oa Africa Insight - Country profiles - Niger

Volume 16, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-2804



Niger is not only the largest state in west Africa, but it also has one of the hottest climates in the world (47�- 114�F) and until the 1970s was regarded as one of the world's least endowed countries. Historically one of French Africa's most undeveloped Muslim territories, it gained independence on 3 August 1960. The relatively small size of Niger's population is largely explained by the country's aridity and remoteness, being one of only three states in west Africa that is land-locked. In the south the country includes a thin fertile strip bordering the Niger River - an area comprising roughly 120000 km2 or some 10 per cent of the total territory. About two-thirds of Niger comprises a segment of the Sahara Desert; the north is sparsely populated (parts are uninhabitable) while the arid transitional centre of the country supports nomadic pastoralists raising cattle.

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