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This article is about the landlocked country in Africa. Niger_sentence_0

For the neighboring country, see Nigeria. Niger_sentence_1

For other uses, see Niger (disambiguation). Niger_sentence_2


Republic of the NigerNiger_header_cell_0_0_0

and largest cityNiger_header_cell_0_1_0

Official languagesNiger_header_cell_0_2_0 FrenchNiger_cell_0_2_1
National languagesNiger_header_cell_0_3_0 Niger_cell_0_3_1
Demonym(s)Niger_header_cell_0_4_0 Nigerien (/niːˈʒɛəriən/Niger_cell_0_4_1
GovernmentNiger_header_cell_0_5_0 Unitary semi-presidential republicNiger_cell_0_5_1
PresidentNiger_header_cell_0_6_0 Mahamadou IssoufouNiger_cell_0_6_1
Prime MinisterNiger_header_cell_0_7_0 Brigi RafiniNiger_cell_0_7_1
LegislatureNiger_header_cell_0_8_0 National AssemblyNiger_cell_0_8_1
Independence from FranceNiger_header_cell_0_9_0
DeclaredNiger_header_cell_0_10_0 3 August 1960Niger_cell_0_10_1
Area Niger_header_cell_0_11_0
TotalNiger_header_cell_0_12_0 1,267,000 km (489,000 sq mi) (21st)Niger_cell_0_12_1
Water (%)Niger_header_cell_0_13_0 0.02Niger_cell_0_13_1
2018 estimateNiger_header_cell_0_15_0 22,442,831 (57th)Niger_cell_0_15_1
2012 censusNiger_header_cell_0_16_0 17,138,707Niger_cell_0_16_1
DensityNiger_header_cell_0_17_0 12.1/km (31.3/sq mi)Niger_cell_0_17_1
GDP (PPP)Niger_header_cell_0_18_0 2018 estimateNiger_cell_0_18_1
TotalNiger_header_cell_0_19_0 $23.475 billion (140th)Niger_cell_0_19_1
Per capitaNiger_header_cell_0_20_0 $1,213 (183rd)Niger_cell_0_20_1
GDP (nominal)Niger_header_cell_0_21_0 2018 estimateNiger_cell_0_21_1
TotalNiger_header_cell_0_22_0 $9.869 billion (136th)Niger_cell_0_22_1
Per capitaNiger_header_cell_0_23_0 $510 (179th)Niger_cell_0_23_1
Gini (2014)Niger_header_cell_0_24_0 34.0

medium · 70thNiger_cell_0_24_1

HDI (2018)Niger_header_cell_0_25_0 0.377

low · 189thNiger_cell_0_25_1

CurrencyNiger_header_cell_0_26_0 West African CFA franc (XOF)Niger_cell_0_26_1
Time zoneNiger_header_cell_0_27_0 UTC+1 (WAT)Niger_cell_0_27_1
Driving sideNiger_header_cell_0_28_0 rightNiger_cell_0_28_1
Calling codeNiger_header_cell_0_29_0 +227Niger_cell_0_29_1
ISO 3166 codeNiger_header_cell_0_30_0 NENiger_cell_0_30_1
Internet TLDNiger_header_cell_0_31_0 .neNiger_cell_0_31_1

Niger or the Niger (/niːˈʒɛər/ or /ˈnaɪdʒər/; French: [niʒɛʁ), officially the Republic of the Niger, is a landlocked country in West Africa named after the Niger River. Niger_sentence_3

Niger is bordered by Libya to the northeast, Chad to the east, Nigeria to the south, Benin to the southwest, Mali to the northwest, Burkina Faso to the southwest, and Algeria to the northwest. Niger_sentence_4

Niger covers a land area of almost 1,270,000 km (490,000 sq mi), making it the largest country in West Africa. Niger_sentence_5

Over 80% of its land area lies in the Sahara Desert. Niger_sentence_6

The country's predominantly Muslim population of about 22 million live mostly in clusters in the far south and west of the country. Niger_sentence_7

The capital and largest city is Niamey, located in Niger's southwest corner. Niger_sentence_8

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 and 2019 reports. Niger_sentence_9

Many of the non-desert portions of the country are threatened by periodic drought and desertification. Niger_sentence_10

The economy is concentrated around subsistence, with some export agriculture in the more fertile south, and export of raw materials, especially uranium ore. Niger_sentence_11

Niger faces serious challenges to development due to its landlocked position, desert terrain, inefficient agriculture, high fertility rates without birth control and resulting overpopulation, the poor educational level and poverty of its people, lack of infrastructure, poor healthcare, and environmental degradation. Niger_sentence_12

Nigerien society reflects a diversity drawn from the long independent histories of its several ethnic groups and regions and their relatively short period living in a single state. Niger_sentence_13

Historically, what is now Niger has been on the fringes of several large states. Niger_sentence_14

Since independence, Nigeriens have lived under five constitutions and three periods of military rule. Niger_sentence_15

After the military coup in 2010, Niger became a democratic, multi-party state. Niger_sentence_16

A majority of the population lives in rural areas and has little access to advanced education. Niger_sentence_17

Etymology Niger_section_0

The country's name comes from the Niger River which flows through the west of the country; the origin of the river's name is uncertain, though a popular theory is that it comes from the Tuareg n'eghirren, meaning 'flowing water'. Niger_sentence_18

The most common pronunciation is the French one of /niːˈʒɛər/, though in Anglophone media /ˈnaɪdʒər/ is also occasionally used. Niger_sentence_19

History Niger_section_1

Main article: History of Niger Niger_sentence_20

Prehistory Niger_section_2

Humans have inhabited the territory of modern Niger for millennia; stone tools, some dating as far back as 280,000 BC, have been found in Adrar Bous, Bilma and Djado in the northern Agadez Region. Niger_sentence_21

Some of these finds have been linked with the Aterian and Mousterian tool cultures of the Middle Paleolithic period, which flourished in northern Africa circa 90,000 BC-20,000 BC. Niger_sentence_22

It is thought that these early humans lived a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Niger_sentence_23

In prehistoric times the climate of the Sahara desert was much wetter and more fertile than it is today, a phenomenon archaeologists refer to as the 'Green Sahara', which provided favourable conditions for hunting and later agriculture and livestock herding. Niger_sentence_24

The Neolithic era began circa 10,000 BC; this period saw a number of important changes, such as the introduction of pottery (as evidenced at Tagalagal, Temet and Tin Ouffadene), the spread of cattle husbandry, and the burying of the dead in stone tumuli. Niger_sentence_25

As the climate changed in the period 4000–2800 BC the Sahara gradually began drying out, forcing a change in settlement patterns to the south and east. Niger_sentence_26

