This detailed astronaut photograph highlights sand dunes in the Fachi-Bilma erg (sand sea) in the central-eastern part of the Tenere Desert. The Tenere occupies much of southeastern Niger and is considered to be part of the larger Sahara Desert, which stretches across northern Africa. Much of the Sahara is comprised of ergs; with an area of approximately 150,000 sq km (57,915 sq mi), the Fachi-Bilma is one of the larger sand seas.

Two major types of dunes are visible in the image. Large, roughly north-south oriented transverse dunes - known as zibar dunes - fill the image frame. This type of dune tends to form at roughly right angles to the dominant, northeasterly winds. The dune crests are marked in this image by darker, steeper sand accumulations that cast shadows. The lighter-toned zones between are lower, interdune "flats." The large dunes appear to be highly symmetrical with regard to their crests, which are composed of coarser sediments. A second set of thin linear dunes oriented at roughly right angles to the zibar dunes are formed from finer grains in the same wind field as the larger zibars. Image courtesy of NASA.
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Introduction

Background

Present-day Niger originated from the nomadic peoples of the Saharan north and the agriculturalists of the south. The Taureg kingdom of Takedda was one of the largest kingdoms in the north and played a prominent role in regional trade in the 14th century. In the south, the primary ethnic groups were the Songhai-Zarma in the west, the Hausa in the center, and the Kanuri in the east. When European colonizers arrived in the 19th century, the region was an assemblage of disparate local kingdoms.

In the late 19th century, the British and French agreed to partition the middle regions of the Niger River, and France began its conquest of what would become the colony of Niger.  France experienced determined local resistance - particularly during the Tuareg uprising (1916-1917) - but established a colonial administration in 1922.

After achieving independence from France in 1960, Niger experienced single-party or military rule until 1991 when political pressure forced General Ali SAIBOU to allow multiparty elections. Political infighting and democratic backsliding led to coups in 1996 and 1999. In December of that year, military officers restored democratic rule and held elections that brought Mamadou TANDJA to power. TANDJA was reelected in 2004 and spearheaded a 2009 constitutional amendment allowing him to extend his presidential term. In February 2010, military officers led another coup that deposed TANDJA. ISSOUFOU Mahamadou was elected in April 2011 and reelected in early 2016. In February 2021, BAZOUM Mohammed won the presidential election, marking Niger’s first transition from one democratically elected president to another.

Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world with minimal government services and insufficient funds to develop its resource base. It is ranked last in the world on the UN Development Programme's Human Development Index. The largely agrarian and subsistence-based economy is frequently disrupted by extended droughts common to the Sahel region of Africa. The Nigerien Government continues its attempts to diversify the economy through increased oil production and mining projects. In addition, Niger is facing increased security concerns on its borders from various external threats including insecurity in Libya, spillover from the conflict and terrorism in Mali, and violent extremism in northeastern Nigeria.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

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

country comparison to the world: 23

Area - comparative

slightly less than twice the size of Texas

Area comparison map
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 5,834 km

border countries (7): Algeria 951 km; Benin 277 km; Burkina Faso 622 km; Chad 1,196 km; Libya 342 km; Mali 838 km; Nigeria 1,608 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

highest point: Idoukal-n-Taghes 2,022 m

lowest point: Niger River 200 m

mean elevation: 474 m

Natural resources

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

Land use

agricultural land: 35.1% (2018 est.)

arable land: 12.3% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.1% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 22.7% (2018 est.)

forest: 1% (2018 est.)

other: 63.9% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

1,000 sq km (2012)

Major lakes (area sq km)

Fresh water lake(s): Lake Chad (endorheic lake shared with Chad, Nigeria, and Cameroon) - 10,360-25,900 sq km
note - area varies by season and year to year

Major rivers (by length in km)

Niger (shared with Guinea [s], Mali, Benin, and Nigeria [m]) - 4,200 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Niger (2,261,741 sq km)
Internal (endorheic basin) drainage: Lake Chad (2,497,738 sq km)

Major aquifers

Lake Chad Basin, Lullemeden-Irhazer Basin, Murzuk-Djado Basin

Population distribution

majority of the populace is located in the southernmost extreme of the country along the border with Nigeria and Benin as shown in this population distribution map

Natural hazards

recurring droughts

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

Map description

Niger map showing major population centers as well as parts of surrounding countries.

