Niger officially the Republic of Niger is a landlocked country in Western Africa, named after the Niger River. It borders Nigeria and Benin to the south, Burkina Faso and Mali to the west, Algeria and Libya to the north and Chad to the east.

Background History

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 counter coup by military officers who restored democratic rule and held elections that brought Mamadou Tandja to power in December of that year. Tandja was reelected in 2004 and in 2009 spearheaded a constitutional amendment that would allow him to extend his term as president. In February 2010, a military coup deposed Tandja, immediately suspended the constitution, and dissolved the Cabinet. Issoufou Mahamadou emerged victorious from a crowded field in the election following the coup and was inaugurated in April 2011. 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. The Nigerien Movement for Justice, a predominantly ethnic Tuareg rebel group, emerged in February 2007, and attacked several military targets in Niger's northern region throughout 2007 and 2008. Successful government offensives in 2009 ended the rebellion. Niger is facing increased security concerns on its borders from various external threats including insecurity in Libya, spillover from the conflict in Mali, and violent extremism in northeastern Nigeria.



Country Name:

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


  • name: Niamey
  • geographic coordinates: 13 31 N, 2 07 E
  • time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)


  • 3 August 1960 (from France)

Government Type:

  • republic

Executive Branch:

  • chief of state: President Issoufou Mahamadou (since 7 April 2011)
  • head of government: Prime Minister Brigi Rafini (since 7 April 2011)
  • cabinet: 37-member Cabinet appointed by the president
  • elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term)

Legislative Branch:

  • structure: unicameral National Assembly

Judicial Branch:

  • structure: Constitutional Court; High Court of Justice; Council of State


People & Society


  • 17,466,172 (global rank: 63)
  • growth rate: 3.28% (global rank: 7)


  • noun: Nigerien(s)
  • adjective: Nigerien

Major Cities:

  • Niamey (capital): 1.297 million

Ethnic Groups:

  • Haoussa 55.4%, Djerma Sonrai 21%, Tuareg 9.3%, Peuhl 8.5%, Kanouri Manga 4.7%, other 1.2%


  • Muslim 80%, other (includes indigenous beliefs and Christian) 20%


  • French (official), Hausa, Djerma

Life Expectancy at Birth:

  • total population: 54.74 years (global rank: 208)
  • male: 53.54 years
  • female: 55.97 years

Infant Mortality:

  • total population: 86.27 deaths/1,000 live births (global rank: 7)
  • male: 90.86 deaths/1,000 live births
  • female: 81.53 deaths/1,000 live births


  • adult prevalence rate: 0.5% (2012 est.) (global rank: 71)
  • people living with AIDS: 46,300 (2012 est.) (global rank: 62)


  • definition: age 15 and over can read and write
  • total population: 28.7%
  • male: 42.9%
  • female: 15.1%



Overview: Niger is a landlocked, Sub-Saharan nation, whose economy centers on subsistence crops, livestock, and some of the world's largest uranium deposits. Agriculture contributes about one-third of GDP and provides livelihood for about nine-tenths of the population. Drought, desertification, and strong population growth 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. Debt relief has significantly reduced 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. Nearly half of the government's budget is derived from foreign donor resources. The economy in recent years has been hurt by terrorist activity and kidnappings near its uranium mines and instability in Mali. Future growth may be sustained by exploitation of oil, gold, coal, and other mineral resources. Niger has sizable reserves of oil and oil production, which began in 2012, along with refining, and exports are expected to grow through 2016. However, oil revenues have fallen well short of predictions, mainly because of logistical challenges. Food insecurity and drought remain perennial problems for Niger. The mining sector may be affected by the government’s attempt to renegotiate extraction rights contracts.

Gross Domestic Product:

  • GDP (PPP): $13.98 billion (global rank: 147)
  • GDP per capita (PPP): $800 (global rank: 222)
  • real growth rate: 6.2% (global rank: 34)
  • composition by sector: agriculture: 35.2%, industry: 14.2%, services: 50.6%


  • currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine Franc (XOF)
  • exchange rate (per US Dollar): 500.7


  • population below poverty line: 63%
  • unemployment rate: NA

Agricultural 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

Exports Commodities:

  • uranium ore, livestock, cowpeas, onions

Imports Commodities:

  • foodstuffs, machinery, vehicles and parts, petroleum, cereals






  • Western Africa, southeast of Algeria


  • total: 1.267 million sq km (global rank: 22)
  • land: 1,266,700 sq km
  • water: 300 sq km
  • comparative: slightly less than twice the size of Texas


  • desert; mostly hot, dry, dusty; tropical in extreme south

Land Use:

  • arable land: 11.79%
  • permanent crops: 0.05%
  • other: 88.16%

Natural Resources:

  • uranium, coal, iron ore, tin, phosphates, gold, molybdenum, gypsum, salt, petroleum

Current Environmental Issues:

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




Transnational Issues

  • international disputes: Libya claims about 25,000 sq km in a currently dormant dispute in the Tommo region; location of Benin-Niger-Nigeria tripoint is unresolved; only Nigeria and Cameroon have heeded the Lake Chad Commission's admonition to ratify the delimitation treaty that also includes the Chad-Niger and Niger-Nigeria boundaries; the dispute with Burkina Faso was referred to the ICJ in 2010
  • refugees (country of origin): 49,770 (Mali); 10,044 (Nigeria)
  •  internally displaced persons: undetermined (unknown how many of the 11,000 people displaced by clashes between government forces and the Tuareg militant group, Niger Movement for Justice, in 2007 are still displaced; inter-communal violence)

Published: Thursday, April 9, 2015

Niger officially the Republic of Niger is a landlocked country in Western Africa, named after the Niger River. It borders Nigeria and Benin to the south, Burkina Faso and Mali to the west, Algeria and Libya to the north and Chad to the east.