Niger Travel Information

Photo Not until 1993, 33 years after independence from France, did Niger hold its first free and open elections. A 1995 peace accord ended a five-year Tuareg insurgency in the north. Coups in 1996 and 1999 were followed by the creation of a National Reconciliation Council that effected a transition to civilian rule in December 1999. Niger is a poor, landlocked Sub-Saharan nation, whose economy centers on subsistence agriculture, animal husbandry, re-export trade, and increasingly less on uranium, its major export since the 1970s. The 50% devaluation of the West African franc in January 1994 boosted exports of livestock, cowpeas, onions, and the products of Niger's small cotton industry. The government relies on bilateral and multilateral aid - which was suspended following the April 1999 coup d'etat - for operating expenses and public investment. Short-term prospects depend on upcoming negotiations with the World Bank and the IMF on debt relief and extended aid.
Exploitable deposits of gold are known to exist in Niger in the region between the Niger River and the border with Burkina Faso. Substantial deposits of phosphates, coal, iron, limestone, and gypsum also have been found. Numerous foreign companies, including American firms, have taken out exploration licenses for concessions in the gold seam in western Niger, which also contains deposits of other minerals. Several oil companies have explored for petroleum since 1992 in the Djado plateau in northeastern Niger and the Agadem basin, north of Lake Chad but have made no discoveries worth developing. Niger's known coal reserves, with low energy and high ash content, cannot compete against higher quality coal on the world market. However, the parastatal SONICHAR (Societe Nigerienne de Charbon) in Tchirozerine (north of Agadez) extracts coal from an open pit and fuels an electricity generating plant that supplies energy to the uranium mines.
Local culture and Islamic tradition encourage conservative dress for both men and women. There have been incidents of groups of men assaulting women who are or appear to be African and who are wearing other than traditional ankle-length garments.
Tourists are free to take pictures anywhere in Niger, except near military installations, radio and television stations, the Presidency Building, the airport, or the Kennedy Bridge. Tourists should not photograph political and student demonstrations.
There are no laws restricting foreign exchange transactions in Niger. The CFA franc, the money that Niger shares with several other Central and West African Francophone countries, is fully convertible into French francs.

Important: Travel to Niger may require a travel visa. Whether a visa is required for travel depends on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please be sure to review Travisa's Niger visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

Country Statistics

Full country name: Republic of Niger
Capital city: Niamey
Area: 1.267 million sq km
Population: 16,344,687
Ethnic groups: Haoussa 55.4%, Djerma Sonrai 21%, Tuareg 9.3%, Peuhl 8.5%, Kanouri Manga 4.7%, other 1.2%
Languages: French
Religions: Muslim 80%, other
Government: republic
Chief of State: President ISSOUFOU Mahamadou
Head of Government: Prime Minister Brigi RAFINI
GDP: 11.63 billion
GDP per captia: 800
Annual growth rate: 2.3%
Inflation: 2.9%
Agriculture: cowpeas, cotton, peanuts, millet, sorghum, cassava
Major industries: uranium mining, cement, brick, soap, textiles, food processing, chemicals, slaughterhouses
Natural resources: uranium, coal, iron ore, tin, phosphates, gold, molybdenum, gypsum, salt, petroleum
Location: Western Africa, southeast of Algeria
Trade Partners - exports: US 49.2%, Nigeria 29.4%, Russia 10.3%, Ghana 4.1%
Trade Partners - imports: France 15.6%, China 9.7%, Nigeria 8.9%, French Polynesia 8.5%, Belgium 6.9%, India 6.1%, Togo 4.7%