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Nigerien(s)

adjective: Nigerien

Ethnic groups

Hausa 53.1%, Zarma/Songhai 21.2%, Tuareg 11%, Fulani (Peuhl) 6.5%, Kanuri 5.9%, Gurma 0.8%, Arab 0.4%, Tubu 0.4%, other/unavailable 0.9% (2006 est.)

Languages

French (official), Hausa, Djerma

Religions

Muslim 99.3%, Christian 0.3%, animist 0.2%, none 0.1% (2012 est.)

Demographic profile

Niger has the highest total fertility rate (TFR) of any country in the world, averaging close to 7 children per woman in 2016. A slight decline in fertility over the last few decades has stalled. This leveling off of the high fertility rate is in large part a product of the continued desire for large families. In Niger, the TFR is lower than the desired fertility rate, which makes it unlikely that contraceptive use will increase. The high TFR sustains rapid population growth and a large youth population – almost 70% of the populace is under the age of 25. Gender inequality, including a lack of educational opportunities for women and early marriage and childbirth, also contributes to high population growth.

Because of large family sizes, children are inheriting smaller and smaller parcels of land. The dependence of most Nigeriens on subsistence farming on increasingly small landholdings, coupled with declining rainfall and the resultant shrinkage of arable land, are all preventing food production from keeping up with population growth.

For more than half a century, Niger's lack of economic development has led to steady net outmigration. In the 1960s, Nigeriens mainly migrated to coastal West African countries to work on a seasonal basis. Some headed to Libya and Algeria in the 1970s to work in the booming oil industry until its decline in the 1980s. Since the 1990s, the principal destinations for Nigerien labor migrants have been West African countries, especially Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire, while emigration to Europe and North America has remained modest. During the same period, Niger’s desert trade route town Agadez became a hub for West African and other Sub-Saharan migrants crossing the Sahara to North Africa and sometimes onward to Europe.

More than 60,000 Malian refugees have fled to Niger since violence between Malian government troops and armed rebels began in early 2012. Ongoing attacks by the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency, dating to 2013 in northern Nigeria and February 2015 in southeastern Niger, have pushed tens of thousands of Nigerian refugees and Nigerien returnees across the border to Niger and to displace thousands of locals in Niger’s already impoverished Diffa region.

Age structure

0-14 years: 50.58% (male 5,805,102/female 5,713,815)

15-24 years: 19.99% (male 2,246,670/female 2,306,285)

25-54 years: 23.57% (male 2,582,123/female 2,784,464)

55-64 years: 3.17% (male 357,832/female 364,774)

65 years and over: 2.68% (2020 est.) (male 293,430/female 317,866)

2022 population pyramid
2022 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 109.5

youth dependency ratio: 104.1

elderly dependency ratio: 5.4

potential support ratio: 18.4 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 14.8 years

male: 14.5 years

female: 15.1 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 227

Birth rate

47.08 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 1

Death rate

9.87 deaths/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 37

Net migration rate

-0.64 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 129

Population distribution

majority of the populace is located in the southernmost extreme of the country along the border with Nigeria and Benin as shown in this population distribution map

Urbanization

urban population: 16.9% of total population (2022)

rate of urbanization: 4.72% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

1.384 million NIAMEY (capital) (2022)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 0.97 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.92 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female

total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2022 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

18.5 years (2012 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 20-49

Maternal mortality ratio

509 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 20

Infant mortality rate

total: 66.81 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 71.73 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 61.75 deaths/1,000 live births (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 6

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 60.09 years

male: 58.55 years

female: 61.68 years (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 218

Total fertility rate

6.82 children born/woman (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 1

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 95.8% of population

rural: 63.1% of population

total: 68.6% of population

unimproved: urban: 4.2% of population

rural: 36.9% of population

total: 31.4% of population (2020 est.)

Physicians density

0.04 physicians/1,000 population (2020)

Hospital bed density

0.4 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 81.9% of population

rural: 13.5% of population

total: 24.8% of population

unimproved: urban: 18.1% of population

rural: 86.5% of population

total: 75.2% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

respiratory diseases: meningococcal meningitis

note: on 21 March 2022, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Travel Alert for polio in Africa; Niger is currently considered a high risk to travelers for circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV); vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) is a strain of the weakened poliovirus that was initially included in oral polio vaccine (OPV) and that has changed over time and behaves more like the wild or naturally occurring virus; this means it can be spread more easily to people who are unvaccinated against polio and who come in contact with the stool or respiratory secretions, such as from a sneeze, of an “infected” person who received oral polio vaccine; the CDC recommends that before any international travel, anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series; before travel to any high-risk destination, the CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 0.11 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0.04 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.01 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.06 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 177

Tobacco use

total: 7.4% (2020 est.)

male: 13.7% (2020 est.)

female: 1.1% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 154

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 35.1%

male: 43.6%

female: 26.7% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 6 years

male: 7 years

female: 6 years (2017)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 16.6%

male: 16.1%

female: 17.5% (2017 est.)

