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Page history last edited by Nina 14 years, 1 month ago

Niger Website Links Niger Website Links  

PreHistoric History of Niger

One recent find suggests what is now the Sahara of northeast Niger was home to a succession of Holocene era societies. One Saharan site illustrated how sedentary hunter-fisher-gatherers lived at the edge of shallow lakes around 7700–6200 B.C.E., but disappeared during a period of extreme drought that may have lasted for a millenniumover 6200–5200 B.C.E. When the climate returned to savanna grasslands—wetter than today's climate—and lakes reappeared in what is the modern Ténére desert, a population practicing hunting and fishing, as well as cattle husbandry. This last population survived until almost historical times, from 5200–2500 B.C.E., when the current arid period began.

As the Sahara dried after 2000 BCE, the north of Niger became the desert it is today, with settlements and trade routes clinging to the Air in the north, the 

Kaouar and shore of Lake Chad

 in the west, and (apart for a scattering of oases) most people living along what is now the southern border with Nigeria and the southwest of the country.


Long before the arrival of French influence and control in the area, Niger was an important economic crossroads, and the empires of Songhai, Mali, Gao, Kanem, and Bornu, as well as a number of Hausa states, claimed control over portions of the area. 


In the 19th century, contact with Europe began when the first European explorers—notably Mungo Park (British) andHeinrich Barth (German)-explored the area searching for the mouth of the Niger River. Although French efforts at pacification began before 1900, dissident ethnic groups, especially the desert Tuareg, were not subdued until 1922, when Niger became a French colony.

Niger's colonial history and development parallel that of other French West African territories. France administered her West African colonies through a governor general at DakarSenegal, and governors in the individual territories, including Niger. In addition to conferring a limited form of French citizenship on the inhabitants of the territories, the 1946 French constitution provided for decentralization of power and limited participation in political life for local advisory assemblies.


Since Independence

A further revision in the organization of overseas territories occurred with the passage of the Overseas Reform Act (Loi Cadre) of July 23, 1956, followed by reorganizational measures enacted by the French Parliament early in 1957. In addition to removing voting inequalities, these laws provided for creation of governmental organs, assuring individual territories a large measure of self-government. After the establishment of the Fifth French Republic on December 4, 1958, Niger became an autonomous state within the French Community. Following full independence on August 3, 1960, however, membership was allowed to lapse. 


Part of the once powerful Islamic Sokoto Empire it was annexed by France at the end of the nineteenth century. It was created an autonomous republic within a greater French community in 1958, and independence followed in 1960.

For its first 14 years as an independent state, Niger was run by a single-party civilian regime under the presidency of Hamani Diori. In 1974, a combination of devastating drought and accusations of rampant corruption resulted in a military coup that overthrew the Diori regime. Col. Seyni Kountche and a small group of military ruled the country until Kountche's death in 1987. He was succeeded by his Chief of Staff, Col. Ali Saibou, who released political prisoners, liberalized some of Niger's laws and policies, and promulgated a new constitution. However, President Saibou's efforts to control political reforms failed in the face of union and student demands to institute a multi-party democratic system. The Saibou regime acquiesced to these demands by the end of 1990. New political parties and civic associations sprang up, and a national conference was convened in July 1991 to prepare the way for the adoption of a new constitution and the holding of free and fair elections. The debate was often contentious and accusatory, but under the leadership of Prof. Andre Salifou, the conference developed consensus on the modalities of a transition government. A transition government was installed in November 1991 to manage the affairs of state until the institutions of the Third Republic were put into place in April 1993. While the economy deteriorated over the course of the transition, certain accomplishments stand out, including the successful conduct of a constitutional referendum; the adoption of key legislation such as the electoral and rural codes; and the holding of several free, fair, and nonviolent nationwide elections. Freedom of the press flourished with the appearance of several new independent newspapers. 


Niger has had four republican constitutions since independence in 1960, but four of its seven presidents have been military leaders, taking power in three coups. The first presidential elections took place in 1993 (33 years after independence), and the first municipal elections only took place in 2007. The 1999 constitution followed the the coup against and murder of President Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara by fellow military leaders. Prior to the 1992 uprising that led to free elections, Nigeriens have had little say in their nation's governance. In 2004 Mamadou Tandja was elected to his second five-year presidential term in an election that international observers deemed generally free and fair.

