Niger, officially the Republic of Niger, is a landlocked country in Western Africa, named after the Niger River.The article will attempt to give you a quick rundown on this West African nation, here goes a list of 50 interesting facts about Niger that cover its history, culture, economy, people, military, wildlife and the river Niger.
10 Facts about River Niger
Fact 1. The river is 4,180 kilometers in length (2597 miles).
Fact 2. At 4,180 km long it stands as the third longest river in Africa, the only rivers longer than it is the Nile and the Congo ,which is also known as the Zaire.
Fact 3. Unlike the Nile that is unclear, the Niger is clear over the whole course. This is attributed to an absence of silt.
Fact 4. The river gives the countries of Nigeria and Niger their names.
Fact 5. The river floods annually, the flooding season begins in September and ends in May.
Fact 6. The source of the river is the Guinea highlands located in Southeastern Guinea.
Fact 7. The river’s main tributary is the Benue River.
Fact 8. The flow of this river has been described as unusual. It begins flowing 150 miles away from the Atlantic Ocean but instead of going straight to the Ocean it curves inwards flowing through the countries of Mali, Niger, Benin, and Nigeria then finally discharges through the Niger Delta/Oil Rivers into the Gulf of Guinea.
Fact 9. The Scottish Explorer, Mungo Park, was the first known Westerner to travel through the course of the Niger. He did so in the year 1796.
Fact 10. The river has thirty-six families of freshwater fish and nearly 250 fish species, twenty of these are found nowhere else on the planet.
10 Facts about Niger Culture
Fact 11. The official language is French. This is inherited from the colonial period and serves as an administrative language.
Fact 12. In the same vein, the country has eight languages that are also classified as national languages; these are mostly the ethnic languages of the groups associated with the language.
Fact 13. The ethnic composition of the languages in Niger is as follows: Hausa (53%); Zarma-Sonari (21.2%); Tuareg (10.4%); Fula (9.9%) Kanuri Manga (4.4%); Tubu (0.4%); Gourmantche (0.3%).
Fact 14. The nation is a secular state with the separation of religion and state guaranteed in the constitution. The most dominant religion practiced in Niger is Islam, with about 80% of the populace identifying themselves as Muslims.
Fact 15. Christians form about 20% of the populace with a small majority of the population practicing indigenous religions.
Fact 16. Indigenous communities have annual festivals with the two most prominent being the ‘Salt Cure’ festival, a celebration of Tuareg nomads to celebrate the end of the rainy season and a colorful courtship ritual that is practiced by the Wodaabe was known as the Guerewol festival.
Fact 17. The main staple food of Niger is millet.
Fact 18. Traditional sports such as horse racing, camel racing and wrestling still survive and form a focal point in the socialization of the people.
Fact 19. The National day of Niger/ Republic Day is celebrated on December 18 since the year 1958. It also celebrates the founding of the republic and the Presidency.
Fact 20. There do exist several cities, towns, and villages that have preserved on account of their architecture, some like those in the Djado plateau are largely uninhabited whilst others such as Agadez and Zinder are alive.
Related: Interesting facts about Chad
10 Facts about Niger Economy and the People
Fact 21. Niger is a landlocked country with over 80% of land being arid.
Fact 22. A mere 2.8% of the total land area in Niger is cultivated.
Fact 23. The country’s last census report (2002) indicated that 90% of the country’s workforce is engaged in Agriculture whilst industry and commerce employ 6% of the workforce and the government employs the remaining 4% of the citizens.
Fact 24. The nation has a single trade union federation, The Union of Worker’s Syndicate of Niger. The head of the Union is appointed by the Government and most members are state employees.
Fact 25. The mains agricultural export from Niger is peanuts; the second largest agricultural export is cotton.
Fact 26. A mere one percent of Niger’s total surface area is under forest cover.
Fact 27. Uranium is Niger’s largest mineral export. The country is ranked fifth in Uranium production globally.