Environment

Environment - current issues

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

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 70.8 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 2.02 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 22.99 megatons (2020 est.)

Climate

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

Land use

agricultural land: 35.1% (2018 est.)

arable land: 12.3% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.1% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 22.7% (2018 est.)

forest: 1% (2018 est.)

other: 63.9% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 16.9% of total population (2022)

rate of urbanization: 4.72% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0.03% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 38

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

respiratory diseases: meningococcal meningitis

note: on 21 March 2022, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Travel Alert for polio in Africa; Niger is currently considered a high risk to travelers for circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV); vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) is a strain of the weakened poliovirus that was initially included in oral polio vaccine (OPV) and that has changed over time and behaves more like the wild or naturally occurring virus; this means it can be spread more easily to people who are unvaccinated against polio and who come in contact with the stool or respiratory secretions, such as from a sneeze, of an “infected” person who received oral polio vaccine; the CDC recommends that before any international travel, anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series; before travel to any high-risk destination, the CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine

Food insecurity

exceptional shortfall in aggregate food production/supplies: due to internal conflict and shortfall in cereal production - according to the latest analysis, about 4.4 million people are estimated to need humanitarian food assistance between June and August 2022, reflecting worsening conflicts and security conditions, and unfavorable weather that resulted in a sharp fall in cereal production in 2021; additionally, higher year-on-year prices of food continue to constrain access to food, aggravating conditions (2022)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 1,865,646 tons (1993 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 74,626 tons (2005 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 4% (2005 est.)

Major lakes (area sq km)

Fresh water lake(s): Lake Chad (endorheic lake shared with Chad, Nigeria, and Cameroon) - 10,360-25,900 sq km
note - area varies by season and year to year

Major rivers (by length in km)

Niger (shared with Guinea [s], Mali, Benin, and Nigeria [m]) - 4,200 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Niger (2,261,741 sq km)
Internal (endorheic basin) drainage: Lake Chad (2,497,738 sq km)

Major aquifers

Lake Chad Basin, Lullemeden-Irhazer Basin, Murzuk-Djado Basin

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 178.9 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 36 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 1.536 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

34.05 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Niger

conventional short form: Niger

local long form: Republique du Niger

local short form: Niger

etymology: named for the Niger River that passes through the southwest of the country; from a native term "Ni Gir" meaning "River Gir"

note: pronounced nee-zhair

Government type

semi-presidential republic

Capital

name: Niamey

geographic coordinates: 13 31 N, 2 07 E

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: according to tradition, the site was originally a fishing village named after a prominent local tree referred to as "nia niam"

Administrative divisions

7 regions (regions, singular - region) and 1 capital district* (communaute urbaine); Agadez, Diffa, Dosso, Maradi, Niamey*, Tahoua, Tillaberi, Zinder

Independence

3 August 1960 (from France)

National holiday

Republic Day, 18 December (1958); note - commemorates the founding of the Republic of Niger which predated independence from France in 1960

Constitution

history: several previous; passed by referendum 31 October 2010, entered into force 25 November 2010

amendments: proposed by the president of the republic or by the National Assembly; consideration of amendments requires at least three-fourths majority vote by the Assembly; passage requires at least four-fifths majority vote; if disapproved, the proposed amendment is dropped or submitted to a referendum; constitutional articles on the form of government, the multiparty system, the separation of state and religion, disqualification of Assembly members, amendment procedures, and amnesty of participants in the 2010 coup cannot be amended; amended 2011, 2017

Legal system

mixed legal system of civil law, based on French civil law, Islamic law, and customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Niger

