Geography :Niger, in West Africa's Sahara region, is four-fifths the size of Alaska. It is surrounded by Mali, Algeria, Libya, Chad, Nigeria, Benin, and Burkina Faso. The Niger River in the southwest flows through the country's only fertile area. Elsewhere the land is semiarid.
Government: Republic, emerging from military rule.
History :The nomadic Tuaregs were the first inhabitants in the Sahara region. The Hausa (14th century), Zerma (17th century), Gobir (18th century), and Fulani (19th century) also established themselves in the region now called Niger. Niger was incorporated into French West Africa in 1896. There were frequent rebellions, but when order was restored in 1922, the French made the area a colony. In 1958, the voters approved the French constitution and voted to make the territory an autonomous republic within the French Community. The republic adopted a constitution in 1959 but the next year withdrew from the Community, proclaiming its independence.
Capital: Niamey,National name: République du Niger Languages: French (official), Hausa, Djerma Ethnicity/race: Haoussa 55.4%, Djerma Sonrai 21%, Tuareg 9.3%, Peuhl 8.5%, Kanouri Manga 4.7%, other 1.2% (2001 census) Religions: Islam 80%, indigenous beliefs and Christian 20% National Holiday: Republic Day, December 18 Literacy rate: 28.7% (2005 est.) Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2013 est.): $13.98 billion; per capita $800. Real growth rate: 6.2%. Inflation:1.9%. Unemployment: n.a. Arable land: 11.79%. Agriculture: cowpeas, cotton, peanuts, millet, sorghum, cassava (tapioca), rice; cattle, sheep, goats, camels, donkeys, horses, poultry. Labor force: 4.688 million (2007 est.); agriculture 90%, industry and commerce 6%, government 4%. Industries: uranium mining, cement, brick, soap, textiles, food processing, chemicals, slaughterhouses. Natural resources: uranium, coal, iron ore, tin, phosphates, gold, petroleum. Exports: $1.539 billion (2013): uranium ore, livestock, cowpeas, onions. Imports:$2.314 billion (2013): foodstuffs, machinery, vehicles and parts, petroleum, cereals. Major trading partners: France, Nigeria, U.S., French Polynesia, Côte d'Ivoire, China, Togo, Ghana, India, Italy (2012). Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 100,500 (2012); mobile cellular: 5.4 million (2012). 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 a national reach; about 30 private radio stations operate locally; as many as 100 community radio stations broadcast; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are available (2007). Internet hosts:454 (2012). Internet users: 115,900 (2009). Transportation: Railways: 0 km. Roadways: total: 18,949 km; paved: 3,912 km; unpaved: 15,037 km (2010).Waterways: the Niger is navigable 300 km from Niamey to Gaya on the Benin frontier from mid-December through March. Ports and harbors: none. Airports: 30 (2013). 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