macrohistory & world report

Republic of Niger

Map of Niger

Niger (capital Niamey) and neighboring states

World Factbook as of November 2014: "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."

Food production has increased since 1961 but the population has increased faster. Per capita food production in 1998 was only 52 percent what it had been in 1961.

An April 2008 article by the BBC states that since the 1980s, Africa's third largest river, the Niger, has had a 55 percent fall in its flow, "due mainly to climate change, industrial waste and problems caused by population growth."

Economic growth ratea
2011: 5.5%
2010: 8%
2009: minus 0.9%

Labor force in agriculture
1995: 90%

Exports commodities
uranium ore, livestock, cowpeas, onions

Exports partners
2009: Nigeria 68.3%, US 12.2%, Ghana 9.8%

Export/import ration
2011: exports $1.124 billion, imports $1.952 billion

Income Distribution – GINI index
Ranks 92nd among 140 countries (lower rank number is less equal).

Health expenditures
2009: 6.1%


Living in an urban area
2010: 17% 

Ethnic groups
2001 census: 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%

Literacy, Age 15 and Older
2005: males 42.9%, females 15.1%


Western Africa, north of Nigeria. southeast of Algeria. Landlocked. Slightly less than twice the size of Texas. Desert, dry and dusty. Capital: Niamey.


President elected by popular vote for a five-year term.

Recent History

Independence from France in 1960. First free and open elections held in 1993. Political instability followed. A new constitution created in 1999.

August 5, 2005: Following the poor harvest of 2004 food has been available for those with money. With food shortages food is always more expensive. The poor in Niger have little or no money to buy the food, which does not mean, as has been suggested, that there is enough of it in Niger. Starvation appears because government has not stored ample supplies for the droughts that regularly occur. Moreover, per capita food production has fallen.

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.