Agadez Region

Last updated
Desert near Arakao
Agadez in Niger.svg
Location within Niger
Coordinates: 17°0′N8°0′E / 17.000°N 8.000°E / 17.000; 8.000 Coordinates: 17°0′N8°0′E / 17.000°N 8.000°E / 17.000; 8.000
Country Flag of Niger.svg  Niger
Capital Agadez
  Governor Sadou Soloké
  Total667,799 km2 (257,839 sq mi)
 (2012 census [1] )
  Density0.73/km2 (1.9/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+1 (West Africa Time)
HDI (2017)0.450 [2]

Agadez Region is one of the eight Regions of Niger. At 667,799 square kilometres (257,839 sq mi), it covers more than half of Niger's land area, and is the largest region in the country, as well as the largest African state subdivision. The capital of the department is Agadez.



The region is a centre for palaeontology, with numerous dinosaur skeletons being found here, including the Ouranosaurus nigeriensis . [3] Cave painting and the remains of ancient human settlements are also located here. [3] Tuareg peoples began migrating to the region from the mid-8th century. [3] From the mid-15th century to the early 20th, much of the region was under the control of the Sultanate of Agadez, except for a period when the area came under the rule of the Songhai Empire in the 1500s. [3]

The region suffered with the advent of French colonialism as power shifted away to the southwest; Tuareg disaffection with French rule resulted in the Kaocen revolt in 1916-17. [3] This process continued following Niger's independence in 1960; local Tuareg saw little recompense from the uranium mining boom in Arlit in the 1970s, and Agadez Region was struck by repeated draughts and famines. [3] Since then there have been two Tuareg rebellions: from 1990-95 and 2007-09. [3] In recent years the region has also been affected by the actions of Islamist groups.


Agadez Region borders Algeria (Tamanrasset Province and Illizi Province) and Libya (Murzuq District) to the north, Chad to the east, Diffa Region, Zinder Region, Tahoua Region and Maradi Region to the south, and Mali (Kidal Region) to the west. It is by far the largest region of the country, representing 52% of the total area of Niger. The region is dominated by the Sahara desert, and includes the vast Ténéré portion of that desert, as well as dune seas such as the Erg of Bilma. [3] The Aïr Mountains, the tallest peaks in Niger, are also located here. [3] The Djado Plateau is located in the far north.


Agadez is the regional capital; other major settlements include Aderbissinat, Arlit, Assamakka, Bilma, Dirkou, Iferouane, In-Gall, Madama, Séguedine, Tchirozerine, Tegguiada In Tessoum and Timia. [4]

Administrative subdivisions

Agadez is divided into three Departments and one Commune.

Departments of Agadez Agadez Arrondissements.png
Departments of Agadez
Administrative Subdivisions
Agadez .......78 289 inhabitants
DepartmentSizePopulationChief TownCantons
Arlit 216 774 km298 170 inhabitants Arlit
Bilma 296 279 km217 080 inhabitants Bilma Bilma, Djado, Fachi, Kawar
Tchirozérine 154 746 km2118 068 inhabitants Tchirozérine


Despite its size, Agadez is sparsely populated. Its 487,620 inhabitants (as per the 2012 census) [1] account for only 2.8% of the total population of Niger, with a population density of 0.73 inhabitants per square kilometre (1.9/sq mi). Much of its population comprises nomadic or semi-nomadic peoples, including Arabs, Fulani, Kanuri, Dazaga Toubou and various Tuareg groups. The Tagdal language and Tasawaq language, thought to be mixed Songhai-Tuareg languages, are also spoken. [5]

Historical population
source: [6]


The Air Mountains near Timia Timia valley.JPG
The Aïr Mountains near Timia

Traversed for centuries by the Trans Saharan trade routes, the oasis towns of the Aïr and the eastern Kaouar Cliffs are known for their gardens, salt manufacture, and date cultivation. Arlit is the centre of Niger's uranium industry, a prominent economic sector in the region with uranium pits and mines operated by foreign companies providing substantial revenue for the country. The French discovered Niger's first uranium deposits in the Tim Mersoi Basin of the Agadez Region in 1958 and since then French companies such as Areva have maintained a large footprint in the region, employing a large quantity of locals. [7] [8] Depressed uranium prices since the 1980s have hit the region hard, though uranium remains one of the main foreign exchange earners for the country.

Agadez had historically been one of the main centres of tourism in Niger, with visitors attracted by the desert scenery, archaeological sites and the Air Mountains. However Tuareg rebellions and activities of Islamist militants in Agadez region have severely reduced the numbers of tourists, with most third party governments advising against travel to the region. [9]

See also

Related Research Articles

Niger Country in West Africa

Niger or the Niger, officially the Republic of the Niger, is a landlocked country in West Africa named after the Niger River. Niger is bordered by Libya to the northeast, Chad to the east, Nigeria to the south, Benin and Burkina Faso to the southwest, 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 Muslim population of about 22 million live mostly in clusters in the far south and west of the country. The capital and largest city is Niamey, located in Niger's southwest corner.

