Seasonal migration, locally called the Exode, plays an important part of the economic and cultural life of the West African nation of Niger. While it is a common practice in many nations, Niger sees as much as a third of its rural population travel for seasonal labour, during the Sahelian nation's long dry season.Common patterns of seasonal travel have been built up over hundreds of years, and destinations and work vary by community and ethnic group.
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 to the southwest, 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 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.
About 78% of the almost 14 million people in Niger are engaged in crop or livestock agriculture, many in small rural villages operating at subsistence levels.As a solution to both the variability of harvests in the dry Sahel and a way to earn currency, Nigerien communities often seek alternate and seasonal sources of income. Each year, during the dry season following harvest, men from many communities in rural Niger travel for temporary work. That process, called the Exode (French for Exodus) normally takes place between January and April in Niger, but it is a process common to many other nations of West Africa.
Agriculture is the primary economic activity of a majority of Niger's 17 million citizens.
The Sahel is the ecoclimatic and biogeographic zone 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 word sāḥil meaning "coast" or "shore" in a figurative sense, while the name in Swahili means "coastal [dweller]" in a literal sense.
West Africa is the westernmost region of Africa. The United Nations defines Western Africa as the 16 countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, the Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo, as well as the United Kingdom Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. The population of West Africa is estimated at about 362 million people as of 2016, and at 381,981,000 as of 2017, to which 189,672,000 are female, and 192,309,000 male.
Historically, different ethnic and regional communities have traveled to different areas. The patterns are in part inherited from precolonial trade networks; cross-border ethnic solidarities; colonial-era industrial, mining/and harvest projects and the attraction of areas with greater work potential, combined with communities of immigrants from the source ethnic group. Areas in the north of the country, where stock raising is more common, see around 20% of the total population migrate for season work, but in the south, dominated by small farming communities, as much as a third of the population travels for seasonal work.
While some women to take part, most who take part in the Nigerien Exode are men (unmarried and married) between 15 and 40 years old.Certain communities have traditions of women traveling for seasonal work both domestically and abroad, but it is purely a male preserve in others. Most men travel outside Niger, but cities like Maradi and Niamey also will see a large seasonal influx seeking labor. The major destinations remain Nigeria, which shares large Hausa ethnic communities with Niger, and the former French colonies of Côte d'Ivoire, Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso. In southern destinations, agricultural work is available long after the season has passed in Niger, and cities offer a variety of casual labor. The famines of the 1960s–1980s Sahel drought helped to cement such seasonal migration patterns.
Maradi is the second largest city in Niger and the administrative centre of Maradi Region. It is seat of the Maradi Department and an Urban Commune.
Niamey is the capital and largest city of the West African country Niger. Niamey lies on the Niger River, primarily situated on the east bank. It is an administrative, cultural and economic centre. Niamey's population was counted as 978,029 as of the 2012 census; the Niamey Capital District, covering 670 km2, had 1,026,848 people. 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.
Nigeria, officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal republic in West Africa, bordering Niger in the north, Chad in the northeast, Cameroon in the east, and Benin in the west. Its coast in the south is located on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. The federation comprises 36 states and 1 Federal Capital Territory, where the capital, Abuja, is located. The constitution defines Nigeria as a democratic secular country.
Men from a community will often travel together to the same towns on each year, many to the same areas that their fathers had traveled. For many in rural communities that pursue subsistence farming, that provides most of their yearly cash income and is thus a crucial element of the rural economy, but it is not counted in the formal economy of Niger.Cash earned is partially spent abroad for necessities such as clothing, carried back at the end of the season, or sent via friends and clan or ethnic networks. A 2008 study found that not only most migrant workers never use of banks or money transfer systems but also the Exode period is often a time that men will take out informal loans against their expected seasonal earnings.
Men on Exode may also bring back sexually transmitted diseases from their season abroad. That has been flagged as a potential vector for HIV/AIDS to enter Niger, which currently has one of the lowest infection rates in the world.
Human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is a spectrum of conditions caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Following initial infection, a person may not notice any symptoms or may experience a brief period of influenza-like illness. Typically, this is followed by a prolonged period with no symptoms. As the infection progresses, it interferes more with the immune system, increasing the risk of developing common infections such as tuberculosis, as well as other opportunistic infections, and tumors that rarely affect people who have uncompromised immune systems. These late symptoms of infection are referred to as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). This stage is often also associated with unintended weight loss.
