Geography of Niger

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Geography of Niger
Niger sm03.png

Continent Africa
Region Western Africa
Coordinates 16°00′N08°00′E / 16.000°N 8.000°E / 16.000; 8.000
Area Ranked 22nd
  Total1,266,700 km2 (489,100 sq mi)
Coastline0 km (0 mi)
BordersLand boundaries:
Algeria 951 km
Benin 277 km
Burkina Faso 622 km
Chad 1,196 km
Libya 342 km
Mali 838 km
Nigeria 1,608 km [1]
Irrigated land736.6 km² (2005)
Total renewable water resources33.65 km3 (2011)
Highest point Mont Idoukal-n-Taghès, 2,022 m
Lowest point Niger River, 200 m
Climate Desert to tropical
TerrainMostly desert plains and sand dunes, hills in the north
Natural resources Uranium, coal, iron ore, tin, phosphates, gold, molybdenum, gypsum, salt, petroleum
Natural hazardsRecurring droughts
Environmental issues Overgrazing, soil erosion, deforestation, poaching

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. [1]


Brief history

Niger, which attained independence from France in 1960 was under military regime till 1991. On public demand Gen. Ali Saibou held multiparty elections in 1993 and soon democracy came into effect in 1993. However, political unrest was caused by Col. Ibrahim Bare who staged a coup in 1996, but he later died in a counter insurgency operations by officers of the military establishment in 1999. This was followed by fresh elections for a democratic rule, and Mamadou Tandja assumed power in December 1999. Tandja, who won the elections in 2004 and in 2009, wanted to bring about a constitutional amendment to extend his tenure as president. However, in February 2010, he was removed from the post of the president in a coup engineered by the military and the constitution was annulled. Soon after, in 2011, elections were held and Mahamadou Issoufou got elected as the president and was sworn in April 2011. [1] Niger’s problem with rebellious groups continued during 2007 and 2008. Rebellion was controlled. However, its security problems with its neighbors such as Libya, Nigeria and Mali have been a cause for concern [1]


Niger, with a land area of 1.267 million km2, is a land locked country which is bounded with a land boundary of 5,834 km by seven countries: Algeria (951 km), Benin (277 km), Burkina Faso (622 km), Chad (1,196 km), Libya (342 km), Mali (838 km, and Nigeria (1,608) km. [1]


Niger is divided into 7 Regions (French: régions; singular région). Each department's capital is the same as its name.

A clickable map of Niger exhibiting its seven regions. Niger Departments.png
A clickable map of Niger exhibiting its seven regions.
(km2) [2]
(2012 census)
Agadez 667,799487,620
Diffa 156,906593,821
Dosso 33,8442,037,713
Maradi 41,7963,402,094
Niamey 4021,026,848
Tahoua 113,3713,328,365
Tillabéri 97,2512,722,842
Zinder 155,7783,539,764


The pre-2011 36 Departments of Niger. A further 27 were then carved out of existing divisions. Niger arrondissements.png
The pre-2011 36 Departments of Niger. A further 27 were then carved out of existing divisions.

The Regions of Niger are subdivided into 63 Departments.


The 63 Departments are broken down into Communes. As of 2006 there were 265 communes, including communes urbaines (Urban Communes: centred in or as subdivisions of cities of over 10000), communes rurales (Rural Communes) centred in cities of under 10,000 and/or sparsely populated areas, and a variety of traditional (clan or tribal) bodies amongst semi-nomadic populations.



Physical geography

Agricultural geography

A satellite image depicting the physical geography of Niger Niger sat.png
A satellite image depicting the physical geography of Niger

Some of the land in Niger is used as arable land (660 km² of land in Niger is irrigated) and as pasture. There are some forests and woodland. The table below describes land use in Niger, as of 2011.

Land use
UsePercentage of Area
Arable land11.79 [1]
Permanent crops0.05 [1]
Other88.16 [1]


Koppen climate classification map of Niger Niger map of Koppen climate classification.svg
Köppen climate classification map of Niger

Niger's climate is largely hot and dry, with most of the country in a desert region. The terrain is predominantly desert plains and sand dunes. There are also large plains in the south and hills in the north. In the extreme south, there is a tropical climate near the edges of the Niger River Basin. Lake Chad at the southeast corner of the country is shared between Niger, Nigeria, Chad, and Cameroon.