Agriculture became widespread, notably the planting of millet and sorghum, as well as pottery production. Niger_sentence_27

Iron and copper items first appear in this era, with early find including those at Azawagh, Takedda, Marendet and the Termit Massif. Niger_sentence_28

The Kiffian (circa 8000–6000 BC) and later Tenerian (circa 5000–2500 BC) cultures, centred on Adrar Bous and Gobero where numerous skeletons have been uncovered, flourished during this period. Niger_sentence_29

Towards the end of this period, up till the first centuries AD, societies continued to grow and become more complex, with regional differentiation in agricultural and funerary practices. Niger_sentence_30

A notable culture of this late period is the Bura culture (circa 200–1300 AD), named for the Bura archaeological site. Niger_sentence_31

where a burial replete with many iron and ceramic statuettes were discovered. Niger_sentence_32

The Neolithic era also saw the flourishing of Saharan rock art, most notably in the Aïr Mountains, Termit Massif, Djado Plateau, Iwelene, Arakao, Tamakon, Tzerzait, Iferouane, Mammanet and Dabous; the art spans the period from 10,000BC to 100AD and depicts a range of subjects, from the varied fauna of the landscape to depictions of spear-carrying figures dubbed 'Libyan warriors'. Niger_sentence_33

Empires and kingdoms in pre-colonial Niger Niger_section_3

Our knowledge of early Nigerien history is limited by the lack of written sources, though it is known that by at least the 5th century BC the territory of modern Niger had become an area of trans-Saharan trade. Niger_sentence_34

Led by Tuareg tribes from the north, camels were as a well-adapted means of transportation through what was now an immense desert. Niger_sentence_35

This mobility, which would continue in waves for several centuries, was accompanied with further migration to the south and intermixing between sub-Saharan African and North African populations, as well as the gradual spread of Islam. Niger_sentence_36

It was also aided by the Arab invasion of North Africa at the end of the 7th century, which resulted in population movements to the south. Niger_sentence_37

Several empires and kingdoms flourished in the Sahel during this era. Niger_sentence_38

Their history does not fit easily within the modern boundaries of Niger, which were created during the period of European colonialism; the following adopts a roughly chronological account of the main empires. Niger_sentence_39

Mali Empire (1200s–1400s) Niger_section_4

Main article: Mali Empire Niger_sentence_40

The Mali Empire was a Mandinka empire founded by Sundiata Keita (r. 1230–1255) in circa 1230 and existed up to 1600. Niger_sentence_41

As detailed in the Epic of Sundiata, Mali emerged as a breakaway region of the Sosso Empire, which itself had split from the earlier Ghana Empire. Niger_sentence_42

Thereafter Mali defeated the Sosso at the Battle of Kirina in 1235 and then Ghana in 1240. Niger_sentence_43

From its heartland around the modern Guinea-Mali border region, the empire expanded considerably under successive kings and came to dominate the Trans-Saharan trade routes, reaching its greatest extent during the rule of Mansa Musa (r. 1312-1337). Niger_sentence_44

At this point parts of what are now Niger's Tillabéri Region fell under Malian rule. Niger_sentence_45

A Muslim, Mansa Musa performed the hajj in 1324–25 and encouraged the spread of Islam in the empire, though it appears that most ordinary citizens continued to maintain their traditional animist beliefs instead of or alongside the new religion. Niger_sentence_46

The empire began declining in the 15th century due to a combination of internecine strife over the royal succession, weak kings, the shift of European trade routes to the coast, and rebellions in the empire's periphery by Mossi, Wolof, Tuareg and Songhai peoples. Niger_sentence_47

However a rump Mali kingdom continued to exist until late 1600s. Niger_sentence_48

Songhai Empire (1000s–1591) Niger_section_5

Main article: Songhai Empire Niger_sentence_49

The Songhai Empire was named for its main ethnic group, the Songhai or Sonrai, and was centred on the bend of the Niger River in modern Mali. Niger_sentence_50

Songhai began settling this region from the 7th to 9th centuries; by the early 11th century Gao (capital of the former Kingdom of Gao) had become the empire's capital. Niger_sentence_51

From 1000 to 1325, the Songhai Empire prospered and managed to maintain peace with the Mali Empire, its powerful neighbour to the west. Niger_sentence_52

In 1325 Songhai was conquered by Mali until regaining its independence in 1375. Niger_sentence_53

Under king Sonni Ali (r. 1464–1492) Songhai adopted an expansionist policy which reached its apogee during the reign of Askia Mohammad I (r. 1493–1528); at this point the empire had expanded considerably from its Niger-bend heartland, including to the east where much of modern western Niger fell under its rule, including Agadez, which was conquered in 1496. Niger_sentence_54

However the empire was unable to withstand repeated attacks from the Saadi Dynasty of Morocco and was decisively defeated at the Battle of Tondibi in 1591; the empire then collapsed into a number of smaller kingdoms. Niger_sentence_55

Sultanate of Aïr (1400s–1906) Niger_section_6

Main article: Sultanate of Aïr Niger_sentence_56

In c. 1449 in the north of what is now Niger, the Sultanate of Aïr was founded by Sultan Ilisawan, based in Agadez. Niger_sentence_57

Formerly a small trading post inhabited by a mixture of Hausa and Tuaregs, the sultanate grew rich due to its strategic position on the Trans-Saharan trade routes. Niger_sentence_58

In 1515 Aïr was conquered by Songhai, remaining a part of that empire until its collapse in 1591. Niger_sentence_59

The following centuries present a somewhat confused picture, though it seems that the sultanate entered a decline marked by internecine wars and clan conflicts. Niger_sentence_60

When Europeans began exploring the region in the 19th century much of Agadez lay in ruins, and it was taken over, though with difficulty, by the French (see below). Niger_sentence_61

Kanem-Bornu Empire (700s–1700s) Niger_section_7

Main articles: Kanem-Bornu Empire and Sultanate of Damagaram Niger_sentence_62

To the east, the Kanem-Bornu Empire dominated the region around Lake Chad for much of this period. Niger_sentence_63

It was founded by the Zaghawa around the 8th century and based in Njimi, north-east of the lake. Niger_sentence_64

The kingdom gradually expanded, especially during the rule of the Sayfawa Dynasty which began in c. 1075 under Mai (king) Hummay. Niger_sentence_65

The kingdom reached its greatest extent in the 1200s, largely thanks to the effort of Mai Dunama Dibbalemi (r. 1210–1259), and grew rich from its control of many Trans-Saharan trade routes; much of eastern and south-eastern Niger, notably Bilma and Kaouar, was under Kanem's control in this period. Niger_sentence_66

Islam had been introduced to the kingdom by Arab traders from the 11th century, gradually gaining more converts over the following centuries. Niger_sentence_67

