Niger, officially known as the Republic of Niger (French: République du Niger), is a West African country located right in the middle of the Sahara. As with many other Saharan countries, it has a vast area but a small population primarily concentrated in the moderate south. While Its population are overwhelmingly Muslim (99%) with some bits of Christians populating the south, and its people mainly speak an Afroasiatic language (Hausa), it is still considered a West (not North) African country and is also not a part of the Arab world, even though it borders two Arab countriesnote and one non-Arab but still having Arabic as an official languagenote (so it's a part of the OICnote but not the Arab League). Niger itself recognizes French as the sole official language and is thus a part of the La Francophonie.
- The average life span in the United States and most of the developed world is 75-83 years. It's 36 years old for both sexes in Niger.
- The adult mortality rate is over 51%.
- It has the world's highest fertility rate (7.6 children/woman) which led to the world's highest infant mortality rate and how over 50% of the population is under 15.
The main reason for the bad state of human development is the fact that, since its independence from France in 1960, Niger has been in one way or another under dictators more worried about their pockets than the country's problems. Consider the fact that the first dictator was in power until 1991, followed by a brief period of freedom of speech, which ended in 1996 with another dictatorship that lasted until 1999. A constitutional crisis followed in 2010 when the incumbent president tried to stay longer than allowed and the military once again took charge (however, this time they were more welcomed since they were deposing the increasingly more dictatorial president Mamadou). If that's still not enough, Boko Haram's insurgency in northern Nigeria has led to thousands of refugees fleeing to neighboring Niger and Chad, particularly to the border city of Diffa.
Also, serious cases of drought come from time to time, putting the agriculture in grave danger. After all, the country is just desert, with only some oasis separated by many miles. A famine also struck the country in 2010.
Not to be confused with its neighbor Nigeria, which is in better condition by several orders of magnitude. As it was colonized by France rather than Britain, Niger is actually pronounced "Nee-Jher", not "Nye-Jer", and Niger's citizens are referred to as Nigeriens, pronounced as "Nee-Jher-Ee-eins". Oh, and it is always, always spelled with just one "G". MSNBC found that out the hard way.note
The Nigerien flag