Geography of Niger

Niger is a landlocked nation in West Africa located along the border between the Sahara and Sub-Saharan regions. Its geographic coordinates are longitude 16°N and latitude 8°E. Its area is 1.267 million square kilometers, of which 1 266 700 km² is land and 300 km² water, making Niger slightly less than twice the size of France.

Aïr Mountains Mountain range in Niger

The Aïr Mountains or Aïr Massif is a triangular massif, located in northern Niger, within the Sahara Desert. Part of the West Saharan montane xeric woodlands ecoregion, they rise to more than 1,800 m (5,900 ft) and extend over 84,000 km2 (32,000 sq mi). Lying in the midst of desert north of the 17th parallel, the Aïr plateau, with an average altitude between 500 and 900 m, forms an island of Sahel climate which supports a wide variety of life, many pastoral and farming communities, and dramatic geological and archaeological sites. There are notable archaeological excavations in the region that illustrate the prehistoric past of this region. The endangered painted hunting dog once existed in this region, but may now be extirpated due to human population pressures in this region.

Agadez City in Agadez Region, Niger

Agadez, formerly spelled Agadès, is the fifth largest city in Niger, with a population of 110,497 based on the 2012 census. The capital of Agadez Region, it lies in the Sahara desert, and is also the capital of Aïr, one of the traditional Tuareg–Berber federations. The historic centre of the town has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Bilma Commune in Agadez Region, Niger

Bilma is an oasis town and commune in north east Niger with, as of the 2012 census, a total population of 4,016 people. It lies protected from the desert dunes under the Kaouar Cliffs and is the largest town along the Kaouar escarpment. It is known for its gardens, for salt and natron production through evaporation ponds, date cultivation, and as the destination of one of the last Saharan caravan routes.

Arlit Place in Agadez Region, Niger

Arlit is an industrial town and capital of the Arlit Department of the Agadez Region of northern-central Niger, built between the Sahara Desert and the eastern edge of the Aïr Mountains. It is 200 km south by road from the border with Algeria. As of 2011, the commune had a total population of 112,432 people.

Tuareg rebellion (1990–1995)

From 1990 to 1995, a rebellion by various Tuareg groups took place in Niger and Mali, with the aim of achieving autonomy or forming their own nation-state. The insurgency occurred in a period following the regional famine of the 1980s and subsequent refugee crisis, and a time of generalised political repression and crisis in both nations. The conflict is one in a series of Tuareg-based insurgencies in the colonial and post-colonial history of these nations. In Niger, it is also referred to as the Second or Third Tuareg Rebellion, a reference to the pre-independence rebellions of Ag Mohammed Wau Teguidda Kaocen of the Aïr Mountains in 1914 and the rising of Firhoun of Ikazkazan in 1911, who reappeared in Mali in 1916. In fact the nomadic Tuareg confederations have come into sporadic conflict with the sedentary communities of the region ever since they migrated from the Maghreb between the 7th and 14th centuries CE. Some Tuareg wished for an independent Tuareg Nation to be formed when French Colonialism ended. This combined with dissatisfaction over the new governments led some Tuareg in Northern Mali to rebel in 1963.


The Azalai is a semi-annual salt caravan route practiced by Tuareg traders in the Sahara desert between Timbuktu and the Taoudenni salt mine in Mali, or the act of traveling with a caravan along that route.

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Assamakka Place in Agadez Region, Niger

Assamakka is a small desert town in northern Niger at a main border crossing with Algeria. It is the only official crossing point between the two nations. Assamakka shares the border with the larger town of In Guezzam 10 km on the Algerian side. A main road extends north in Algeria to Tamanrasset, 400 km away. Assamakka is connected to the town of Arlit, 200 km to the south by a road which remains in largely a sand "Piste". From Arlit, the "Uranium Highway", a tarred road built in the 1970s for mining trucks, travels south to Agadez and Niamey.

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In-Gall Place in Agadez Region, Niger

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Tuareg rebellion (2007–2009)

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Aouderas Place in Agadez Region, Niger

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Iferouane oasis town in Agadez Department, Niger

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Akokan, Niger Place in Arlit Department, Niger

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  1. 1 2 Niger at Geohive Archived 2015-04-20 at the Wayback Machine
  2. "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab". Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Geels, Jolijn, (2006) Bradt Travel Guide - Niger, pgs. 157-200
  4. "Niger: Region D'agadez: Carte référentielle (25 Juin 2014)" (PDF). UNOCHA . Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  5. "Languages of Niger". Ethnologue . Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  6. Niger: Administrative Division population statistics
  7. Michael Klare (13 March 2012). The Race for What's Left: The Global Scramble for the World's Last Resources. Henry Holt and Company. pp. 192–. ISBN   978-1-4299-7330-4.
  8. International Business Publications, USA (3 March 2008). Niger Mining Laws and Regulations Handbook. Int'l Business Publications. pp. 67–. ISBN   978-1-4330-7798-2.
  9. Australian DFAT Travel Advice - Niger, 5 October 2019