Land area: 1,186,408 sq km
Sahara desert in centre and north. Only the southwest and a narrow strip along the Nigerian border in the south are savannah grasslands.
Official language: French. Language of wider communication is Hausa
Under military rule for thirty-one years, violent coups and bloody political infighting have finally unfolded into a fledgling democracy. One of the poorest countries in the world, the agricultural economy is frequently destroyed by drought. Slavery is still practiced in isolated areas of the country. Nigerian children are trafficked for labor in gold mines, sexual exploitation, and begging. A land dispute between Libya remains unresolved and often triggers acts of violence.
One of the richest sources of uranium in the world, Niger has instead focused on developing agriculture and raising livestock. Future economic growth is hoped to be found in the mining of gold, coal, and recently discovered oil.
Poverty rate: 44.1% – Niger is one of the world’s poorest nations.