Niger. The armed conflict in the north between the state and Tuaregic guerrillas, which flared up again in 2007, continued throughout the year. Milis from the Nigerian Justice Movement (MNJ) attacked smaller cities and military bases and carried away dozens of people. Excess permits existed throughout the region throughout the year. The French aid organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF) was accused by the government of liaising with the guerrillas and was ordered to discontinue operations. After trying in vain to have the decision repealed, the MSF left the country in October. The leading trade union organization said the government’s decision would have severe social consequences, endanger the lives of thousands of malnourished children and render hundreds of local employees unemployed.
Parliament voted in June to bring charges against former Prime Minister Hama Amadou for corruption. He was deposed in 2007 for alleged embezzlement of state funds. A few days after Parliament’s decision, he was arrested by police. The intervention against him aroused widespread protests and demands for his release. He himself and his many supporters argued that the prosecution was merely intended to prevent him from running for office in the 2009 presidential election.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER: Click to see the meanings of 2-letter acronym and abbreviation of NG in general and in geography as Niger in particular.
China has become increasingly present in the Nigerian market. Following a Chinese agreement on uranium extraction in 2007, the Chinese government company CNPC was awarded a contract for oil production in N. in the border area against Chad. It was an investment of US $ 5 billion over three years, including a 200-mile oil pipeline and a refinery. China will also expand and modernize electricity generation in N.
However, the oil contract was met by skepticism among trade unions and anti-corruption organizations. There was a demand for a parliamentary review of the circumstances of the agreement and an account of how the income should be distributed.
In October, Niger was sentenced by a court subordinated to the regional cooperative organization ECOWAS to pay the equivalent of approximately SEK 150,000 in damages to a woman held as a slave. The ruling was considered to lead to the West African governments generally being forced to take their anti-slavery laws seriously.
According to Countryaah reports, the population of Niger in 2008 was 16,463,914, ranking number 62 in the world. The population growth rate was 3.860% yearly, and the population density was 12.9976 people per km2.
The Niger, located between the Sudanese region and the Sahara and without natural borders, is inhabited by different peoples, for ethnic groups and traditions. The Sudanese prevail, represented by the Haussa (55% of the total population) and the Djerma Sonrai (21%); followed by the Tuareg (9%), a Berber population living in the Sahara practicing semi-nomadic pastoralism and agriculture (in the oases); finally, 8% of the population is made up of the Fulbe (or Peul), breeders of the steppe zone, in which they carry out long migrations following their herds of cattle.
- The number of residents, which has grown considerably since the 1920s, at the time of independence (1960) was 2.5 million; since then the increase has been sustained, and the annual growth rate still records high values (2.9% in 2008). The distribution of the residents adapts to the environmental conditions: to the vast central-northern territories (over 2/3 of the total surface), in which the density value is minimal (less than 1 residents/km 2), the regions are opposed southern and south-western regions, where there are even more than 30 residents /km 2. In these regions there are the major urban centers: the capital, first of all, followed, in terms of number of residents, by Zinder, Maradi and Agadez. The latter, located in the Aïr area, is the only center of a certain importance outside the southern belt. Overall, the cities host 16% of the residents; the others reside in villages, with the exception of the Fulbe, who live in tents or huts, and the Tuareg, who also live in tents but refer to the oases where they have permanent residences.
- As a consequence of the heterogeneity of the ethnic picture, different languages are spoken in Niger: Haussa, djerma, poular (spoken by the Fulbe) and Tamachek (Tuareg), in addition to French, the official language.
- Regarding religion, Islam prevails, but about 10% of the residents practice animist cults.