Attacks by the Bulala people in the late 14th century forced Kanem to shift westwards of Lake Chad, where it became known as the Bornu Empire, ruled from its capital Ngazargamu on the modern Niger-Nigeria border. Niger_sentence_68

Bornu prospered during the rule of Mai Idris Alooma (r. circa 1575–1610) and re-conquered much of the traditional lands of Kanem, hence the designation 'Kanem-Bornu' for the empire. Niger_sentence_69

By the late 17th century and into the 18th the Bornu kingdom had entered a long period of decline, gradually shrinking back to its Lake Chad heartland, though it remained an important player in the region. Niger_sentence_70

Circa 1730–40 a group of Kanuri settlers led by Mallam Yunus left Kanem and founded the Sultanate of Damagaram, centred on the town of Zinder. Niger_sentence_71

The sultanate remained nominally subject to the Borno Empire until the reign of Sultan Tanimoune Dan Souleymane in the mid-to-late 19th century, who declared independence and initiated a phase of vigorous expansion. Niger_sentence_72

The sultanate managed to resist the advance of the Sokoto Caliphate (see below), but was later captured by the French in 1899. Niger_sentence_73

The Hausa states and other smaller kingdoms (1400s–1800s) Niger_section_8

Main articles: Hausa Kingdoms, Dosso Kingdom, and Dendi Kingdom Niger_sentence_74

Between the Niger River and Lake Chad lay various Hausa Kingdoms kingdoms, encompassing the cultural-linguistic area known as Hausaland which straddles the modern Niger-Nigeria border. Niger_sentence_75

The origins of the Hausa are obscure, though they are thought to be a mixture of autochthonous peoples and migrant peoples from the north and/or east, emerging as a distinct people sometime in the 900s–1400s when the kingdoms were founded. Niger_sentence_76

They gradually adopted Islam from the 14th century, though often this existed alongside traditional religions, developing into unique syncretic forms; some Hausa groups, such as the Azna, resisted Islam altogether (the area of Dogondoutchi remains an animist stronghold to this day). Niger_sentence_77

The Hausa kingdoms were not a compact entity but several federations of kingdoms more or less independent of one other. Niger_sentence_78

Their organisation was hierarchical though also somewhat democratic: the Hausa kings were elected by the notables of the country and could be removed by them. Niger_sentence_79

The Hausa Kingdoms began as seven states founded, according to the Bayajidda legend, by the six sons of Bawo. Niger_sentence_80

Bawo was the only son of the Hausa queen Daurama and Bayajidda or (Abu Yazid according to certain Nigerien historians) who came from Baghdad. Niger_sentence_81

The seven original Hausa states (often referred to as the 'Hausa bakwai') were: Daura (state of queen Daurama), Kano, Rano, Zaria, Gobir, Katsina and Biram. Niger_sentence_82

An extension of the legend states that Bawo had a further seven sons with a concubine, who went on to the found the so-called 'Banza (illegitimate) Bakwai': Zamfara, Kebbi, Nupe, Gwari, Yauri, Ilorin and Kwararafa. Niger_sentence_83

A smaller state not fitting into this scheme was Konni, centred on Birni-N'Konni. Niger_sentence_84

The Fulani (also called Peul, Fulbe etc.), a pastoral people found throughout the Sahel, began migrating to Hausaland during the 1200s–1500s. Niger_sentence_85

During the later 18th century many Fulani were unhappy with the syncretic form of Islam practised there; exploiting also the populace's disdain with corruption amongst the Hausa elite, the Fulani scholar Usman Dan Fodio (from Gobir) declared a jihad in 1804. Niger_sentence_86

After conquering most of Hausaland (though not the Bornu Kingdom, which remained independent) he proclaimed the Sokoto Caliphate in 1809. Niger_sentence_87

Some of the Hausa states survived by fleeing south, such as the Katsina who moved to Maradi in the south of modern Niger. Niger_sentence_88

Many of these surviving states harassed the Caliphate and a long period of small-scale wars and skirmishes commenced, with some states (such as Katsina and Gobir) maintaining independence, whereas elsewhere new ones were formed (such as the Sultanate of Tessaoua). Niger_sentence_89

The Caliphate managed to survive until, fatally weakened by the invasions of Chad-based warlord Rabih az-Zubayr, it finally fell to the British in 1903, with its lands later being partitioned between Britain and France. Niger_sentence_90

Other smaller kingdoms of the period include the Dosso Kingdom, a Zarma polity founded in 1750 which resisted the rule of Hausa and Sokoto states; and the Dendi Kingdom on the Niger river, which had been founded by refugees fleeing the collapse of the Songhai Empire in 1591. Niger_sentence_91

French Niger (1900–58) Niger_section_9

Main articles: Senegambia and Niger, Upper Senegal and Niger, French West Africa, and Colony of Niger Niger_sentence_92

In the 19th century Europeans began to take a greater interest in Africa; several European explorers travelled in the area of modern Niger, such as Mungo Park (in 1805–06), the Oudney-Denham-Clapperton expedition (1822–25), Heinrich Barth (1850–55; with James Richardson and Adolf Overweg), Friedrich Gerhard Rohlfs (1865–67), Gustav Nachtigal (1869–74) and Parfait-Louis Monteil (1890–92). Niger_sentence_93

Several European countries already possessed littoral colonies in Africa, and in the latter half of the century they began to turn their eyes towards the interior of the continent. Niger_sentence_94

This process, known as the 'Scramble for Africa', culminated in the 1885 Berlin conference in which the colonial powers outlined the division of Africa into spheres of influence. Niger_sentence_95

As a result of this, France gained control of the upper valley of the Niger River (roughly equivalent to the areas of modern Mali and Niger). Niger_sentence_96

France then set about making a reality of their rule on the ground. Niger_sentence_97

In 1897 the French officer Marius Gabriel Cazemajou was sent to Niger; he reached the Sultanate of Damagaram in 1898 and stayed in Zinder at the court of Sultan Amadou Kouran Daga—however he was later killed as Daga feared he would ally with the Chad-based warlord Rabih az-Zubayr. Niger_sentence_98

In 1899–1900 France coordinated three expeditions—the Gentil Mission from French Congo, the Foureau-Lamy Mission from Algeria and the Voulet–Chanoine Mission from Timbuktu—with the aim of linking France's African possessions. Niger_sentence_99

The three eventually met at Kousséri (in the far north of Cameroon) and defeated Rabih az-Zubayr's forces at the Battle of Kousséri. Niger_sentence_100

The Voulet-Chanoine Mission was marred by numerous atrocities, and became notorious for pillaging, looting, raping and killing many local civilians on its passage throughout southern Niger. Niger_sentence_101