While the 1999 constitution guarantees a right to free assembly, in practice the government places restrictions on political gatherings, especially at time of popular unrest. There have been three blanket states of emergency declared since 1999, the longest beginning in August 2007 for the entire Agadez Department, and renewed in November 2007. These states of emergency essentially remove all rights to protest, gathering and free movement. They also allow detention without charge or trial.[5]



MDG Report Goals 1-7

Goal 1- Eradicting poverty and Hunger

Proportion of population below $1.25 a day 66%

Prevalence of malnutrition 40%

Goal 2-Achieving universal primary education

Primary completion rate 40%

Public expenditure per primary student 29%

Goal 3-Promoting gender equality

Ratio of girls to boys in primary and secondary education 71%

Goal 4- Reducing child mortality

Under five mortality rate per 1000, 176

Immunization against measles 47%

Goal 5- Improving maternal health

Maternal mortality rate 1800 per 100,000

Adolescent birth rate 196 per 1000 women ages 15-19

Goal 6- Combating disease

Prevalence of HV 0.8%

Tuberculosis 174 per 100,000

Goal 7- Ensuring environmental sustainability

Access to an improved water source 42% of population

Carbon dioxide emissions per capital 0.1 metric tons 




Basic Information

it's the country where millions are suffering from severe hunger.

In fact, the Government of Niger has estimated at least 2.5 million people don't have enough to eat. Some 80,000 children are at risk of becoming severely malnourished in the country's east and north.

Two things happened last year to trigger the current hunger crisis:

  1. Heavy rains that ended earlier than expected
  2. Swarms of locusts moved in devouring crops

Niger is a poor, dry, landlocked country along the Sahara desert. Most of its 11.9 million people live off the land. According to estimates, 84% of men and 97% of women grow crops or raise livestock.

Countries like Niger—poor, situated in dry, desert areas, where most of the population mostly lives off farming—are most vulnerable to food shortages.

During last year's rainy season, heavy rains fell across the Saheland northwest Africa. But the rain stopped abruptly, causing this year's harvest to be lower than expected. Then the locusts came, destroying part of the harvest.

"So the existing malnutrition, rain and locusts led to the situation we have today," explains Vincent Turbat, World Bank country manager for Niger.

Heavy rains had created conditions for a locust explosion: Four generations of the insects were able to breed in rapid succession. It was the worst locust plague in more than a decade.

Swarms can contain billions of insects, so the locust is a serious threat to both crops and grazing land.

This insect can consume its own weight in vegetation every day. A ton of locusts can eat as much food in one day as 2,500 people.

Today, the international community, including the World Bank, is helping Niger fight hunger. The Bank has diverted money from existing projects to help buy cereals to feed people on the brink of starvation.


Niger, which suffers from regular droughts and food shortages, is one of the world's poorest countries. The conflict has severely undermined the lives of tens of thousands of people already living precariously close to the edge. Tuareg civilians from the Agadez region have been particularly hard hit. They described to Human Rights Watch living in a situation of fear and economic hardship brought mainly by the combatants' persistent use of landmines and the irregular supply of food, medicines, fuel and other essentials. They described being forced to sell their goats, camels, and jewelry to be able to afford soaring commodity prices or to pay to bring sick family members to the capital for treatment. Landmine use has forced several international aid agencies to temporarily suspend or restrict operations, including vital monitoring of humanitarian indicators such as food security and malnutrition, which is reported to be on the rise.


Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking near last on the United Nations Development Fund index of human development. It is a landlocked, Sub-Saharan nation, whose economy centers on subsistence crops, livestock, and some of the world's largest uranium deposits. Drought cycles, desertification, and strong population growth have undercut the economy.

A drought and locust infestation in 2005 led to food shortages for as many as 2.5 millionNigeriens. 


Human Rights

Under French colonial rule (1900-1960) and from independence until 1992, citizens of Niger had few political rights, and lived under arbitrary government power. Although the situation has improved since the return to civilian rule, criticisms remain over the state of human rights in the country.

