Niger (pronounced Neejair) 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 predominately Tuareg ethnic group, emerged in February 2007, and attacked several military targets in Niger’s northern region throughout 2007 and 2008. Successful government offensives in 2009 limited the rebels’ operational capabilities.
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. Niger covers a land area of almost 1,270,000 km2, making it the largest nation in West Africa, with over 80 percent of its land area covered by the Sahara desert. The country’s predominantly Islamic population of just above 15,000,000 is mostly clustered in the far south and west of the nation. The capital city is Niamey, located in the far southwest corner of Niger.
Niger is a developing country, and consistently ranks as one of the lowest ranks of the United Nations‘ Human Development Index (HDI), 186th of 187 countries in 2011. Much of the non-desert portions of the country are threatened by periodic drought and desertification. The economy is concentrated around subsistence and some export agriculture clustered in the more fertile south, and the export of raw materials, especially uranium ore. Niger remains handicapped by its landlocked position, desert terrain, poor education and poverty of its people, lack of infrastructure, poor health care, and environmental degradation.
Since independence, Nigeriens have lived under five constitutions and three periods of military rule. Following a military coup in 2010, Niger has now become a democratic, multi-party state. A majority live in rural areas, and have little access to advanced education.
Population: 16,344,687 (July 2012 est.)
Ethnic Groups: Haoussa 55.4%, Djerma Sonrai 21%, Tuareg 9.3%, Peuhl 8.5%, Kanouri Manga 4.7%, other 1.2% (2001 census)
Languages: French (official), Hausa, Djerma
Religions: Muslim 80%, other (includes indigenous beliefs and Christian) 20%
Niger maintains a tradition as a secular state, protected by law. Interfaith relations are deemed very good, and the forms of Islam traditionally practiced in most of the country is marked by tolerance of other faiths and lack of restrictions on personal freedom. Divorce and polygyny are unremarkable, women are not secluded, and headcoverings are not mandatory — they are often a rarity in urban areas. Alcohol, such as the locally produced Bière Niger, is sold openly in most of the country
.Animism – A small percentage of the population practices traditional indigenous religious beliefs. The numbers of Animist practitioners are a point of contention. As recently as the late 19th century, much of the south centre of the nation was unreached by Islam, and the conversion of some rural areas has been only partial. There are still areas where animist based festivals and traditions (such as the Bori religion) are practiced by syncretic Muslim communities (in some Hausa areas as well as among some Toubou and Wodaabe pastoralists), as opposed to several small communities who maintain their pre-Islamic religion.
These include the Hausa-speaking Maouri (or Azna, the Hausa word for “pagan”) community in Dogondoutci in the south-southwest and the Kanuri speaking Manga near Zinder, both of whom practice variations of the pre-Islamic Hausa Maguzawa religion. There are also some tiny Boudouma and Songhay animist communities in the southwest.
Living conditions: Infant Mortality: total: 109.98 deaths/1,000 live births, Life expectancy: total population: 53.8 years. Literacy: total population: 28.7%
male: 42.9%, female: 15.1% (2005 est.)
Executive: chief of state: President ISSOUFOU Mahamadou (since 7 April 2011)
head of government: Prime Minister Brigi RAFINI (since 7 April 2011); appointed by the president and shares some executive responsibilities with the president
cabinet: 26-member Cabinet appointed by the president.
Legislative: unicameral National Assembly (113 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
Judicial: Constitutional Court (7 judges with 6-year terms, nominated by the President); Court of Cassation (highest court dealing with judicial matters); Council of State (highest court dealing with administrative matters); Court of Finances (highest court dealing with public finances).
- Men of Peace
- A move of the Holy Spirit.
- The welfare of the population.