Fact 28. Minerals that Niger has in abundance include gold, iron ore,sulfates and a raft of other minerals that are untapped.
Fact 29. As of the year 2003, the country had crude oil reserves of close to 300 million barrels of fuel. Because of lack of refining capacity, however, the country has to rely on imports for refined petroleum.
Fact 30. Commercial fishing is nonexistent as an industry and most of the catch is consumed domestically.
10 Niger facts for Kids
Fact 31. Niger is on the border between Sahara and Sub-Sahara region.
Fact 32. The capital of Niger is Niamey.
Fact 33. Niger borders seven countries.
Fact 34. The countries bordered are Libya to the North East, Chad to the East, Nigeria and Benin to the South and South West, Senegal and Mali to the West and Algeria to the North West.
Fact 35. The longest border is with Nigeria that lies in the South.
Fact 36. The lowest point in the country is in River Niger.
Fact 37. The highest point in the country is in Mount Idoukalan – Taghes in the Air Mountains.
Fact 38. The climate of Niger is subtropical climate which means it’s hot and dry.
Fact 39. Niger has a human population of 15,306,252.
Fact 40. Present day Niger stands on what was previously the empires of Mali and Songhai.
More facts about Niger’s economy, culture, military, wild life etc
Fact 41. With a land area of 1,267,000 km square km, Niger is the largest country in West Africa.
Fact 42. Niger is one of the poorest nations on the earth with a UN Human Development Index of 2014 ranking it as 188 in the world.
Fact 43. Niger has a rich cultural history having been the stomping ground of some of Africa’s most notably empires and kingdoms. The Songhai Empire and the Mali Kingdom were domiciled in this territory.
Fact 44. Niger has had seven republics and four military regimes since its inception as a state in 1958.
Fact 45. Niger teems with wildlife with the two most prominent Parks being the W National Park and Abaaba National Park.
Fact 46. The country has one of the world’s largest protected reserves covering 7.7m Ha land. Cheetah, Oryx, and different gazelle are to be found on this territory.
Fact 47. Dinosaur remains are also to be found in an area within the Sahara desert.
Fact 48. Tuareg men wear blue dyed veils across their eyes and were referred to as the “Blue Men” of the Sahara Desert in bygone times.
Fact 49. Niger is considered one of the hottest nations in the world and is aptly nicknamed the “Frying Pan of the World.”
Fact 50. The country is divided into seven regions with a single Principal District, the capital, Niamey.
|Total area||1.267 million sq km|
|Population||18,045,729 (July 2015 est.)|
|Borders||Libya, Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali and Chad|
|Currency||West African CFA franc (XOF)|
|Religion||Islam, Animism and Christianity|
|Life expectancy||55.13 Years (2015)|
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
|Climate||desert; mostly hot, dry, dusty; tropical in extreme south|
|Terrain||predominately desert plains and sand dunes; flat to rolling plains in south; hills in north|
|Natural resources||uranium, coal, iron ore, tin, phosphates, gold, molybdenum, gypsum, salt, petroleum|
|Birth rate||45.45 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)|
|Death rate||12.42 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)|
|Sex ratio||1.01 male(s)/female (2015 est.)|
|Independence||3 August 1960 (from France)|
|National symbol||zebu; national colors: orange, white, green|
|National anthem||"La Nigerienne" (The Nigerien)|
|Industries||uranium mining, petroleum, cement, brick, soap, textiles, food processing, chemicals, slaughterhouses|
|Exports||$1.378 billion (2015 est.)|
uranium ore, livestock, cowpeas, onions
|Imports||$2.168 billion (2015 est.)|
foodstuffs, machinery, vehicles and parts, petroleum, cereals
|GDP - per capita (PPP)||$1,100 (2015 est.)|
|Time Zone||WAT (UTC+1)|
|Internet country code||.ne|
percent of population: 2.2% (July 2015 est.)
|Drives on the||Right|