The constitution also created an official Nigerien National Commission on Human Rights and Fundamental Liberties to investigate and report upon human rights abuses. Its members are elected from several human rights associations, legal bodies, and government offices. It has no power to arrest, but it may investigate abuses either on its own volition or when charged by a victim. It reports to the President of Niger[2]

In August 2008, the government established a Mediator of the Republic. The mediator's role is to solve difficulties in the implementation and interpretation of laws and regulations. The president appoints the mediator, who is an independent administrative authority charged with investigating citizens' complaints and trying to find amicable solutions. The mediator has no decision-making powers, however, and instead submits results of investigations to the president and the prime minister.[3]


Domestic violence and societal discrimination against women continue to be serious problems. Female genital mutilation (FGM) persists, despite government efforts to combat it. There is societal discrimination against persons with disabilities and ethnic and religious minorities. Worker rights generally are respected; however, there are reports that a traditional form of servitude still is practiced. Child labor occurs, including child prostitution. There are reports of trafficking in persons.


The constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the government generally respects this right in practice. Nigerien society, although overwhelmingly Muslim, is respectful and tolerant of religious difference.


In Niger, where the practice of slavery was outlawed in 2003, a study has found that more than 800,000 people are still slaves, almost 8% of the population.[25] .[26] Slavery dates back for centuries in Niger and was finally criminalised in 2003, after five years of lobbying by Anti-Slavery International and Nigerian human-rights group, Timidria.[27]

Descent-based slavery, where generations of the same family are born into bondage, is traditionally practiced by at least four of Niger’s eight ethnic groups. The slave holders are mostly from the lighter-skinned nomadic ethnic groups — TuaregFulaToubou and Arabs.[28] In the region of Say on the right bank of the river Niger, it is estimated that three-quarters of the population around 1904-1905 was composed of slaves.[29]



Children Rights

Child prostitution is a growing problem in Niger. Poverty is the primary motivating factor, but the desire for luxury goods and the opportunity to travel abroad are also factors. Procurers are usually older prostitutes while clients are mostly tourists and wealthy businessmen. The prostitution of boys is another emerging phenomenon in the country, involving in most cases street children and children in conflict with the law. Reports have indicated that boys as young as 12 were involved in this form of exploitation.


Children also shine shoes; guard cars; work as apprentices for artisans, tailors, and mechanics; perform domestic work; and work as porters and street beggars. Children work under hazardous conditions in small trona, salt, gypsum, and gold mines and quarries; prostitution; and drug trafficking; as well as in slaughterhouses. Niger serves as a source and transit country for children trafficked into for domestic service and commercial labor, including commercial sexual exploitation. Some Koranic teachers indenture young boys and send them to beg in the streets. Forced domestic service and commercial sexual exploitation of girls is a problem in Niger



65% of the children in the age group 5-14 were involved in child 

labor in Nicaragua  


Children work primarily in the informal and agricultural sectors. 

Children in rural areas mainly work on family farms gathering 

water or firewood, pounding grain, tending animals, or working in 

the fields. Children as young as 6 years old are reported to work 

on grain farms in the southwest part of the country.  





Women Issues


Domestic violence and societal discrimination against women continue to be serious problems. Female genital mutilation (FGM) persists, despite government efforts to combat it. There is societal discrimination against persons with disabilities and ethnic and religious minorities. Worker rights generally are respected; however, there are reports that a traditional form of servitude still is practiced. Child labor occurs, including child prostitution. There are reports of trafficking in persons.


The news that 70 percent of women in parts of Niger find it normal that their husbands, fathers and brothers regularly beat, rape and humiliate them came as no surprise to human rights experts in Niger.


The frequency of the crimes and the impunity granted to the attackers partly explain the broad social acceptance of it, activists say. Rape is increasingly common in the capital Niamey. 

Beatings and mental and physical abuse are “frequently” part of life in a typical Nigerien polygamous family, said Fatima Ibrahima, who designs projects meant to prevent this kind of violence in Niger.

And women are often made destitute overnight when their polygamous husbands throw them out on the street. Divorces are passed by judges without even hearing “one word” from the women involved. 


Girls also need to be educated about their rights and given the intellectual tools to survive in a society dominated by men, activists say. At the moment, just 15 percent of women in Niger can read and write, compared to 43 percent of men. 