Current issues

Current environmental issues in Niger include overgrazing, soil erosion, deforestation, desertification, recurring droughts, and endangered wildlife populations (such as the African elephant, Northwest African cheetah, West African giraffe, and Addax), which are threatened because of poaching and habitat destruction. [3]

Natural hazards

The Sahel region is a belt up to 1,000 km wide that spans Africa from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea Sahel Map-Africa rough.png
The Sahel region is a belt up to 1,000 km wide that spans Africa from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea

Recurring droughts are a serious challenge for Niger. [4] The 2012 Sahel drought, along with failed crops, insect plagues, high food prices and conflicts is currently affecting Niger causing a hunger crisis. [5] Many families in Niger, still recovering from the 2010 Sahel famine, are being affected by the 2012 Sahel drought. [6]

The 2005–06 Niger food crisis created a severe, but localized food security crisis in the regions of northern Maradi, Tahoua, Tillabéri, and Zinder of Niger from 2005 to 2006. It was caused by an early end to the 2004 rains, desert locust damage to some pasture lands, high food prices, and chronic poverty.

Extreme points

International agreements

Niger is a party to the following agreements:

Niger has signed, but not ratified the Kyoto Protocol and Law of the Sea. [8] [9]

National parks and reserves

IUCN Protected area in Niger WAP-Komplex englisch.svg
IUCN Protected area in Niger

Niger's protected areas comprise about 7.7 percent of the total land area. [10] Six of the reserves are fully categorized under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Natural resources

Niger possesses the following natural resources:



Political geography

Surrounded by seven other countries, Niger has a total of 5,834 km of borders. The longest border is with Nigeria to the south, at 1,608 km. This is followed by Chad to the east (1,196 km), Algeria to the north-northwest (951 km), and Mali to the west (838 km). Niger also has short borders in its far southwest frontier (Burkina Faso at 622 km and Benin at 277 km) and to the north-northeast (Libya at 342 km). [1]

See also

Related Research Articles

Geography of Burkina Faso landlocked Sahel country that shares borders with six nations

Burkina Faso is a landlocked Sahel country that shares borders with six nations. It lies between the Sahara desert and the Gulf of Guinea, south of the loop of the Niger River, mostly between latitudes 9° and 15°N, and longitudes 6°W and 3°E. The land is green in the south, with forests and fruit trees, and semi-arid in the north. Most of central Burkina Faso lies on a savanna plateau, 198–305 metres (650–1,001 ft) above sea level, with fields, brush, and scattered trees. Burkina Faso's game preserves – the most important of which are Arly, Nazinga, and W National Park—contain lions, elephants, hippopotamus, monkeys, common warthogs, and antelopes. Previously the endangered painted hunting dog, Lycaon pictus occurred in Burkina Faso, but, although the last sightings were made in Arli National Park, the species is considered extirpated from Burkina Faso.

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.

Transport in Niger

Niger's transport system was little developed during the colonial period (1899–1960), relying upon animal transport, human transport, and limited river transport in the far south west and south east. No railways were constructed in the colonial period, and roads outside the capital remained unpaved. The Niger River is unsuitable for large-scale river transport, as it lacks depth for most of the year and is broken by rapids at many spots. Camel caravan transport was historically important in the Sahara desert and Sahel regions which cover most of the north.

Foreign relations of Niger

Niger pursues a moderate foreign policy and maintains friendly relations with both East and West. It is a member state of the United Nations. Niger maintains a special relationship with France and enjoys close relations with its West African neighbours.

Niamey Capital of Niger

Niamey is the capital and largest city of Niger. Niamey lies on the Niger River, primarily situated on the east bank. Niamey's population was counted as 1,026,848 as of the 2012 census. As of 2017, population projections show the capital district growing at a slower rate than the country as a whole, which has the world's highest fertility rate.

Sahel Ecoclimatic and biogeographic transition zone in Africa

The Sahel is the ecoclimatic and biogeographic realm of transition in Africa between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanian savanna to the south. Having a semi-arid climate, it stretches across the south-central latitudes of Northern Africa between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea. The name is derived from the Arabic term for "coast, shore"; this is explained as being used in a figurative sense. However, such figurative use is unattested in Classical Arabic, and it has been suggested that the word may originally have been derived from the Arabic word sahl سهل "plain" instead.