On 8 May 1899, in retaliation for the resistance of queen Sarraounia, captain Voulet and his men murdered all the inhabitants of the village of Birni-N'Konni in what is regarded as one of the worst massacres in French colonial history. Niger_sentence_102

The brutal methods of Voulet and Chanoine caused a scandal and Paris was forced to intervene; however when Lieutenant-Colonel Jean-François Klobb caught up with the mission near Tessaoua to relieve them of command he was killed. Niger_sentence_103

Lt. Paul Joalland, Klobb's former officer, and Lt. Octave Meynier eventually took over the mission following a mutiny in which Voulet and Chanoine were killed. Niger_sentence_104

The Military Territory of Niger was subsequently created within the Upper Senegal and Niger colony (modern Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger) in December 1904 with its capital at Niamey, then little more than a large village. Niger_sentence_105

The border with Britain's colony of Nigeria to the south was finalised in 1910, a rough delimitation having already been agreed by the two powers via several treaties during the period 1898–1906. Niger_sentence_106

The capital of the territory was moved to Zinder in 1912 when the Niger Military Territory was split off from Upper Senegal and Niger, before being moved back to Niamey in 1922 when Niger became a fully-fledged colony within French West Africa. Niger_sentence_107

The borders of Niger were drawn up in various stages and had been fixed at their current position by the late 1930s. Niger_sentence_108

Various territorial adjustments took place in this period: the areas west of the Niger river were only attached to Niger in 1926–27, and during the dissolution of Upper Volta (modern Burkina Faso) in 1932–47 much of the east of that territory was added to Niger; and in the east the Tibesti Mountains were transferred to Chad in 1931. Niger_sentence_109

The French generally adopted a form of indirect rule, allowing existing native structures to continue to exist within the colonial framework of governance providing that they acknowledged French supremacy. Niger_sentence_110

The Zarma of the Dosso Kingdom in particular proved amenable to French rule, using them as allies against the encroachments of Hausa and other nearby states; over time the Zarma thus became one of the more educated and westernised groups in Niger. Niger_sentence_111

However, perceived threats to French rule, such as the Kobkitanda rebellion in Dosso Region (1905–06), led by the blind cleric Alfa Saibou, and the Karma revolt in the Niger valley (December 1905–March 1906) led by Oumarou Karma were suppressed with force, as were the latter Hamallayya and Hauka religious movements. Niger_sentence_112

Though largely successful in subduing the sedentary populations of the south, the French faced considerably more difficulty with the Tuareg in the north (centered on the Sultanate of Aïr in Agadez), and France was unable to occupy Agadez until 1906. Niger_sentence_113

Tuareg resistance continued however, culminating in the Kaocen revolt of 1916–17, led by Ag Mohammed Wau Teguidda Kaocen, with backing from the Senussi in Fezzan; the revolt was violently suppressed and Kaocen fled to Fezzan, where he was later killed. Niger_sentence_114

A puppet sultan was set up by the French and the decline and marginalisation of the north of the colony continued, exacerbated by a series of droughts. Niger_sentence_115

Though it remained something of a backwater, some limited economic development took place in Niger during the colonial years, such as the introduction of groundnut cultivation. Niger_sentence_116

Various measures to improve food security following a series of devastating famines in 1913, 1920 and 1931 were also introduced. Niger_sentence_117

During the Second World War, during which time mainland France was occupied by Nazi Germany, Charles de Gaulle issued the Brazzaville Declaration, declaring that the French colonial empire would be replaced post-war with a less centralised French Union. Niger_sentence_118

The French Union, which lasted from 1946–58, conferred a limited form of French citizenship on the inhabitants of the colonies, with some decentralisation of power and limited participation in political life for local advisory assemblies. Niger_sentence_119

It was during this period that the Nigerien Progressive Party (Parti Progressiste Nigérien, or PPN, originally a branch of the African Democratic Rally, or Rassemblement Démocratique Africain – RDA) was formed under the leadership of former teacher Hamani Diori, as well as the left-wing Mouvement Socialiste Africain-Sawaba (MSA) led by Djibo Bakary. Niger_sentence_120

Following the Overseas Reform Act (Loi Cadre) of 23 July 1956 and the establishment of the Fifth French Republic on 4 December 1958, Niger became an autonomous state within the French Community. Niger_sentence_121

On 18 December 1958, an autonomous Republic of Niger was officially created under the leadership of Hamani Diori. Niger_sentence_122

The MSA was banned in 1959 for its perceived excessive anti-French stance. Niger_sentence_123

On 11 July 1960, Niger decided to leave the French Community and acquired full independence on 3 August 1960; Diori thus became the first president of the country. Niger_sentence_124

Independent Niger (1960–present) Niger_section_10

Diori years (1960–74) Niger_section_11

For its first 14 years as an independent state Niger was run by a single-party civilian regime under the presidency of Hamani Diori. Niger_sentence_125

The 1960s were largely peaceful, and saw a large expansion of the education system and some limited economic development and industrialisation. Niger_sentence_126

Links with France remained deep, with Diori allowing the development of French-led uranium mining in Arlit and supporting France in the Algerian War. Niger_sentence_127

Relations with other African states were mostly positive, with the exception of Dahomey (Benin), owing to an ongoing border dispute. Niger_sentence_128

Niger remained a one-party state throughout this period, with Diori surviving a planned coup in 1963 and an assassination attempt in 1965; much of this activity was masterminded by Djibo Bakary's MSA-Sawaba group, which had launched an abortive rebellion in 1964. Niger_sentence_129

In the early 1970s, a combination of economic difficulties, devastating droughts and accusations of rampant corruption and mismanagement of food supplies resulted in a coup d'état that overthrew the Diori regime. Niger_sentence_130

First military regime: The Supreme Military Council and Second Republic (1974–1991) Niger_section_12

The coup had been masterminded by Col. Seyni Kountché and a small military group under the name of the Conseil Militaire Supreme, with Kountché going on to rule the country until his death in 1987. Niger_sentence_131

The first action of the military government was to address the food crisis. Niger_sentence_132

Whilst political prisoners of the Diori regime were released after the coup and the country was stabilised, political and individual freedoms in general deteriorated during this period. Niger_sentence_133

There were several attempted coups (in 1975, 1976 and 1984) which were thwarted, their instigators being severely punished. Niger_sentence_134

Despite the restriction in freedom, the country enjoyed improved economic development as Kountché sought to create a 'development society', funded largely by the uranium mines in Agadez Region. Niger_sentence_135

Several parastatal companies were created, major infrastructure (building and new roads, schools, health centres) constructed, and there was minimal corruption in government agencies, which Kountché did not hesitate to punish severely. Niger_sentence_136