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: unknown

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Mohamed BAZOUM (since 2 April 2021)

head of government: Prime Minister Ouhoumoudou MAHAMADOU (since 3 April 2021)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president

elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 27 December 2020 with a runoff held on 21 February 2021 (next to be held in 2025); prime minister appointed by the president, authorized by the National Assembly

election results: 2020/2021: percent of vote in first round - Mohamed BAZOUM (PNDS-Tarrayya) 39.3%, Mahamane OUSMANE (MODEN/FA Lumana Africa) 17%, Seini OUMAROU (MNSD-Nassara) 9%, Albade ABOUDA (MPR-Jamhuriya) 7.1%, other 27.6%; percent of vote in second round - Mohamed BAZOUM (PNDS-Tarrayya) 55.7%, Mahamane OUSMANE (RDR Tchanji) 44.3%

2016: ISSOUFOU Mahamadou reelected president in second round; percent of vote in first round - ISSOUFOU Mahamadou (PNDS-Tarrayya) 48.6%, Hama AMADOU (MODEN/FA Lumana Africa) 17.8%, Seini OUMAROU (MNSD-Nassara) 11.3%, other 22.3%; percent of vote in second round - ISSOUFOU Mahamadou 92%, Hama AMADOU 8%

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (171 statutory seats - 166 currently; 158 members directly elected from 8 multi-member constituencies in 7 regions and Niamey by party-list proportional representation, 8 reserved for minorities elected in special single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote, 5 seats reserved for Nigeriens living abroad - l seat per continent - elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 27 December 2020 (next scheduled in December 2025)

election results: percent of vote by party - percent of vote by party - PNDS-Tarrayya 37.04%, MODEN/FA Lumana 8.71%, MPR-Jamhuriya 7.59%, MNSD-Nassara 6.77%,  RDR-Tchanji 4.41%, CPR-Inganci 4.15%, MPN-Kishin Kassa 3.97%, PJP Generation Dubara 2.88%, ANDP Zaman Lahya 2.46%, RPP Farrilla 2.10%, ARD Adaltchi-Mutuntchi 1.74%, AMEN AMIN 1.43%, MDEN Falala 1.42%, other 15.33%; seats by party - PNDS-Tarrayya 79, MODEN/FA Lumana 19, MPR-Jamhuriya 14, MNSD-Nassara 13, CPR-Inganci 8, MPN-Kishin Kassa 6, ANDP-Zaman Lahiya 3, RPP Farrilla 2, PJP Generation Dubara 2, ARD Adaltchi-Mutuntchi 2, AMEN AMIN 2, other 16; composition - men 123, women 43, percent of women 25.9%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Constitutional Court (consists of 7 judges); High Court of Justice (consists of 7 members)

judge selection and term of office: Constitutional Court judges nominated/elected - 1 by the president of the Republic, 1 by the president of the National Assembly, 2 by peer judges, 2 by peer lawyers, 1 law professor by peers, and 1 from within Nigerien society; all appointed by the president; judges serve 6-year nonrenewable terms with one-third of membership renewed every 2 years; High Judicial Court members selected from among the legislature and judiciary; members serve 5-year terms

subordinate courts: Court of Cassation; Council of State; Court of Finances; various specialized tribunals and customary courts

Political parties and leaders

Alliance for Democracy and the Republic
Alliance for Democratic Renewal or ARD-Adaltchi-Mutuntchi [Laouan MAGAGI] 
Alliance of Movements for the Emergence of Niger or AMEN AMIN [Omar Hamidou TCHIANA]
Congress for the Republic or CPR-Inganci [Maradi Kassoum MOCTAR]
Democratic Alternation for Equity in Niger
Democratic and Republican Renewal-RDR-Tchanji [Mahamane OUSMANE]
Democratic Movement for the Emergence of Niger
National Movement for the Development of Society-Nassara or MNSD-Nassara [Seini OUMAROU]
Nigerien Alliance for Democracy and Progress-Zaman Lahiya or ANDP-Zaman Lahiya [Moussa Hassane BARAZE]
Nigerien Democratic Movement for an African Federation or MODEN/FA Lumana [Hama AMADOU]
Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism or PNDS-Tarrayya [Mahamadou ISSOUFOU]
Nigerien Patriotic Movement or MPN-Kishin Kassa [Ibrahim YACOUBA]
Nigerien Rally for Democracy and Peace
Patriotic Movement for the Republic or MPR-Jamhuriya [Albade ABOUBA]
Peace, Justice, Progress–Generation Doubara
Rally for Democracy and Progress-Jama'a or RDP-Jama'a [Hamid ALGABID]
Rally for Peace and Progress
Social Democratic Rally or RSD-Gaskiyya [Amadou CHEIFFOU]
Social Democratic Party or PSD-Bassira [Sanoussi MAREINI]