And women need a push to get into the workforce. Currently, just under 7 percent of women are employed in official income generating activities, compared to 81 percent of men. The imbalance means Niger has one of the highest overall unemployment rates in the world. 

On 25 November, to mark the international day for eliminating violence against women, hundreds of women turned out for a march in central Niamey. 


In general, Nigeran women’s civil liberties appear to be respected, but there are exceptions. Women’s freedom of movement is restricted in the east of the country, which is home to the Hausa and Peul ethnic groups. Women in these communities are never allowed to leave their homes without being escorted by a man, particularly in the evening. Elsewhere in the country, it is customary for women to have freedom of movement.

There are no reported restrictions on women’s freedom of dress in any region of Niger.


women in Niger are often subjected to modern forms of this type of capitivity and forced labour, which may also include physical violence. In fact, slavery persists within most ethnic groups in various guises such as the trafficking of women into Nigeria or pseudo-marriages to conceal the purchase of a slave and acquire unpaid labour. Men can also be taken as slaves in Niger, but female slavery is much more common.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is practised by only a few ethnic groups in Niger, and a relatively low percentage of Nigeran women have been subjected to it. FGM is extremely rare among the Muslim population. The government is taking steps to eradicate the practice: in 2003, it passed a law establishing prison sentences and fines for those who perform the procedure. This legislation may have helped to curb FGM in recent years – or may have had the effect that fewer women report it. Statistics suggest that FGM is declining. More than half of Nigeran mothers say they have no intention of subjecting their daughters to the practice and the percentage of women having undergone FGM appears to decrease as levels of education for women increase.



Civil Liberties

The Nigeran government has introduced new legislation to provide women with greater financial independence, but some discriminatory practices prevail. According to the new Rural Code, women are free to buy, own and sell land, but in practice they rarely have access to land. Even if women farm land, the right of ownership is reserved for the head of the family, i.e. a man.

In towns, women can obtain access to property other than land. The Commercial Code permits women to have an independent activity (such as a commercial or craft business) without their husbands’ consent. They can also enter into contracts and acquire goods. However, many women are unable to exercise their rights because of traditional customs, poverty and the difficulties they encounter in obtaining loans.

Most women in Niger do not have access to bank loans, primarily because they are unfamiliar with borrowing procedures or are unable to provide guarantees. It is more common for women to participate in tontines to cover certain expenses; thousands of such associations in Niger have obtained loans from development agencies. These numerous women’s groups have enabled many Nigerans to access micro-credit schemes, even in rural areas.




Environmental Status



Niger, one of the world's poorest countries, has been especially hard hit by the collapse of the uranium market and is dependent on subsistence farming as the backbone of its economy. A high population growth rate puts pressure of the few remaining forest lands. Consequently, between 1990 and 2005, the country lost 679,000 hectares or 34.9 percent of its forest cover. 


In Niger, formerly forested lands are plagued with soil loss and desertification. The Sahara desert, which already covers two-thirds of the country, is expanding at a rate of 200,000 hectares annually. In an effort to slow the Saraha's progress, the government planted more than 60 million trees between 1985 and 1997. 

As of 2003, about 8 percent of Niger's land area was protected, but poaching and habitat loss are taking a heavy toll on the country's wildlife. 

From a biodiversity standpoint, Niger has some 1,460 species of plants, 131 mammals, 493 birds, and 58 reptiles. 

1.0% —or about 1,266,000 hectares—of Niger is forested. Of this, 17.4% —or roughly 220,000 hectares—is classified as primary forest, the most biodiverse form of forest.

Change in Forest Cover: Between 1990 and 2000, Niger lost an average of 61,700 hectares of forest per year. The amounts to an average annual deforestation rate of 3.17%. Between 2000 and 2005, the rate of forest change decreased by 70.6% to 0.93% per annum. In total, between 1990 and 2005, Niger lost 34.9% of its forest cover, or around 679,000 hectares. Measuring the total rate of habitat conversion (defined as change in forest area plus change in woodland area minus net plantation expansion) for the 1990-2005 interval, Niger lost 25.7% of its forest and woodland habitat.

Biodiversity and Protected Areas: Niger has some 684 known species of amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles according to figures from the World Conservation Monitoring Centre. Of these, 0.3% are endemic, meaning they exist in no other country, and 1.8% are threatened. Niger is home to at least 1460 species of vascular plants. 8.2% of Niger is protected under IUCN categories I-V.