In the 1980s Kountché began cautiously loosening the grip of the military, with some relaxation of state censorship and attempts made to 'civilianise' the regime. Niger_sentence_137

However the economic boom ended following the collapse in uranium prices, and IMF-led austerity and privatisation measures provoked opposition by many Nigerians. Niger_sentence_138

In 1985 a small Tuareg revolt in Tchintabaraden was suppressed. Niger_sentence_139

Kountché died in November 1987 from a brain tumour, and was succeeded by his Chief of Staff, Col. Ali Saibou, who was confirmed as Chief of the Supreme Military Council four days later. Niger_sentence_140

Saibou significantly curtailed the most repressive aspects of the Kountché era (such as the secret police and media censorship), and set about introducing a process of political reform under the overall direction of a single party (the Mouvement National pour la Société du Développement, or MNSD). Niger_sentence_141

A Second Republic was declared and a new constitution was drawn up, which was adopted following a referendum in 1989. Niger_sentence_142

General Saibou became the first president of the Second Republic after winning the presidential election on 10 December 1989. Niger_sentence_143

President Saibou's efforts to control political reforms failed in the face of trade union and student demands to institute a multi-party democratic system. Niger_sentence_144

On 9 February 1990, a violently repressed student march in Niamey led to the death of three students, which led to increased national and international pressure for further democratic reform. Niger_sentence_145

The Saibou regime acquiesced to these demands by the end of 1990. Niger_sentence_146

Meanwhile, trouble re-emerged in Agadez Region when a group of armed Tuaregs attacked the town of Tchintabaraden (generally seen as the start of the first Tuareg Rebellion), prompting a severe military crackdown which led to many deaths (the precise numbers are disputed, with estimates ranging from 70 to up to 1,000). Niger_sentence_147

National Conference and Third Republic (1991–1996) Niger_section_13

The National Sovereign Conference of 1991 marked a turning point in the post-independence history of Niger and brought about multi-party democracy. Niger_sentence_148

From 29 July to 3 November, a national conference gathered together all elements of society to make recommendations for the future direction of the country. Niger_sentence_149

The conference was presided over by Prof. André Salifou and developed a plan for a transitional government; this was then installed in November 1991 to manage the affairs of state until the institutions of the Third Republic were put into place in April 1993. Niger_sentence_150

After the National Sovereign Conference, the transitional government drafted a new constitution that eliminated the previous single-party system of the 1989 Constitution and guaranteed more freedoms. Niger_sentence_151

The new constitution was adopted by a referendum on 26 December 1992. Niger_sentence_152

Following this, presidential elections were held and Mahamane Ousmane became the first president of the Third Republic on 27 March 1993. Niger_sentence_153

Ousmane's presidency was characterised by political turbulence, with four government changes and early legislative elections in 1995, as well a severe economic slump which the coalition government proved unable to effectively address. Niger_sentence_154

The violence in Agadez Region continued during this period, prompting the Nigerien government to sign a truce with Tuareg rebels in 1992 which was however ineffective owing to internal dissension within the Tuareg ranks. Niger_sentence_155

Another rebellion, led by dissatisfied Toubou peoples claiming that, like the Tuareg, the Nigerien government had neglected their region, broke out in the east of the country. Niger_sentence_156

In April 1995 a peace deal with the main Tuareg rebel group was signed, with the government agreeing to absorb some former rebels into the military and, with French assistance, help others return to a productive civilian life. Niger_sentence_157

Second military regime, Fourth Republic and third military regime (1996–1999) Niger_section_14

The governmental paralysis prompted the military to intervene; on 27 January 1996, Col. Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara led a coup that deposed President Ousmane and ended the Third Republic. Niger_sentence_158

Maïnassara headed a Conseil de Salut National (National Salvation Council) composed of military official which carried out a six-month transition period, during which a new constitution was drafted and adopted on 12 May 1996. Niger_sentence_159

Presidential campaigns were organised in the months that followed. Niger_sentence_160

Maïnassara entered the campaign as an independent candidate and won the election on 8 July 1996, however the elections were viewed nationally and internationally as irregular, as the electoral commission was replaced during the campaign. Niger_sentence_161

Meanwhile, Maïnassara instigated an IMF and World Bank-approved privatisation programme which enriched many of his supporters but were opposed by the trade unions. Niger_sentence_162

Following fraudulent local elections in 1999 the opposition ceased any cooperation with the Maïnassara regime. Niger_sentence_163

In unclear circumstance (possibly attempting to flee the country), Maïnassara was assassinated at Niamey Airport on 9 April 1999. Niger_sentence_164

Maj. Daouda Malam Wanké then took over, establishing a transitional National Reconciliation Council to oversee the drafting of a constitution with a French-style semi-presidential system. Niger_sentence_165

This was adopted on 9 August 1999 and was followed by presidential and legislative elections in October and November of the same year. Niger_sentence_166

The elections were generally found to be free and fair by international observers. Niger_sentence_167

Wanké then withdrew from governmental affairs. Niger_sentence_168

Fifth Republic (1999–2009) Niger_section_15

After winning the election in November 1999, President Tandja Mamadou was sworn in office on 22 December 1999 as the first president of the Fifth Republic. Niger_sentence_169

Mamadou brought about many administrative and economic reforms that had been halted due to the military coups since the Third Republic, as well as helped peacefully resolve a decades-long boundary dispute with Benin. Niger_sentence_170

In August 2002, serious unrest within military camps occurred in Niamey, Diffa, and Nguigmi, but the government was able to restore order within several days. Niger_sentence_171

On 24 July 2004, the first municipal elections in the history of Niger were held to elect local representatives, previously appointed by the government. Niger_sentence_172

These elections were followed by presidential elections, in which Mamadou was re-elected for a second term, thus becoming the first president of the republic to win consecutive elections without being deposed by military coups. Niger_sentence_173

The legislative and executive configuration remained quite similar to that of the first term of the President: Hama Amadou was reappointed as Prime Minister and Mahamane Ousmane, the head of the CDS party, was re-elected as the President of the National Assembly (parliament) by his peers. Niger_sentence_174

By 2007, the relationship between President Tandja Mamadou and his prime minister had deteriorated, leading to the replacement of the latter in June 2007 by Seyni Oumarou following a successful vote of no confidence at the Assembly. Niger_sentence_175

The political environment worsened in the following year as President Tandja Mamadou sought out to extend his presidency by modifying the constitution which limited presidential terms in Niger. Niger_sentence_176

Proponents of the extended presidency, rallied behind the 'Tazartche' (Hausa for 'overstay') movement, were countered by opponents ('anti-Tazartche') composed of opposition party militants and civil society activists. Niger_sentence_177

The situation in the north also deteriorated significantly in this period, resulting in the outbreak of a Second Tuareg Rebellion in 2007 led by the Mouvement des Nigériens pour la justice (MNJ). Niger_sentence_178

