Portal:Niger

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Introduction

Flag of Niger.svg

Niger or the Niger (/nˈʒɛər/ or /ˈnər/ (About this sound 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. 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.

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Aïr Mountains
Credit: Jacques Taberlet

The Aïr Mountains, Niger.

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Sahara satellite hires.jpg

The Sahara (Arabic: الصحراء الكبرى‎, aṣ-ṣaḥrā´ al-kubra, "The Greatest Desert") is the world's largest hot desert. At over 9,000,000 square kilometres (3,500,000 sq mi), it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as the United States or the continent of Europe. The desert stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean. To the south, it is delimited by the Sahel: a belt of semi-arid tropical savanna that comprises the northern region of central and western Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Sahara has an intermittent history that may go back as much as 3 million years. Some of the sand dunes can reach 180 metres (600 ft) in height. The name comes from the Arabic word for desert: (صَحراء), "ṣaḥrā´" (About this sound صحراء ; /sˤɑħrɑːʔ/). The Sahara's boundaries are the Atlantic Ocean on the west, the Atlas Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea on the north, the Red Sea and Egypt on the east, and the Sudan and the valley of the Niger River on the south. The Sahara is divided into western Sahara, the central Ahaggar Mountains, the Tibesti Mountains, the Aïr Mountains, Ténéré desert and the Libyan desert.

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1997 275-15 young Wodaabe women.jpg
Credit: Dan Lundberg

Young Wodaabe women in Niger.

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Selected biography

Ali Badjo Gamatie, IMF 62ph020928hl.jpg

Ali Badjo Gamatié is a Nigerien politician and civil servant who served as Prime Minister of Niger from October 2009 to February 2010. He was Finance Minister of Niger from 2000 to 2003 and then served as Vice-Governor of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) before being appointed as Prime Minister by President Mamadou Tandja.

In the first government of Prime Minister Hama Amadou, which was named on 5 January 2000, Gamatié was included as Minister of Finance. As Finance Minister, Gamatié was an international advocate for the total cancellation of foreign debts of Niger and other Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC). He was involved in IMF negotiations on the debt status of these nations. As Finance Minister he also raised questions about the accountability and representativeness of non-governmental organizations and civil society groups operating in Niger and elsewhere. Gamatié was Prime Minister for only a few months, as Tandja was overthrown in a February 2010 military coup.

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