Measles outbreaks (largely among young children) still occur in Niger, in part because of the low vaccination rate and in part due from the transhumance seasonal migration of semi-nomadic herding populations. Sporadic outbreaks in Nigerien communities were found to have occurred beginning at the end of the rainy season, when many rural populations begin seasonal migration pattern, with traveling children often missing their vital second immunization booster against the disease.
Zarma-Songhai men often travel to Ghana and Burkina Faso, retracing a pattern of migration recorded from at least the 17th century, when Zarma soldiers were recruited to fight for the small kingdoms in what is now northern Ghana and southern Burkina Faso. The trade networks that resulted from the migration survived throughout the colonial period, and they also allowed Djerma a way of escaping to British-controlled Gold Coast Colony during times of particularly onerous French forced labour under the Indigénat as well as in times of drought in the 1910s, 1930s and 1940s.
The example of the Zarrma-Songhai of Niger's migration to the former Gold Coast Colony is memorably portrayed by French filmmaker Jean Rouch in his film "Jaguar" (1954-1955). For the film and accompanying academic study, Rouch joins an urban educated Songhai (Damouré Zika), a Sorko fisherman (Illo Gaoudel), and a Fulaherdsman (Lam Ibrahima Dia) who travel from the Niger river town of Ayorou to Accra and Kumasi. The Songhai finds work with other Songhai in an Accra lumber market, the Sorko fishes the coast among Ewe fishermen to finance a small business in Accra, and the Fula finds a job selling perfumes with a family member in Kumasi market.
Hausa communities in Niger often send men south to Nigeria during the Exode, not only to majority-Hausa areas in the north of the nation but also to large cities such as Lagos that contain networks of Hausa immigrants. Hausa immigrant communities, as far afield as Ghana, also provide a focus for Nigerien seasonal migration. During the late pre-colonial and the early colonial period, Hausa communities also saw frequent labor migrations to escape rule by states linked to the Sokoto Caliphate to the south and the French to the north and west.
Fula communities, scattered across all of West Africa, provide a frame for Nigerien Wodaabe-Fula seasonal labor networks as far afield as Abidjan in Côte d'Ivoire and Lagos in Nigeria. Wodaabe women are more likely to travel for seasonal work migration than other groups, especially the Hausa people, and they often face discrimination in Nigerian communities to which they travel.
Tuareg communities in the north, like the pastoralist Fula, have their own established seasonal migration patterns revolving around moving their herds in transhumance cycles for pastures and markets. However, they too see seasonal labor migration. Algeria and Libya and south into Nigeria are the more common destinations, amongst Tuareg communities of the complex interrelated Kels or clan structure. The successful export industry coming from the Aïr Mountains oases production of produce such as onions carries other local men as far south as Côte d'Ivoire.Tuareg men are often seen in cities across the Sahel region working in security, an evolution of the traditional self-imposed cultural preference for certain jobs by aristocratic or warrior caste Tuareg men.
Exode traditions also provide the basis for modern longer term emigration from Niger to the Maghreb and to Europe. Niger is a transit point for immigrants from throughout West Africa, traveling by truck and bus northward, especially to Libya, a frequent starting point in attempting to cross to Europe.
This article is about the demographic features of the population of Niger, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.
The music of Niger has developed from the musical traditions of a mix of ethnic groups; Hausa, the Zarma Songhai people, Tuareg, Fula Kanuri, Toubou, Diffa Arabs and Gurma and the Boudouma from Lac Chad.
Jean Rouch was a French filmmaker and anthropologist.
The culture of Niger is marked by variation, evidence of the cultural crossroads which French colonialism formed into a unified state from the beginning of the 20th century. What is now Niger was created from four distinct cultural areas in the pre-colonial era: the Djerma 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. 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.
Diffa is an administrative region in the southeast of Niger. The capital of the region is the city of Diffa.
The Region of Maradi is one of seven Regions of Niger. It is located in south-center Niger, east of the Region of Tahoua, west of Zinder, and north of Nigeria's city of Kano. The administrative center is at Maradi. The population of the Region is majority Hausa.