Despite a number of high-profile kidnappings the rebellion had largely fizzled out inconclusively by 2009. Niger_sentence_179

However the poor security situation in the region is thought to have allowed elements of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) to gain a foothold in the country. Niger_sentence_180

Sixth Republic and fourth military regime (2009–2010) Niger_section_16

In 2009, President Tandja Mamadou decided to organize a constitutional referendum seeking to extend his presidency, which was opposed by other political parties, as well as being against the decision of the Constitutional Court which had ruled that the referendum would be unconstitutional. Niger_sentence_181

Mamadou then modified and adopted a new constitution by referendum, which was declared illegal by the Constitutional Court, prompting Mamadou to dissolve the Court and assume emergency powers. Niger_sentence_182

The opposition boycotted the referendum and the new constitution was adopted with 92.5% of voters and a 68% turnout, according to official results. Niger_sentence_183

The adoption of the new constitution created a Sixth Republic, with a presidential system, as well as the suspension of the 1999 Constitution and a three-year interim government with Tandja Mamadou as president. Niger_sentence_184

The events generated severe political and social unrest throughout the country. Niger_sentence_185

In a coup d'état in February 2010, a military junta led by captain Salou Djibo was established in response to Tandja's attempted extension of his political term by modifying the constitution. Niger_sentence_186

The Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy, led by General Salou Djibo, carried out a one-year transition plan, drafted a new constitution and held elections in 2011 that were judged internationally as free and fair. Niger_sentence_187

Seventh Republic (2010–present) Niger_section_17

Following the adoption of a new constitution in 2010 and presidential elections a year later, Mahamadou Issoufou was elected as the first president of the Seventh Republic; he was then re-elected in 2016. Niger_sentence_188

The constitution also restored the semi-presidential system which had been abolished a year earlier. Niger_sentence_189

An attempted coup against him in 2011 was thwarted and its ringleaders arrested. Niger_sentence_190

Issoufou's time in office has been marked by numerous threats to the country's security, stemming from the fallout from the Libyan Civil War and Northern Mali conflict, a rise in attacks by AQIM, the use of Niger as a transit country for migrants (often organised by criminal gangs), and the spillover of Nigeria's Boko Haram insurgency into south-eastern Niger. Niger_sentence_191

French and American forces are currently assisting Niger in countering these threats. Niger_sentence_192

Geography, climate, and ecology Niger_section_18

Main article: Geography of Niger Niger_sentence_193

Niger is a landlocked nation in West Africa located along the border between the Sahara and Sub-Saharan regions. Niger_sentence_194

It borders Nigeria and Benin to the south, Burkina Faso and Mali to the west, Algeria and Libya to the north and Chad to the east. Niger_sentence_195

Niger lies between latitudes 11° and 24°N, and longitudes and 16°E. Niger_sentence_196

Niger's area is 1,267,000 square kilometres (489,191 sq mi) of which 300 square kilometres (116 sq mi) is water. Niger_sentence_197

This makes it slightly less than twice the size of France, and the world's twenty-second largest country. Niger_sentence_198

Niger borders seven countries and has a total perimeter of 5,697 kilometres (3,540 mi). Niger_sentence_199

The longest border is with Nigeria to the south (1,497 km or 930 mi). Niger_sentence_200

This is followed by Chad to the east, at 1,175 km (730 mi), Algeria to the north-northwest (956 km or 594 mi), and Mali at 821 km (510 mi). Niger_sentence_201

Niger also has small borders in its far southwest with Burkina Faso at 628 km (390 mi) and Benin at 266 km (165 mi) and to the north-northeast Libya at 354 km (220 mi). Niger_sentence_202

The lowest point is the Niger River, with an elevation of 200 metres (656 ft). Niger_sentence_203

The highest point is Mont Idoukal-n-Taghès in the Aïr Mountains at 2,022 m (6,634 ft). Niger_sentence_204

Climate Niger_section_19

Niger's climate is mainly very hot and very dry, with much desert area. Niger_sentence_205

In the extreme south there is a tropical climate on the edges of the Niger River basin. Niger_sentence_206

The terrain is predominantly desert plains and sand dunes, with flat to rolling savanna in the south and hills in the north. Niger_sentence_207

Environment Niger_section_20

Further information: Wildlife of Niger Niger_sentence_208

The north of Niger is covered by large deserts and semi deserts. Niger_sentence_209

The typical mammal fauna consists of addax antelopes, scimitar-horned oryx, gazelles, and in the mountains, Barbary sheep. Niger_sentence_210

One of the largest reserves of the world, the Aïr and Ténéré National Nature Reserve, was founded in the northern parts of the Niger to protect these rare species. Niger_sentence_211

The southern parts of Niger are naturally dominated savannahs. Niger_sentence_212

The W National Park, situated in the bordering area to Burkina Faso and Benin, belongs to one of the most important areas for wildlife in Western Africa, which is called the WAP (W–ArliPendjari) Complex. Niger_sentence_213

It has the most important population of the rare West African lion and one of the last populations of the Northwest African cheetah. Niger_sentence_214

Other wildlife includes elephants, buffaloes, roan antelopes, kob antelopes and warthogs. Niger_sentence_215

The West African giraffe is currently not found in the W National Park, but further north in Niger, where it has its last relict population. Niger_sentence_216

Environmental issues in Niger include destructive farming practices as a result of population pressure. Niger_sentence_217

Illegal hunting, bush fires in some areas and human encroachment upon the flood plains of the Niger River for paddy cultivation are environmental issues. Niger_sentence_218

Dams constructed on the Niger River in the neighboring countries of Mali and Guinea and also within Niger itself are also cited as a reason for a reduction of water flow in the Niger River—which has a direct effect upon the environment. Niger_sentence_219

A lack of adequate staff to guard wildlife in the parks and reserves is another factor cited for loss of wildlife. Niger_sentence_220

Governance and politics Niger_section_21

Economy Niger_section_22

Main article: Economy of Niger Niger_sentence_221

The economy of Niger centers on subsistence crops, livestock, and some of the world's largest uranium deposits. Niger_sentence_222

Drought cycles, desertification, a 2.9% population growth rate, and the drop in world demand for uranium have undercut the economy. Niger_sentence_223

Niger shares a common currency, the CFA franc, and a common central bank, the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), with seven other members of the West African Monetary Union. Niger_sentence_224

Niger is also a member of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA). Niger_sentence_225

In December 2000, Niger qualified for enhanced debt relief under the International Monetary Fund program for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and concluded an agreement with the Fund for Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). Niger_sentence_226

