Niger Travel Information

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Facts About Niger

Background: Not until 1993, 33 years after independence from France, did Niger hold its first free and open elections. A 1995 peace accord ended a five-year Tuareg insurgency in the north. Coups in 1996 and 1999 were followed by the creation of a National Reconciliation Council that effected a transition to civilian rule in December 1999.
Government type: republic
Capital: Niamey
Currency: 1 Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (CFAF) = 100 centimes

Geography of Niger

Location: Western Africa, southeast of Algeria
Geographic coordinates: 16 00 N, 8 00 E
Area:
total: 1.267 million sq km
land: 1,266,700 sq km
water: 300 sq km
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
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: desert; mostly hot, dry, dusty; tropical in extreme south
Terrain: 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 Greboun 1,944 m
Natural resources: uranium, coal, iron ore, tin, phosphates, gold, petroleum
Land use:
arable land: 3%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 7%
forests and woodland: 2%
other: 88% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 660 sq km (1993 est.)
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

Environment - international agreements:
party to:  Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Law of the Sea
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.

People of Niger

The largest ethnic groups in Niger are the Hausa, who also constitute the major ethnic group in northern Nigeria, and the Djerma-Songhai, who also are found in parts of Mali. Both groups are sedentary farmers who live in the arable, southern tier. The remainder of the Nigerien people are nomadic or seminomadic livestock-raising peoples--Fulani, Tuareg, Kanouri, and Toubou. With rapidly growing populations and the consequent competition for meager natural resources, lifestyles of these two types of peoples have come increasingly into conflict in Niger in recent years.

Niger's high infant mortality rate is comparable to levels recorded in neighboring countries. However, the child mortality rate (deaths among children between the ages of 1 and 4) is exceptionally high (274 per 1,000) due to generally poor health conditions and inadequate nutrition for most of the country's children. Niger's very high fertility rate (7.4%), nonetheless, means that nearly half (49%) of the Nigerien population is under age 15. School attendance is very low (34%), including 38% of males and only 27% of females. Additional education occurs through Koranic schools.

Population: 11,665,937 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  47.97%
15-64 years:  49.75% 
65 years and over:  2.28%
Population growth rate: 2.72% 
Birth rate: 50.68 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 22.71 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: -0.73 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 123.57 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  41.59 years
male:  41.74 years
female:  41.44 years
Total fertility rate: 7.4 children born/woman 
Nationality:
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
Religions: Muslim 80%, remainder indigenous beliefs and Christians
Languages: French (official), Hausa, Djerma
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 13.6%
male: 20.9%
female: 6.6% (1995 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Niger > Map Economy History