note: only parties with seats in the National Assembly included



note: the SPLM and SPLM-DC are banned political parties

International organization participation

ACP, AfDB, AU, CD, ECOWAS, EITI (compliant country), Entente, FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LCBC, MIGA, MINUSMA, MNJTF, MONUSCO, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WADB (regional), WAEMU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Mamadou Kiari LIMAN-TINGUIRI (since 19 April 2022)

chancery: 2204 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 483-4224

FAX: [1] (202) 483-3169

email address and website:
communication@embassyofniger.org

http://www.embassyofniger.org/

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant), Chargé d’Affaires, Susan N’GARNIM (since 23 August 2021)

embassy: BP 11201, Niamey

mailing address: 2420 Niamey Place, Washington DC  20521-2420

telephone: [227] 20-72-26-61

FAX: [227] 20-73-55-60

email address and website:
consulateniamey@state.gov

https://ne.usembassy.gov/

Flag description

three equal horizontal bands of orange (top), white, and green with a small orange disk centered in the white band; the orange band denotes the drier northern regions of the Sahara; white stands for purity and innocence; green symbolizes hope and the fertile and productive southern and western areas, as well as the Niger River; the orange disc represents the sun and the sacrifices made by the people

note: similar to the flag of India, which has a blue spoked wheel centered in the white band

National symbol(s)

zebu; national colors: orange, white, green

National anthem

name: "La Nigerienne" (The Nigerien)

lyrics/music: Maurice Albert THIRIET/Robert JACQUET and Nicolas Abel Francois FRIONNET

note: adopted 1961

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 3 (1 cultural, 2 natural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (n); W-Arly-Pendjari Complex (n); Historic Agadez (c)

Economy

Economic 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 approximately 40% of GDP and provides livelihood for over 80% of the population. The UN ranked Niger as the second least developed country in the world in 2016 due to multiple factors such as food insecurity, lack of industry, high population growth, a weak educational sector, and few prospects for work outside of subsistence farming and herding.

 

Since 2011 public debt has increased due to efforts to scale-up public investment, particularly that related to infrastructure, as well as due to increased security spending. The government relies on foreign donor resources for a large portion of its fiscal budget. The economy in recent years has been hurt by terrorist activity near its uranium mines and by instability in Mali and in the Diffa region of the country; concerns about security have resulted in increased support from regional and international partners on defense. Low uranium prices, demographics, and security expenditures may continue to put pressure on the government’s finances.

 

The Government of Niger plans to exploit oil, gold, coal, and other mineral resources to sustain future growth. Although Niger has sizable reserves of oil, the prolonged drop in oil prices has reduced profitability. Food insecurity and drought remain perennial problems for Niger, and the government plans to invest more in irrigation. Niger’s three-year $131 million IMF Extended Credit Facility (ECF) agreement for the years 2012-15 was extended until the end of 2016. In February 2017, the IMF approved a new 3-year $134 million ECF. In June 2017, The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) granted Niger $1 billion over three years for IDA18, a program to boost the country’s development and alleviate poverty. A $437 million Millennium Challenge Account compact for Niger, commencing in FY18, will focus on large-scale irrigation infrastructure development and community-based, climate-resilient agriculture, while promoting sustainable increases in agricultural productivity and sales.

 

Formal private sector investment needed for economic diversification and growth remains a challenge, given the country’s limited domestic markets, access to credit, and competitiveness. Although President ISSOUFOU is courting foreign investors, including those from the US, as of April 2017, there were no US firms operating in Niger. In November 2017, the National Assembly passed the 2018 Finance Law that was geared towards raising government revenues and moving away from international support.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$28.97 billion (2020 est.)

$28.54 billion (2019 est.)

$26.95 billion (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 138

Real GDP growth rate

4.9% (2017 est.)

4.9% (2016 est.)

4.3% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 51

Real GDP per capita

$1,200 (2020 est.)

$1,200 (2019 est.)

$1,200 (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 225

GDP (official exchange rate)

$12.926 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

-2.5% (2019 est.)

6.3% (2018 est.)