Debt relief provided under the enhanced HIPC initiative significantly reduces Niger's annual debt service obligations, freeing funds for expenditures on basic health care, primary education, HIV/AIDS prevention, rural infrastructure, and other programs geared at poverty reduction. Niger_sentence_227

In December 2005, it was announced that Niger had received 100% multilateral debt relief from the IMF, which translates into the forgiveness of approximately US$86 million in debts to the IMF, excluding the remaining assistance under HIPC. Niger_sentence_228

Nearly half of the government's budget is derived from foreign donor resources. Niger_sentence_229

Future growth may be sustained by exploitation of oil, gold, coal, and other mineral resources. Niger_sentence_230

Uranium prices have recovered somewhat in the last few years. Niger_sentence_231

A drought and locust infestation in 2005 led to food shortages for as many as 2.5 million Nigeriens. Niger_sentence_232

Society Niger_section_23

Demographics Niger_section_24

Main article: Demographics of Niger Niger_sentence_233

As of 2018, the population of Niger was 22,442,831. Niger_sentence_234

Expanding from a population of 3.4 million in 1960, Niger's population has rapidly increased with a current growth rate of 3.3% (7.1 children per mother). Niger_sentence_235

This growth rate is one of the highest in the world and is a source of concern for the government and international agencies. Niger_sentence_236

The population is predominantly young, with 49.2% under 15 years old and 2.7% over 65 years, and predominantly rural with only 21% living in urban areas. Niger_sentence_237

A 2005 study stated that over 800,000 people (nearly 8% of the population) in Niger are enslaved. Niger_sentence_238

Urban settlements Niger_section_25

Ethnic groups Niger_section_26

Main articles: Hausa people, Zarma people, Tuareg people, Fula people, Kanuri people, Tubu people, Diffa Arabs, and Gurma people Niger_sentence_239

Niger has a wide variety of ethnic groups as in most West African countries. Niger_sentence_240

The ethnic makeup of Niger in 2001 is as follows: Hausa (55.4%), Zarma-Songhai (21%), Tuareg (9.3%), Fula (French: Peuls; Fula: Fulɓe) (8.5%), Kanuri Manga (4.7%), Tubu (0.4%), Arab (0.4%), Gourmantche (0.4%), other (0.1%). Niger_sentence_241

The Zarma-Songhai dominate the Dosso, Tillabéri, and Niamey régions, the Hausa dominate the Zinder, Maradi, and Tahoua regions, Kanuri Manga dominate the Diffa region, and Touaregs dominate the Agadez region in Northern Niger. Niger_sentence_242

Languages Niger_section_27

Main article: Languages of Niger Niger_sentence_243

French, inherited from the colonial period, is the official language. Niger_sentence_244

It is spoken mainly as a second language by people who have received a formal western education and serves as the administrative language. Niger_sentence_245

Niger has been a member of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie since 1970. Niger_sentence_246

Niger has ten recognized national languages, namely Arabic, Buduma, Fulfulde, Gourmanchéma, Hausa, Kanuri, Zarma & Songhai, Tamasheq, Tassawaq, Tebu. Niger_sentence_247

Each is spoken as a first language primarily by the ethnic group with which it is associated. Niger_sentence_248

Hausa and Zarma-Songhai, the two most spoken languages, are widely spoken throughout the country as first or second languages. Niger_sentence_249

Religion Niger_section_28

Main article: Religion in Niger Niger_sentence_250

Niger is a secular country and separation of state and religion is guaranteed by Articles 3 and 175 of the 2010 Constitution, which dictate that future amendments or revisions may not modify the secular nature of the republic of Niger. Niger_sentence_251

Religious freedom is protected by Article 30 of the same constitution. Niger_sentence_252

Islam, widespread in the region since the 10th century, has greatly shaped the culture and mores of the people of Niger. Niger_sentence_253

Islam is the most dominant religion, practiced by 99.3% of the population according to the 2012 census. Niger_sentence_254

The other two main religions of Niger are Christianity, practiced by 0.3% of the population, and Animism (traditional indigenous religious beliefs), practiced by 0.2% of the population. Niger_sentence_255

Christianity was established earlier in the country by missionaries during the French colonial years. Niger_sentence_256

Other urban Christian expatriate communities from Europe and West Africa are also presented. Niger_sentence_257

Religious persecution is rare in Niger which is ranked last (#50) on the World Watch List for severity of persecution that Christians face for actively pursuing their faith. Niger_sentence_258

The numbers of Animist practitioners are a point of contention. Niger_sentence_259

As recently as the late 19th century, much of the south center of the nation was unreached by Islam, and the conversion of some rural areas has been only partial. Niger_sentence_260

There are still areas where animist based festivals and traditions (such as the Bori religion) are practiced by syncretic Muslim communities (in some Hausa areas as well as among some Toubou and Wodaabe pastoralists), as opposed to several small communities who maintain their pre-Islamic religion. Niger_sentence_261

These include the Hausa-speaking Maouri (or Azna, the Hausa word for "pagan") community in Dogondoutci in the south-southwest and the Kanuri speaking Manga near Zinder, both of whom practice variations of the pre-Islamic Hausa Maguzawa religion. Niger_sentence_262

There are also some tiny Boudouma and Songhay animist communities in the southwest. Niger_sentence_263

Islam Niger_section_29

Main article: Islam in Niger Niger_sentence_264

The majority of Muslims in Niger are Sunni, 7% are Shi'a, 5% are Ahmadiyya and 20% non-denominational. Niger_sentence_265

Islam was spread into what is now Niger beginning in the 15th century, by both the expansion of the Songhai Empire in the west, and the influence of the Trans-Saharan trade traveling from the Maghreb and Egypt. Niger_sentence_266

Tuareg expansion from the north, culminating in their seizure of the far eastern oases from the Kanem-Bornu Empire in the 17th centuries, spread distinctively Berber practices. Niger_sentence_267

Both Zarma and Hausa areas were greatly influenced by the 18th- and 19th-century Fula led Sufi brotherhoods, most notably the Sokoto Caliphate (in today's Nigeria). Niger_sentence_268

Modern Muslim practice in Niger is often tied to the Tijaniya Sufi brotherhoods, although there are small minority groups tied to Hammallism and Nyassist Sufi orders in the west, and the Sanusiya in the far northeast. Niger_sentence_269

A small center of followers of Salafi movement within Sunni Islam have appeared in the last thirty years, in the capital and in Maradi. Niger_sentence_270

These small groups, linked to similar groups in Jos, Nigeria, came to public prominence in the 1990s during a series of religious riots. Niger_sentence_271

Despite this, Niger maintains a tradition as a secular state, protected by law. Niger_sentence_272

Interfaith relations are deemed very good, and the forms of Islam traditionally practiced in most of the country are marked by tolerance of other faiths and lack of restrictions on personal freedom. Niger_sentence_273

