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The Beautiful Niger You Have to Visit to Appreciate

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A vast, arid state on the edge of the Sahara desert, Niger is rated by the UN as one of the world’s least-developed nations.

Niger fell victim to a series of coups and political instability following its independence from France in 1960.

Today the country struggles in the face of frequent droughts, insurgency and wide-spread poverty. Niger is betting on increased oil exploration and gold mining to help modernize its economy.

But basic rights issues, such as slavery – which was only banned in 2003 and still remains a problem – and a high rate of illiteracy and disease, remain stubborn challenges.

  • The Republic of Niger
  • Capital: Niamey
  • Population 16.6 million
  • Area 1.27 million sq km (489,000 sq miles)
  • Major languages French (official), Hausa, Songhai, Arabic
  • Major religions Islam, indigenous beliefs
  • Life expectancy 55 years (men), 56 years (women)
  • Currency CFA (Communaute Financiere Africaine) franc