1890 - French occupy Niger.

1958 - Niger becomes autonomous republic of the French Community.


1960 - Niger becomes independent; parliament elects Diori Haman president.

1968-73 - Severe drought devastates Niger's livestock and crop production.

1974 - Diori Herman overthrown in military coup led by Lt-Col Seyni Kountche.

1987 - Ali Seybou, the armed forces chief of staff, succeeds Kountche who dies of a brain tumour.

1989 - A new constitution brings Niger back to civilian rule, but under a one-party system; Seybou re-elected president.

Ban on parties lifted

1990 - Seybou legalizes opposition parties following a wave of strikes and demonstrations.


1990 - Rebellion by Tuareg people in the north begins.

1991 July - Constitutional conference strips Seybou of his powers and sets up a transitional government under Andre Salifou.

1992 - New constitution allowing multiparty elections ratified.

1993 - Mahamane Ousmane elected president and his coalition, the Alliance of the Forces of Change wins a majority of seats in parliament.

1995 - Ceasefire between the government and the Tuareg's Revolutionary Armed Forces of the Sahara comes into effect.

More coups

1996 January - Ousmane ousted in a coup led by Colonel Ibrahim Mainassara, who bans all political parties.

1996 May - New constitution giving the president increased powers approved in a referendum; ban on political parties lifted.

1996 July - Mainassara wins presidential election.


1997 - The Democratic Renewal Front, a hard-line Tuareg group, signs peace accord with government.

1999 April - Major Daouda Wanke assumes power following the assassination of Mainassara by his bodyguards.

1999 August - New constitution restoring the balance between the legislative and executive branches of power approved in a referendum.

1999 October and November - Mamadou Tandja elected president and his party, the National Movement for the Society in Development, wins majority of seats in parliament.

2001 January - Niger bans hunting in an effort to save its wildlife population, which includes the lion, the giraffe and the hippopotamus.

2002 August - Soldiers mutiny in the east and in the capital and demand the payment of wage arrears and better conditions. The rebellions are put down.

Uranium claim

2003 January - US President George W Bush claims Iraq tried to acquire uranium from Niger for its nuclear programme. Claim also made in UK's September 2002 dossier on Iraq.


2003 March - Nuclear watchdog tells UN that documents relating to Iraq-Niger uranium claim are forged, concludes specific allegations are unfounded.

2004 July - First-ever local elections. Parties backing the president win most of the seats.

2004 December - President Mamadou Tandja wins a second term in office with 65.5% of the vote in a second-round ballot.

2005 March - A planned ceremony at which some 7,000 slaves were to be freed is cancelled after the government claims that slavery does not exist in Niger.

Widespread protests over tax increases of up to 20% on basic goods.

2005 July - UN warns that millions of people face severe malnutrition because of food shortages caused by drought and locust infestations.


International Court of Justice awards Niger most of the river islands along its disputed border with Benin.

2006 June - Unions call a national strike to protest against the high cost of living.

Health and educations ministers are sacked following pressure from donors who allege corruption.

2006 July - Aid agencies warn of dwindling supplies of food. The World Food Programme says it is already feeding 1.5 million people.

2006 October - Government starts expelling Mahamid Arabs to Chad, but shortly afterwards reverses the policy. Many of of the Mahamid crossed into Niger more than 30 years ago to escape drought, famine and fighting.

Tuareg rebellion

2007 August - Government declares alert in the north, giving the army greater powers to fight Tuareg rebels who have staged deadly attacks over the past six months.


2007 December - Two French journalists working for the French-German TV station, Arte, arrested for interviewing Tuareg rebels.

2008 February - The 110 million-year-old fossils of two previously unknown species of flesh-eating dinosaurs are discovered in Niger's desert area.

2008 June - Police arrest former PM Hama Amadou on charges of embezzling state funds.

Constitutional 'coup'

2008 July - Government orders the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) to halt all operations, reportedly over suspicions of links to Tuareg rebels.

2009 April - Government and Tuareg rebels of the Movement of Niger People for Justice (MNJ) agree to end hostilities after talks in Libyan capital Tripoli.

