libya, Algeria and Mali. Niger lies on the corner of the Sahara Desert. This country gained independence from France in 1960 and was under a single-party and military rule until 1991. Following some periods of political instability, Niger is now under democratic rule. Because Niger is a drought-prone country, it is sometimes difficult to fully support its people. As well, the encroaching Sahara Desert continues to threaten agriculture in this area. Niger is currently exploring its oil and gold mining to help boost economic growth. The capital city, Niamey, is located along the River

Niger. It is home to the Great Mosque, the National Museum, and the Franco-Nigerian Cultural Center. The city has various parks and botanical gardens. The famous ‘W’ National Park is located slightly outside of Niamey and it has a diversity of wildlife, including elephants, lions, hyenas and baboons. The city of Agadez is still a trading city and attracts many tourists. It is known for its silver and leatherwork. The old Hausa culture comes from northern Niger and has spread across a huge region of western Africa. In fact, an increasing amount of West Africans speak the Hausa language. This language ranks as one of the world's major languages.
CATEGORIES: Demographics - Quick Facts - Economy - Communications - Health Issues
Demographics
Country Flag: Niger's Flag

Three equal horizontal bands of orange (top), white, and green with a small orange disk (representing the sun) centered in the white band; similar to the flag of India.

Nationality: Nigerien

Capital: Niamey

Population: 12,525,094 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 46.9%
  • 15-64 years: 50.7%
  • 65 years and over: 2.4% (2006 est.)  

Population growth rate: 2.92% (2006 est.)

Literacy rate:

  • ages 15 and above can read and write.
  • 17.6% of the population is literate (male: 25.8%, female: 9.7%) (2003 est.)

Major religions: Muslim 80%, remainder indigenous beliefs and Christian

Languages: French (official), Hausa, Djerma

Quick Facts
Area:
  • total: 1.267 million sq km
  • land: 1,266,700 sq km
  • water: 300 sq km

Area comparative to Canadian province: slightly bigger than Ontario

Natural resources: uranium, coal, iron ore, tin, phosphates, gold, molybdenum, gypsum, salt, petroleum

Environmental Issues: overgrazing; soil erosion; deforestation; desertification; wildlife populations (such as elephant, hippopotamus, giraffe, and lion) threatened because of poaching and habitat destruction

Economy

Niger is ranked as one of the world’s poorest countries. It also ranked last on the United Nations Development Fund index of human development. The economy relies on subsistence crops, livestock as well as some of the world’s largest uranium deposits. The economy has been greatly affected by the droughts, desertification, the decrease in world demand for uranium and a high population growth rate of 2.9%. Niger qualified for enhanced debt relief under the International Monetary Fund program for Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) in December 2000. This debt relief program continues to reduce Niger’s annual debt service obligations, allowing the government to spend more funds on basic health care, primary education, HIV/AIDS prevention, rural infrastructure and other programs designed to reduce poverty. The exploitation of oil, coal, gold and other mineral resources may contribute to future economic growth.


Major industries:

  • uranium mining
  • cement
  • brick
  • soap
  • textiles
  • food processing
  • chemicals
  • slaughterhouses

Agricultural products:

  • cowpeas
  • cotton
  • peanuts
  • millet
  • sorghum
  • cassava (tapioca)
  • rice
  • cattle
  • sheep
  • goats
  • camels
  • donkeys
  • horses
  • poultry

Oil production: 0 bbl/day (2003)

Railways: N/A

Road map: 10,100 km (paved: 798 km, unpaved: 9,302 km)

Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc

Communications

Telephone lines in use: 24,100 (2004)

Cellular lines in use: 148,300 (2004)

Television Stations: AM 5, FM 6, shortwave 4 (2001)

Radio Stations: AM 3, FM 2, shortwave 0 (2001)

Internet users: 24,000 (2005)

Health Issues

HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: 1.2% (2003 est.)

People living with HIV/AIDS: 70,000 (2003 est.)

More Information

For more informaiton, please visit:
http://cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ng.html