The Wodaabe, also known as the Mbororo or Bororo, are a small subgroup of the Fulani ethnic group. They are traditionally nomadic cattle-herders and traders in the Sahel, with migrations stretching from southern Niger, through northern Nigeria, northeastern Cameroon, southwestern Chad, and the western region of the Central African Republic. The number of Wodaabe was estimated in 2001 to be 100,000. They are known for their elaborate attire and rich cultural ceremonies.
The Iwellemmedan (Iwəlləmədǎn), also spelled Iullemmeden, Aulliminden, Ouilliminden, Lullemmeden, and Iwellemmeden, are one of the seven major Tuareg tribal or clan confederations. Their communities are historically nomadic and intermixed with other ethnic groups. The Iwellemmeden inhabit a wide area ranging from east and north central Mali, through the Azawagh valley, into northwestern Niger and south into northern Nigeria. While once a single confederation of dozens of Tuareg clans, subject peoples, and allied groups, since the 18th century they have been divided into Kel Ataram (west) and Kel Dinnik (east) confederations. Following colonial rule and independence, the Iwellemmedan homelands cross the Mali/Niger border, and their traditional seasonal migration routes have spread Iwellemmedan communities into Burkina Faso and Nigeria as well. They speak the Tawellemmet variant of the Tamasheq language, although some current or historical sub-clans speak other Tamasheq variants as well as Songhai languages and Arabic dialects.
Abalak is a town located in the Tahoua Region, Abalak Department of northern Niger. It is both a town and Commune: a local administrative division. It is the seat (Chef-lieu) of Abalak Department, one of eight subdivisions of Tahoua Region. The town had a population of less than 13,000 at the 2001 census.
Islam in Niger accounts for the vast majority of the nation's religious adherents. The faith is practiced by more than 94% of the population, although this figure varies by source and percentage of the population who are classified as Animist. The vast majority of Muslims in Niger are Malikite Sunni with Sufi influences. Many of the communities who continue to practice elements of traditional religions do so within a framework of syncretic Islamic belief, making agreed statistics difficult. Islam in Niger, although dating back more than a millennium, gained dominance over traditional religions only in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and has been marked by influences from neighboring societies. Sufi brotherhoods have become the dominant Muslim organization, like much of West Africa. Despite this, a variety of interpretations of Islam coexist—largely in peace—with one another as well as with minorities of other faiths. The government of Niger is secular in law while recognising the importance of Islam to the vast majority of its citizens.
The cinema in Niger grew from ethnographic documentaries in the colonial period to become one of the most active national film cultures in Francophone Africa. Filmmakers such as Oumarou Ganda, Moustapha Alassane, Mahamane Bakabé, Inoussa Ousseini and Moustapha Diop have had their work featured around the world. The Niamey African Film Meeting is one of the premier film events of the continent. Unlike neighboring Nigeria, with its thriving Hausa- and English-language film industry, most Nigerien films are made in French and Francophone countries have been their major market, while action and light entertainment films from Nigeria or dubbed western films, fill most Nigerien theaters.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to 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.
Andéramboukane is a town and cercle in Ménaka Region, Mali. It lies at the extreme east of the country, several kilometers north of the Nigerien border. It was previously a commune in Ménaka Cercle but was promoted to the status of a cercle when Ménaka Region was implemented in 2016.
Damouré Zika was a Nigerien traditional healer, broadcaster, and film actor. Coming from a long line of traditional healers in the Sorko ethnic group of western Niger, Zika appeared in many of the films of French director Jean Rouch, becoming one of Niger's first actors. As a practitioner of traditional medicine, he opened a clinic in Niamey, and was for many years a broadcaster and commentator on health issues for Niger's national radio.
The Kurtey people are a small ethnic group found along the Niger River valley in parts of the West African nations of Niger, Benin, Mali, and Nigeria. They are also found in considerable numbers in Ghana, Togo, Ivory Coast, and Burkina Faso.
The Ikelan are a caste within Tuareg society, who were at one time slaves or servile communities. While the Ikelan now speak the same language as the Tuareg nobles and share many customs, they are of assimilated Nilotic origin rather than of Berber heritage like the ethnic Tuareg. They also often live in communities separated from other castes.
Women in Niger are African women who live in or are from the Western African country known as Niger. These women belong to a population in which 98% are practitioners of Islam. Most of the laws adopted by the government of Niger to protect the rights of Nigerien women are most of the time based on Muslim beliefs.