According to softwareleverage, Niger is a landlocked country in West Africa. With an area of 1,267,000 km², its extension is comparable to the combined areas of Spain and Turkey. Its northern and central areas are located in the desert areas of the Sahara and the Sahel.
Evidence of the presence of human populations in Niger indicates that it has been inhabited for about 6,000 years, when it was a fertile region. From the 10th to the 19th century, the power of Niger was in its control over the great Tansaharan trade routes.
The Hausa Kingdom dominated the central area since the 13th century. This power declined since the arrival of European merchants, in the 18th century, to the coasts of West Africa from where the French began to colonize it.
During the 19th century, Niger would be part of French West Africa, until 1958. It was a colony of France until its independence in 1960. The first president was the former colonial prime minister Hamani Diori, who ruled until 1974, when he was overthrown by a military coup led by Seyni Kountché.
Following Kountché’s death in 1987, Ali Saibou directed the destinies of the country until the multi-party elections of 1993. The democratic government of Mahamane Ousmane was paralyzed by political struggles and was overthrown by a new coup in 1996. The new elections of 1999 gave the victory to Mamadou Tandja. Tandja was reelected in 2004 but a new military interference suspended the constitution and removed it from the government.
Diori was reelected in 1965 and 1970, and his government appeared exceptionally stable until the great drought of 1968 and subsequent years brought widespread social instability. In April of 1974, a military coup led by Colonel Seyni Kountché, ended Diori government. After several failed coup attempts, in 1983 Kountché formed a Legislative Council of Ministers made up entirely of civilians, chaired by Oumarou Maname.
Kountché died in 1987, he was replaced by his ally Ali Seibou who consolidated his position during the last years of the 1980s. Seibou tried in the following years, to diversify Niger’s economy and try to end its dependence on uranium mining. At the institutional level, it created the National Movement for Social Development (MNSD), which would make it the only legal party.
To get out of the economic situation that had led to the impoverishment of the entire population with food shortages in some areas of the country, the government turned to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, who, following their traditional measures of structural changes, imposed demands that in the case of administration workers, they were going to involve a wage freeze for two years, with the consequent even greater impoverishment. Unions and students reacted against these measures and strikes and demonstrations to which they joined the demand for political freedoms spread throughout the country, being brutally repressed on many occasions.
At the end of 1990, the Seibou government, yielding to popular pressure, accepted the convening of a National Conference that prepares the transition to democracy, while entrusting Amadou Cheiffou with the formation of a transitional government.
In 1993, the first free elections would be held, giving victory to the coalition of six parties that presented themselves under the name of Alianza de Fuerza para el Cambia (AFC), and which obtained 50 of the 83 seats in the new Parliament. Likewise, the MNSD would lose the country’s Presidency as its candidate was outnumbered by the votes of Mahamane Ousmane, the CDS-RAHAMA candidate (one of the six parties that were part of the AFC coalition.
The new government of Ousmane, in addition to initiating a policy that would reverse the economic situation, had to face another serious inherited problem, that of the rebellion of the Tuareg, in the north of the country, which after the droughts that had destroyed their herds they were forced to settle down without the government ever fulfilling its promises of giving them land that would allow it to survive. But neither did this government know how to respond to the Tuareg demands and the war continued until well into 1994.
In 1994, disagreements among members of the government over the crackdown on student demonstrations led to the rupture of the ruling coalition and the resignation of his post by the Prime Minister.
Months later, in 1995, a new coalition would take over the parliamentary majority that demanded the removal of the government and the formation of a new one more in line with the electoral results, a government that would be entrusted to Hama Amadou to form it.
In January 1996, this government would be overthrown by a military coup led by Colonel Ibrahim Baré Mainassara who promised to return the government to civilians.
In 1999 the first municipal elections were held that were won by the opposition, a few months before Mainassaara was assassinated at the hands of his personal guard.
In December of 1999, the power would return to civilian hands as President Mamadou Tandja and the government formed by Prime Minister Hama Amadou’s in January of 2000.
It is bordered to the north by Algeria and Libya, to the south by Nigeria and Benin, to the east by Chad and to the west by Mali and Burkina Faso. The territory consists of two well differentiated parts; one inland dominated by the Sahara desertand another on the banks of the Niger River.
It has 8 regions that includes a capital district
Its relief is formed by a set of plateaus that progressively ascend towards the north, where the volcanic massif of AÔr rises, with 1800 meters of altitude. The northern half of the country is occupied by the Sahara desert. In the south there is a transition strip between the desert and equatorial Africa. The steppe and the desert predominate in the north and the savanna and the tropical forest, in the south.. The Niger River, one of the most important on the African continent, with numerous islands along its course, forms a great valley of great fertility
The climate is tropical and dry, with temperatures ranging between 8º C and 30º C.
- Hausa 53%
- Djerma 21.2%
- Tuareg 10.4%
- Fulani (Peul) 9.8%
- Beri Beri (Kanouri-Nanga) 4.4%
- Teda 0.3%, Arabs 0.3%
- Gurma 0.3%
- Another 0.9%, on 1,200 French.
The official language is French. Local languages such as Hausa are used. Arabic is also spoken.
Sunni Muslims 90.7%, Animism 8.7%, Christian 0.5%, others 0.1%
Uranium, cement, brick, cloth and textile mining, food industry, chemicals, slaughterhouses
Beans, cotton, peanuts, millet, sorghum, cassava (tapioca), rice, cattle, sheep, goats, camels, donkeys, horses, poultry.
Minerals and Resources
Uranium, coal, iron ore, tin, phosphates, gold, oil
In 2009 it had only fixed but mobile phone lines.
It has 27 airports, 10 of which have paved runways. There are 18,949 km of roads. 20% is paved. The Niger River is navigable from September to March to Gaya for 300 km.
Art and culture
Fossil remains of the Spinosaurus have been found. Islamic architecture and decorative motifs can be seen in many of the artistic manifestations