2.3% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 2

Credit ratings

Moody's rating: B3 (2019)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 41.6% (2017 est.)

industry: 19.5% (2017 est.)

services: 38.7% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 70.2% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 9.4% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 38.6% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 16.4% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -34.6% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

millet, cow peas, sorghum, onions, milk, groundnuts, cassava, cabbages, goat milk, fruit

Industries

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

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 79.2%

industry: 3.3%

services: 17.5% (2012 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 16.6%

male: 16.1%

female: 17.5% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 97

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 3.2%

highest 10%: 26.8% (2014)

Budget

revenues: 1.757 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 2.171 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

45.3% of GDP (2017 est.)

45.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 115

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$1.16 billion (2017 est.)

-$1.181 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 150

Exports

$1.39 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$1.45 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 167

Exports - partners

United Arab Emirates 54%, China 25%, France 7%, Pakistan 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

gold, sesame seeds, uranium, natural gas, refined petroleum (2019)

Imports

$3.4 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$3.37 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 154

Imports - partners

China 19%, France 9%, United Arab Emirates 7%, Cote d'Ivoire 6%, India 6%, Nigeria 5%, Togo 5%, Turkey 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

rice, packaged medicines, palm oil, cars, cement (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$1.314 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$1.186 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 126

Debt - external

$3.728 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$2.926 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 140

Exchange rates

Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar -

605.3 (2017 est.)

593.01 (2016 est.)

593.01 (2015 est.)

591.45 (2014 est.)

494.42 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 14% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 71% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 2% (2019)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 324,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 1,325,420,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 1.057 billion kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 313 million kWh (2019 est.)

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 94.1% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 5.9% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Coal

production: 224,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 224,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 6 million metric tons (2019 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 8,000 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 13,800 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 barrels/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 barrels/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 150 million barrels (2021 est.)

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

2.374 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 499,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 1.875 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 155

Communications

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 14.239 million (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 59 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 71

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Niger is one of the largest countries in West Africa but also one of the poorest in the world; as with many African markets, a lack of fixed telecoms infrastructure has led to growth in mobile services; Niger’s mobile penetration is modest compared to other countries in the region, while fixed broadband penetration is negligible; recent international investment to complete the Trans-Saharan Dorsal optical fibre (SDR) network has extended the reach of fiber infrastructure in the country, and also increased international capacity; new cables linking the country with Chad and Burkina Faso have extended Niger’s connectivity with international cable infrastructure; following years of financial difficulties, the state-owned fixed line operator, Sonitel, was merged with its wholly owned mobile unit, SahelCom, in late 2016 to form a new entity, Niger Telecom; the merged company secured a global telecom license in November 2017 and is aiming to develop greater efficiency through sharing resources and infrastructure; the economic difficulties in the country in recent years, as well as a regulatory spat with authorities which saw its offices being shut down, encouraged Orange Group to sell its local business to its minority shareholder partner; the unit, once operating as Orange Niger, was rebranded as Zamani Telecom in December 2020; at the same time, the company secured funds to embark on a large-scale network upgrade program; Niger also hosts foreign investors Airtel, which leads the market, and Moov Africa, formerly Maroc Telecom. (2022)

domestic: fixed-line less than 1 per 100 persons and mobile-cellular teledensity at nearly 41 per 100 persons; a rapidly increasing cellular subscribership base; small system of wire, radio telephone communications, and microwave radio relay links concentrated in southwestern Niger; domestic satellite system with 3 earth stations and 1 planned (2019)

international: country code - 227; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced a downturn, particularly in mobile device production; progress towards 5G implementation has resumed, as well as upgrades to infrastructure; consumer spending on telecom services has increased due to the surge in demand for capacity and bandwidth; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home is still evident, and the spike in this area has seen growth opportunities for development of new tools and increased services

Broadcast media

state-run TV station; 3 private TV stations provide a mix of local and foreign programming; state-run radio has only radio station with national coverage; about 30 private radio stations operate locally; as many as 100 community radio stations broadcast; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are available

Internet users

total: 2,331,072 (2019 est.)

percent of population: 10% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 124

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 12,000 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 0.1 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 178

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 2 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 3

Airports - with paved runways

total: 10

2,438 to 3,047 m: 3

1,524 to 2,437 m: 6

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2021)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 20

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 15

under 914 m: 2 (2021)

Heliports

1 (2021)