Sudano-Sahelian architecture Range of similar indigenous architectural styles in West Africa

Sudano-Sahelian architecture refers to a range of similar indigenous architectural styles common to the African peoples of the Sahel and Sudanian grassland (geographical) regions of West Africa, south of the Sahara, but north of the fertile forest regions of the coast.

Diffa Region Region of Niger

Diffa is one of the seven Regions of Niger, located in the southeast of the country. The capital of the region is Diffa.

The Liptako–Gourma Authority (LGA) is a regional organization seeking to develop the contiguous areas of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger.

The individual member states of the African Union (AU) coordinate foreign policy through this agency, in addition to conducting their own international relations on a state-by-state basis. The AU represents the interests of African peoples at large in intergovernmental organizations (IGO's); for instance, it is a permanent observer at the United Nations' General Assembly.

Community of Sahel–Saharan States

The Community of Sahel–Saharan States aims to create a free trade area within Africa. There are questions with regard to whether its level of economic integration qualifies it under the enabling clause of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

Great Green Wall African Union initiative to reduce and reverse desertification in North Africa

The Great Green Wall or Great Green Wall of the Sahara and the Sahel is Africa's flagship initiative to combat increasing desertification. Led by the African Union, the initiative aims to transform the lives of millions of people by creating a mosaic of green and productive landscapes across North Africa.

Trans-Sahelian Highway

The Trans-Sahelian Highway or Trans-Sahel Highway is a transnational highway project to pave, improve and ease border formalities on a highway route through the southern fringes of the Sahel region in West Africa between Dakar, Senegal in the west and Ndjamena, Chad, in the east. Alternative names for the highway are the Dakar-Ndjamena Highway or Ndjamena-Dakar Highway and it is Trans-African Highway 5 in the Trans-African Highway network.

Outline of Niger Overview of and topical guide to Niger

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Niger:

Téra Department Department in Tillabéri Region, Niger

Téra is a department of the Tillabéri Region in Niger. Its capital lies at the city of Téra. As of 2011, the department had a total population of 579,658 people.

West African giraffe

The West African giraffe, Niger giraffe or Nigerien giraffe, is a subspecies of the giraffe distinguished by its light colored spots, which is found in the Sahel regions of West Africa.

2010 Sahel famine

A large-scale, drought-induced famine occurred in Africa's Sahel region and many parts of the neighboring Sénégal River Area from February to August 2010. It is one of many famines to have hit the region in recent times.

Postage stamps and postal history of Niger

This is a survey of the postage stamps and postal history of Niger, a former French colony that obtained independence in 1960.

2010 West African floods

The 2010 Nigerien floods were floods across Niger which left over 111,000 people homeless. Niger was already suffering acute food shortages following prolonged drought in the Sahel region. As of 24 August 2010, at least 6 to 8 people had died. The Niger river was pushed to its highest levels in 80 years. The floods subsequently spread along the River Niger into Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Togo and Benin over the next few months. Later storms also brewed up in the CAR, Morocco and northern Algeria.


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  2. Niger at GeoHive Archived 20 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  3. "Niger: African Wildlife Foundation". Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  4. "Learning the Lessons?" (PDF). Oxfam. 16 April 2013. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  5. Fominyen, George (24 May 2012). "Coming weeks critical to tackle Sahel hunger ? U.N. humanitarian chief". Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  6. "West African food crisis 2012". 22 January 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
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  8. "UNTC". United Nations.
  9. "UNTC". United Nations.
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  11. "France backs Niger in talks with Areva over uranium mining". The Guardian . 6 February 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  12. 1 2 3 "THE MINERAL INDUSTRY OF OTHER COUNTRIES OF AFRICA" (PDF). United States Geological Survey . 1994. p. 21. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  13. "NIGER: Coal the new weapon to stop desert advance". Integrated Regional Information Networks . 1 July 2004. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  14. "CROSS-BORDER DIARIES" (PDF). Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development . June 2007. p. 52. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  15. Els, Frik (19 June 2013). "Semafo up 4% after tracing new trend over 10 kilometers in Niger". Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  16. Issa, Ousseini (15 May 2013). "Protecting Niger's Desert Salt Pans". Inter Press Service . Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  17. "As refinery opens, Niger joins club of oil producers". Agence France-Presse. 28 November 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2014.

Further reading