Niger

Niger is a landlocked country in Western Africa sharing its border with the Sahara and sub Saharan regions. The country derived its name from the Niger River. The countries of Nigeria and Benin border it in the south, Burkina Faso and Mali to the west and, Algeria and Libya. The country is characterized by extensive desert planes and dunes with patches of savannah in the southeast. Niamey is the capital and the main commercial center with a population of 674,950.

Niger is among the poorest countries of the world ranking lowest in the United Nations. When the newly elected came into power in January 2000, they faced a nightmare of an economic situation. The treasury was bone dry; there were 11 months arrears of past due salary and virtually no public investment. Niger then qualified for the debt relief under the International Monetary Fund program. This provided Niger with some breathing space, allowing it to free funds for basic health care, education and rural infrastructure.

The economy of the region is powered by agriculture and partially on economic trade. The agricultural produce includes cowpeas, cotton, millets, cassava, rice, sorghum etc. Other prominent industries include textile, uranium mining, soap industry, food processing, and brick industry and cement industry. The primary export commodities include Uranium ore, cowpeas, onions and livestock. The countries that form the trade conglomeration with Niger are France, USA and Nigeria.

Niger features a diverse cultural congregation contributed by the various ethnicities, music and architecture. Sport is a prime importance in Niger; Sorro is the most popular followed by Camel tradition. People in Niger are musically inclined, most of them playing some instrument or other. Tinde is a type of drum that is specific to the region and widely used. Viol is a stringed instrument that is commonly used in the male songs.

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