Pipelines

464 km oil

Roadways

total: 18,949 km (2010)

paved: 3,912 km (2010)

unpaved: 15,037 km (2010)

country comparison to the world: 116

Waterways

300 km (2012) (the Niger, the only major river, is navigable to Gaya between September and March)

country comparison to the world: 102

Merchant marine

total: 1

by type: general cargo 1 (2021)

country comparison to the world: 184

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Nigerien Armed Forces (Forces Armees Nigeriennes, FAN): Army, Nigerien Air Force, Niger Gendarmerie (GN); Ministry of Interior: Niger National Guard (GNN; aka Republican Guard), National Police (2022)

note 1: the Gendarmerie has primary responsibility for rural security; the National Guard is responsible for domestic security and the protection of high-level officials and government buildings

note 2: the National Police includes the Directorate of Territorial Surveillance, which is charged with border management

Military expenditures

1.8% of GDP (2021 est.)

2% of GDP (2020 est.)

1.7% of GDP (2019 est.) (approximately $260 million)

1.9% of GDP (2018 est.) (approximately $270 million)

2% of GDP (2017 est.) (approximately $270 million)

country comparison to the world: 70

Military and security service personnel strengths

information varies; approximately 12,000 active FAN troops (8,000 Army; 200 Air Force; 4,000 Gendarmerie); approximately 3,000 National Guard (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the FAN's inventory consists of a wide variety of older weapons; since 2010, the FAN has received small amounts of mostly second-hand equipment and donations from several countries with the US as the top provider (2022)

Military service age and obligation

has conscription, although it is reportedly not always enforced; 18 is the legal minimum age for compulsory or voluntary military service; enlistees must be Nigerien citizens and unmarried; 2-year service term; women may serve in health care (2022)

Military deployments

875 Mali (MINUSMA) (May 2022)

note 1: Niger is part of a four (formerly five)-nation anti-jihadist task force known as the G5 (now G4) Sahel Group, set up in 2014 with Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali (withdrew in 2022), and Mauritania; it has committed 1,100 troops and 200 gendarmes to the force; as of 2022, defense forces from each of the participating states were allowed to pursue terrorist fighters up to 100 km into neighboring countries; the force is backed by France, the UN, and the US

note 2: Niger also has about 1,000 troops committed to the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) against Boko Haram and other terrorist groups operating in the general area of the Lake Chad Basin and along Nigeria's northeast border; national MNJTF troop contingents are deployed within their own country territories, although cross‐border operations are conducted periodically

Military - note

as of 2022, the FAN was conducting counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations against Islamic militants on two fronts; in the Diffa region, the Nigeria-based Boko Haram terrorist group has conducted dozens of attacks on security forces, army bases, and civilians; on Niger’s western border with Mali, the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham-West Africa (ISIS-WA) has conducted numerous attacks on security personnel; a series of ISIS-WA attacks on FAN forces near the Malian border in December of 2019 and January of 2020 resulted in the deaths of more than 170 soldiers; terrorist attacks continued into 2022 (2022)

Terrorism

Terrorist group(s)

Boko Haram; Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham in the Greater Sahara (ISIS-GS); Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham – West Africa (ISIS-WA); Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM); al-Mulathamun Battalion (al-Mourabitoun)

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Niger-Benin-Nigeria: location of Niger-Benin-Nigeria tripoint is unresolved

Niger-Burkina Faso: the dispute with Burkina Faso was referred to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2010; the ICJ ruled in 2013 that 786 sq km should go to Burkina Faso and 277 sq km to Niger; the ruling was implemented in 2015 and 2016, with Burkina Faso gaining 14 towns and Niger 4

Niger-Cameroon-Nigeria: 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

Niger-Libya: Libya claims about 25,000 sq km in a currently dormant dispute in the Tummo region

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 187,134 (Nigeria), 64,185 (Mali) (refugees and asylum seekers) (2022)

IDPs: 347,648 (includes the regions of Diffa, Tillaberi, and Tahoua; 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; Boko Haram attacks in southern Niger, 2015) (2022)

Illicit drugs

a transit point for illicit drugs trafficked through the Sahara; drugs from South America, particularly cocaine, heroin, cannabis products, and synthetic drugs, transit en route to European and Middle Eastern markets; synthetic opioid tramadol is shipped from Nigeria through Niger to other African countries; hashish from Morocco is trafficked to Libya, Egypt, Europe, and the Middle East; traffickers are formalized networks of Arab, Tuareg, and Toubou transportation groups