Divorce and polygyny are unremarkable, women are not secluded, and head coverings are not mandatory—they are often a rarity in urban areas. Niger_sentence_274

Alcohol, such as the locally produced Bière Niger, is sold openly in most of the country. Niger_sentence_275

Education Niger_section_30

Main article: Education in Niger Niger_sentence_276

The literacy rate of Niger is among the lowest in the world; in 2005 it was estimated to be only 28.7% (42.9% male and 15.1% female). Niger_sentence_277

Primary education in Niger is compulsory for six years. Niger_sentence_278

The primary school enrollment and attendance rates are low, particularly for girls. Niger_sentence_279

In 1997, the gross primary enrollment rate was 29.3 percent, and in 1996, the net primary enrollment rate was 24.5 percent. Niger_sentence_280

About 60 percent of children who finish primary schools are boys, as the majority of girls rarely attend school for more than a few years. Niger_sentence_281

Children are often forced to work rather than attend school, particularly during planting or harvest periods. Niger_sentence_282

Nomadic children in the north of the country often do not have access to schools. Niger_sentence_283

Health Niger_section_31

Main article: Health in Niger Niger_sentence_284

The child mortality rate in Niger (deaths among children between the ages of 1 and 4) is high (248 per 1,000) due to generally poor health conditions and inadequate nutrition for most of the country's children. Niger_sentence_285

According to the organization Save the Children, Niger has the world's highest infant mortality rate. Niger_sentence_286

Niger also has the highest fertility rate in the world (6.49 births per woman according to 2017 estimates); this means that nearly half (49%) of the Nigerien population is under age 15. Niger_sentence_287

Niger has the 11th highest maternal mortality rate in the world at 820 deaths/100,000 live births. Niger_sentence_288

There were 3 physicians and 22 nurses per 100,000 persons in 2006. Niger_sentence_289

Culture Niger_section_32

Main article: Culture of Niger Niger_sentence_290

Nigerien culture is marked by variation, evidence of the cultural crossroads which French colonialism formed into a unified state from the beginning of the 20th century. Niger_sentence_291

What is now Niger was created from four distinct cultural areas in the pre-colonial era: the Zarma dominated Niger River valley in the southwest; the northern periphery of Hausaland, made mostly of those states which had resisted the Sokoto Caliphate, and ranged along the long southern border with Nigeria; the Lake Chad basin and Kaouar in the far east, populated by Kanuri farmers and Toubou pastoralists who had once been part of the Kanem-Bornu Empire; and the Tuareg nomads of the Aïr Mountains and Saharan desert in the vast north. Niger_sentence_292

Each of these communities, along with smaller ethnic groups like the pastoral Wodaabe Fula, brought their own cultural traditions to the new state of Niger. Niger_sentence_293

While successive post-independence governments have tried to forge a shared national culture, this has been slow forming, in part because the major Nigerien communities have their own cultural histories, and in part because Nigerien ethnic groups such as the Hausa, Tuareg and Kanuri are but part of larger ethnic communities which cross borders introduced under colonialism. Niger_sentence_294

Until the 1990s, government and politics was inordinately dominated by Niamey and the Zarma people of the surrounding region. Niger_sentence_295

At the same time the plurality of the population, in the Hausa borderlands between Birni-N'Konni and Maine-Soroa, have often looked culturally more to Hausaland in Nigeria than Niamey. Niger_sentence_296

Between 1996 and 2003, primary school attendance was around 30%, including 36% of males and only 25% of females. Niger_sentence_297

Additional education occurs through madrasas. Niger_sentence_298

Festivals and cultural events Niger_section_33

Guérewol festival Niger_section_34

Main article: Guérewol Niger_sentence_299

The Guérewol festival is a traditional Wodaabe cultural event that takes place in Abalak in Tahoua region or In'Gall in Agadez Region. Niger_sentence_300

It is an annual traditional courtship ritual practiced by the Wodaabe (Fula) people of Niger. Niger_sentence_301

During this ceremony, young men dressed in elaborate ornamentation and made up in traditional face painting gather in lines to dance and sing, vying for the attention of marriageable young women. Niger_sentence_302

The Guérewol festival is an international attraction and was featured in films and magazines as prominent as the National Geographic. Niger_sentence_303

Cure Salée festival Niger_section_35

Main article: Cure Salee Niger_sentence_304

"La Cure salée" (English: Salt Cure) is a yearly festival of Tuareg and Wodaabe nomads in In'Gall in Agadez Region traditionally to celebrate the end of the rainy season. Niger_sentence_305

For three days, the festival features a parade of Tuareg camel riders followed with camel and horse races, songs, dances, and storytelling. Niger_sentence_306

Media Niger_section_36

Main article: Media of Niger Niger_sentence_307

Niger began developing diverse media in the late 1990s. Niger_sentence_308

Prior to the Third Republic, Nigeriens only had access to tightly controlled state media. Niger_sentence_309

Now Niamey contains scores of newspapers and magazines; some, like Le Sahel, are government operated, while many are critical of the government. Niger_sentence_310

Radio is the most important medium, as television sets are beyond the buying power of many of the rural poor, and illiteracy prevents print media from becoming a mass medium. Niger_sentence_311

In addition to the national and regional radio services of the state broadcaster ORTN, there are four privately owned radio networks which total more than 100 stations. Niger_sentence_312

Three of them—the Anfani Group, Sarounia and Tenere—are urban-based commercial-format FM networks in the major towns. Niger_sentence_313

There is also a network of over 80 community radio stations spread across all seven regions of the country, governed by the Comité de Pilotage de Radios de Proximité (CPRP), a civil society organisation. Niger_sentence_314

The independent-sector radio networks are collectively estimated by CPRP officials to cover some 7.6 million people, or about 73% of the population (2005). Niger_sentence_315

Aside from Nigerien radio stations, the BBC's Hausa service is listened to on FM repeaters across wide parts of the country, particularly in the south, close to the border with Nigeria. Niger_sentence_316

Radio France Internationale also rebroadcasts in French through some of the commercial stations, via satellite. Niger_sentence_317

Tenere FM also runs a national independent television station of the same name. Niger_sentence_318

Despite relative freedom at the national level, Nigerien journalists say they are often pressured by local authorities. Niger_sentence_319

The state ORTN network depends financially on the government, partly through a surcharge on electricity bills, and partly through direct subsidy. Niger_sentence_320

The sector is governed by the Conseil Supérieur de Communications, established as an independent body in the early 1990s, since 2007 headed by Daouda Diallo. Niger_sentence_321

International human rights groups have criticised the government since at least 1996 as using regulation and police to punish criticism of the state. Niger_sentence_322

See also Niger_section_37


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