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Geography of Niger

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Geography of Niger

Geography of Niger

Location map of Niger
Continent Africa
Region Western Africa
Area Ranked 22nd
 • Total 1,266,700 km2 (489,100 sq mi)
 • Land 99.98%
 • Water 0.02%
Coastline 0 km (0 mi)

Land 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 land 736.6 km² (2005)
Total renewable water resources 33.65 km3 (2011)
Highest point Mont Idoukal-n-Taghès, 2,022 m
Lowest point Niger River, 200 m
Climate Desert to tropical
Terrain Mostly desert plains and sand dunes, hills in the north
Natural Resources Uranium, coal, iron ore, tin, phosphates, gold, molybdenum, gypsum, salt, petroleum
Natural Hazards Recurring 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 1
  • Geography 2
    • Regions 2.1
    • Departments 2.2
    • Communes 2.3
    • Cities 2.4
    • Roadways 2.5
  • Physical geography 3
    • Agricultural geography 3.1
    • Climate 3.2
    • Current issues 3.3
      • Natural hazards 3.3.1
    • Extreme points 3.4
    • International agreements 3.5
    • National parks and reserves 3.6
    • Natural resources 3.7
    • Waterways 3.8
    • Wildlife 3.9
  • Political geography 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7

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 in to effect in 1993. However, political unrest was caused by Col. Ibrahim Bare who staged a coup in 1999, but he died in a counter insurgency operations by officers of the military establishment. 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 sq km, 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.

Region Area
(km2) [2]
(2012 census)
Agadez 667,799 487,620
Diffa 156,906 593,821
Dosso 33,844 2,037,713
Maradi 41,796 3,402,094
Niamey 402 1,026,848
Tahoua 113,371 3,328,365
Tillabéri 97,251 2,722,842
Zinder 155,778 3,539,764


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

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
Use Percentage of Area
arable land 11.79 [1]
permanent crops 0.05 [1]
other 88.16 [1]


Niger's climate is largely hot and dry, with most of the country in a desert region. The terrain there 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

Recurring droughts are a hazard in 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
Main articles: List of national parks of Niger and Wildlife of Niger § National Parks and reserves

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


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k
  2. ^ Niger at GeoHive
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b c
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^

Further reading

  • L. Herrmann, K. Stahr and K. Vennemann. Atlas of Natural and Agronomic Resources of Niger and Benin, "Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft" (German Research Foundation), the University of Hohenheim. (No date). Retrieved 2008-02-22.
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