2009 May-June - President Mamadou Tandja suspends constitution and assumes emergency powers after Constitutional Court rules against his plans for a referendum on whether to allow him to seek a third term.


2009 August - Much-criticized referendum endorses new constitution which allows President Tandja to rule for three more years and gives him broader powers.

2009 October - Opposition boycotts election to replace parliament that President Tandja dissolved to stop it blocking his constitutional changes. Mr Tandja's supporters win overwhelming victory over independent candidates.

West African regional grouping ECOWAS suspends Niger for having failed to postpone the elections.

2010 February - President Tandja is ousted in a coup and a senior army officer, Col Salou Djibo, named head of a military government. The African Union suspends Niger's membership.

2010 March - Coup leader Col Salou Djibo promises to return Niger to democracy, but sets no date for elections.

Military junta appoints a transitional government headed by a civilian prime minister, Mahamadou Danda.



1804-01-30 - Mungo Park leaves England seeking source of Niger River

1882-11-15 - British HMS Flirt destroys village of Asaba Niger

1882-11-16 - British HMS Flirt fire at & destroy Abari village in Niger

1883-02-01 - French lt-col Gustave Borgnis-Desbordes reaches Bamako on the Niger

1883-02-07 - Lt-colonel Borgnis-Desbordes founds Fort Bamako Niger

1886-07-10 - George Goldie gets charter for Royal Niger Company

1891-02-18 - Capt Archinard's army fights with Nyamina of Niger in West-Sudan

1894-08-30 - Frederick Lugards expedition to Niger

1895-01-29 - King Koko's Kopermannen assault on Akassa Niger, 100's killed

1898-06-14 - France signs Niger Convention

1932-09-05 - The French Upper Volta is broken apart between Ivory Coast, French Sudan, and Niger.

1958-12-18 - Niger gains autonomy within French Community (National Day)

1960-07-11 - Ivory Coast, Dahomey, Upper Volta & Niger declare independence

1960-08-03 - Niger gains independence from France

1973-01-01 - West African Economic Community formed (Benin, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Upper Volta)

1973-01-05 - Mali & Niger break diplomatic relations with Israel

1974-04-15 - Military coup in Niger, president Diori Hamani deposed

1974-04-21 - 28th Tony Awards: River Niger & Raisin win

1976-03-15 - Failed coup in Niger

1989-09-19 - French DC-10 crashes near Niger, 171 die

1996-01-27 - Colonel Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara deposes the first democratically elected president of Niger, Mahamane Ousmane, in a military coup.

1999-04-09 - Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara, President of Niger, is assassinated.


1900. Niger becomes a French colony.

1958. Niger is allowed internal self-government.

1959. Uranium deposits are discovered.

1960. Niger becomes fully independent with Hamani Diori as the first president.

1969. Drought and civil disorder disrupt the country, and the army takes control under Lt-Col. Seyni Kountche.

1987. Kountche dies, and Col. Aly Saibou assumes the presidency.

1989. Single-party constitution is passed by a referendum.

1991. Multi-party constitution introduced.

1993. Mahamane Ousmane is elected president.

1994. CFA franc is devalued, raising the domestic prices received for exports and increasing export volumes, while at the same time increasing import prices and reducing import volumes, these 2 factors combining to reduce the trade deficit.

1996. Col. Ibrahim Mainassara seizes power.

1999. Mainassara is shot and Major Dauda Wanke becomes president. Later, Wanke steps down, and Mamadou Tandja is elected president.


Read more: Niger Country history and economic development, Information about Country history and economic development in Niger http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/economies/Africa/Niger-COUNTRY-HISTORY-AND-ECONOMIC-DEVELOPMENT.html#ixzz0jz2iRR2I






- August 3, 1960: Niger, a former French colNiger Website Links ony, becomes independent. Diori Hamani is president.


- April 9, 1999: Leader Ibrahim Bare Mainassara is killed during a coup d'etat, three years after himself taking power after a putsch. A junta comes to power, which is replaced by a civilian government on December 22 headed by President Mamadou Tandja.


- February 8, 2007: A Tuareg rebellion resumes in the north, in a region which holds uranium mines. The rebels lay down their arms in late 2009.


