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Niger 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.


Western Africa, southeast of Algeria

Geographic coordinates:

16 00 N, 8 00 E


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


0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims:

none (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, molybdenum, gypsum, salt, petroleum

Land use:

arable land: 11.43%
permanent crops: 0.01%
other: 88.56% (2005)

Irrigated land:

730 sq km (2003)

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


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

Median age:

total: 16.5 years
male: 16.5 years
female: 16.4 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

2.92% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

50.73 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

20.91 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

-0.61 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.99 male(s)/female
total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 118.25 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 122.29 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 114.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 43.76 years
male: 43.8 years
female: 43.73 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

7.46 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

1.2% (2003 est.)

people living with HIV/AIDS:

70,000 (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

4,800 (2003 est.)

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria is a high risk in some locations
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis (2005)


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% (2003 est.)

Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of Niger
conventional short form: Niger
local long form: Republique du Niger
local short form: 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)


new constitution adopted 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

Legislative branch:

unicameral National Assembly (113 seats; note - expanded from 83 seats; members elected by popular vote for five-year terms)
elections: last held 4 December 2004 (next to be held December 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - MNSD 47, CDS 22, PNDS 25, RSD 7, RDP 6, ANDP 5, PSDN 1

Judicial branch:

State Court or Cour d'Etat; Court of Appeals or Cour d'Appel

Economy - overview:

Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking 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, a 2.9% population growth rate, and the drop in world demand for uranium 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, it was announced that Niger had received 100% multilateral debt relief from the IMF, which translates into the forgiveness of approximately $86 million USD 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 recovered somewhat in the last few years. A drought and locust infestation in 2005 led to food shortages for as many as 2.5 million Nigerians.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$10.22 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$3.427 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

3.8% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$800 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 39%
industry: 17%
services: 44% (2001)

Labor force:

70,000 salaried workers, 60% of whom are employed in the public sector (2002 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 90%
industry: 6%
services: 4%

Population below poverty line:

63% (1993 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 0.8%
highest 10%: 35.4% (1995)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

50.5 (1995)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

0.2% (2004 est.)


revenues: $320 million - including $134 million from foreign sources
expenditures: $320 million; including capital expenditures of $178 million (2002 est.)

Agriculture - products:

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


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

Industrial production growth rate:

5.1% (2003 est.)

Electricity - production:

230 million kWh (2003)

Electricity - consumption:

263.9 million kWh (2003)

Electricity - imports:

50 million kWh (2003)

Oil - consumption:

5,400 bbl/day (2003 est.)


$222 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)

Exports - commodities:

uranium ore, livestock, cowpeas, onions

Exports - partners:

France 41%, Nigeria 22.4%, Japan 15.3%, Switzerland 6%, Spain 4.1%, Ghana 4% (2004)


$588 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)

Imports - commodities:

foodstuffs, machinery, vehicles and parts, petroleum, cereals

Imports - partners:

France 14.4%, US 10.3%, French Polynesia 9.4%, Nigeria 7.8%, Cote d'Ivoire 7.5%, Japan 5.2%, China 5.1%, Thailand 4.1% (2004)

Debt - external:

$2.1 billion (2003 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:

$453.3 million (2003)

Currency (code):

Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF); note - responsible authority is the Central Bank of the West African States (BCEAO)

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Telephones - main lines in use:

24,100 (2004)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

148,300 (2004)

Telephone system:

general assessment: small system of wire, radio telephone communications, and microwave radio relay links concentrated in the southwestern area of Niger
domestic: wire, radiotelephone communications, and microwave radio relay; domestic satellite system with 3 earth stations and 1 planned
international: country code - 227; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 5, FM 6, shortwave 4 (2001)

Television broadcast stations:

3 (plus seven low-power repeaters) (2002)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

137 (2005)

Internet users:

24,000 (2005)


27 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 9
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
under 914 m: 1 (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 18
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 14
under 914 m: 2 (2005)


total: 10,100 km
paved: 798 km
unpaved: 9,302 km (1999)


300 km (the Niger, the only major river, is navigable to Gaya between September and March) (2005)

Ports and terminals:


Military branches:

Niger Armed Forces (Forces Armees Nigeriennes, FAN): Army, National Air Force (2005)

Disputes - international:

Libya claims about 25,000 sq km in a currently dormant dispute; much of Benin-Niger boundary, including tripoint with Nigeria, remains undemarcated; only Nigeria and Cameroon have heeded the Lake Chad Commission's admonition to ratify the delimitation treaty which also includes the Chad-Niger and Niger-Nigeria boundaries