Niger or the Niger ( or ( listen); French: [niʒɛʁ]), officially the Republic of the Niger, is a landlocked country in Western Africa named after the Niger River. Niger is bordered by Libya to the northeast, Chad to the east, Nigeria and Benin to the south, Burkina Faso and Mali to the west, and Algeria to the northwest. Niger covers a land area of almost 1,270,000 km2 (490,000 sq mi), making it the largest country in West Africa. Over 80% of its land area lies in the Sahara Desert. The country's predominantly Islamic population of about 21 million mostly clusters in the far south and west of the country. The capital city is Niamey, located in Niger’s southwest corner.
Niger is a developing country, which consistently ranks near the bottom in the United Nations' Human Development Index (HDI); it was ranked 187th of 188 countries for 2015 and 189th out of 189 countries in the 2018 report.Much of the non-desert portions of the country are threatened by periodic drought and desertification. The economy is concentrated around subsistence, with some export agriculture in the more fertile south, and export of raw materials, especially uranium ore. Niger faces serious challenges to development due to its landlocked position, desert terrain, inefficient agriculture, high fertility rates without birth control, and the resulting overpopulation, the poor educational level and the poverty of its people, the lack of infrastructure, the poor health care, and the environmental degradation.
Niamey is the capital of the West African nation of Niger. It is Niger's largest city, lying on the Niger River, mostly on the east bank. It is an administrative, cultural and economic center. Niamey's population, officially 774,235 at the 2006 census, is estimated much higher. Niamey is located at 13°31'17" North, 2°6'19" East (13.521389, 2.105278). The city is located in a pearl millet growing region, while manufacturing industries include bricks, ceramic goods, cement and weaving.
Niamey was probably founded in the eighteenth century, but was of little importance to most of the country until the French developed a colonial post in the 1890s. This rapidly grew into an important center. In 1926 it became the capital of Niger, and the population gradually increased, from about 3,000 in 1930 to around 30,000 in 1960, 250,000 in 1980 and — by some estimates - 800,000 in 2000. The major cause of the increase has been immigration during droughts. The city was founded on the east ("left bank") of the Niger River as it meanders from a west to east flow to run almost directly south. A series of marshy islands begin at Niamey and extend south in the river.
Credit: Dan Lundberg
Contestants from the Wodaabe ethnic group sing and dance at the Guérewol festival while flaunting the whiteness of their eyes and teeth.
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