Niger sits in Western Africa, between Nigeria, Algeria, Mali, Libya and Chad. This small country is land-locked, but the Niger River flows through the country to reach the ocean. Most of Niger is desert and the country frequently suffers drought. A five-year drought in the 1960s destroyed farms and killed livestock. People don’t always have enough to eat here and there are few doctors. Many people cannot read.
Niger was ruled by France for many years. After it gained independence in 1960, it suffered years of conflict. Today, the country has a democratic constitution and is working toward peace. Niger abolished slavery in 2003, although some people still keep slaves.
- 16.6 million people live in Niger.
- The country has 489,000 square miles of land.
- The major languages include French, Arabic, Hausa, and Songhai.
- Islam is the main religion. Some people keep their native beliefs.
- People in Niger can expect to live 55 years due to poor health care, rampant disease and lack of food.
- Landlock: surrounded by land
- Drought: lack of rain
- Livestock: farm animals
- Conflict: fighting, disagreement
- Abolish: ban, get rid of
- Rampant: common, widespread and difficult to control
Visit the BBC to learn more about Niger.
Question: What is Niger’s chief product?
Answer: Many people in Niger are farmers. Niger is also a rich source of uranium.