- August 4, 2009: A new constitution is voted in during a referendum allowing Tandja to stay in power. Legislative elections, boycotted by the opposition, follow on October 20, despite international calls to postpone them.


- February 18, 2010: A coup d'etat topples Tandja. Major Salou Djibo is named the head of a military junta.





Niger became independent from France in 1960 and experienced single-party and military rule until 1991, when Gen. Ali SAIBOU was forced by public pressure to allow multiparty elections, which resulted in a democratic government in 1993. Political infighting brought the government to a standstill and in 1996 led to a coup by Col. Ibrahim BARE. In 1999 BARE was killed in a coup by military officers who promptly restored democratic rule and held elections that brought Mamadou TANDJA to power in December of that year. TANDJA was reelected in 2004. Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world with minimal government services and insufficient funds to develop its resource base. The largely agrarian and subsistence-based economy is frequently disrupted by extended droughts common to the Sahel region of Africa. A predominately Tuareg ethnic group emerged in February 2007, the Nigerien Movement for Justice (MNJ), and attacked several military targets in Niger's northern region throughout 2007. Events have since evolved into a budding insurrection.

At the Conference of Berlin (1884–85) the territory of Niger was placed within the French sphere of influence. The French established several military posts in S Niger in the late 1890s, but did not occupy Agadez until 1904 because of concerted Tuareg resistance. In 1900, Niger was made a military territory within Upper Senegal–Niger, and in 1922 it was constituted a separate colony within French West Africa. Zinder was the colony's capital until 1926, when it was replaced by Niamey. The French generally governed through existing political structures and did not alter substantially the institutions of the country; they undertook little economic development and provided few new educational opportunities.


The nomadic Tuaregs were the first inhabitants in the Sahara region. The Hausa (14th century), Zerma (17th century), Gobir (18th century), and Fulani (19th century) also established themselves in the region now called Niger.

Niger was incorporated into French West Africa in 1896. There were frequent rebellions, but when order was restored in 1922, the French made the area a colony. In 1958, the voters approved the French constitution and voted to make the territory an autonomous republic within the French Community. The republic adopted a constitution in 1959 but the next year withdrew from the Community, proclaiming its independence.



Niger was part of ancient and medieval empires in Africa. European explorers arrived in the late 18th century, and Tuareg people invaded the area from the north. France seized it from the Tuaregs in 1904 and made it part of French West Africa, although fighting continued until 1922. It became a French overseas territory in 1946 and an autonomous republic within the French Community in 1958.



Niger achieved full independence in 1960 and was run for 14 years by Hamani Diori, who as elected president headed a single-party regime. Maintaining close relations with France, Diori seemed to have established one of the most stable regimes in Africa, and the discovery of uranium deposits promised a sound economic future.


Military takeover

A severe drought 1968–74 resulted in widespread civil disorder, and 1974 Diori was ousted by the army led by Lt-Col Seyni Kountché, the chief of staff. Kountché suspended the constitution and headed a military government as president until his death in 1987. He tried to restore the economy, negotiated a cooperation agreement with France in 1977, and later released political prisoners, including the former president. He was succeeded as president by Col Ali Saibou, who faced student and trade union demands for political liberalization.


In 1990 the government announced plans for a multiparty political system and in July 1991 a constitutional conference opened, attended by representatives of all political views. Saibou's executive powers were removed in August 1991 and a 15-member High Council of the Republic transitional government took over, but collapsed in March 1992. The introduction of multiparty politics was approved by referendum in December 1992.


First free elections

The left-wing Alliance of the Forces for Change (AFC) won the 1993 multiparty assembly elections and Mahamane Ousmane was elected president and Mahamdou Issoufou prime minister. The new government reached a partial peace agreement in 1994 with Tuareg rebels who had been fighting for independence in the north.


After the National Movement for a Development Society (MNSD) won the 1995 assembly elections, Hama Amadou became prime minister, but in January 1996 the military, led by Ibrahim Barré Mainassara, seized power in a coup. A civilian government, headed by Boukary Adji (and later by Amadou Boubacar), was soon installed, but with Mainassara as president, following a disputed election. In December 1997 Ibrahim Hassane Mayaki formed a new government and in 1998 a peace agreement was signed with the last of the 15 rebel groups not to have signed a ceasefire accord. In April 1999, Mainsassara was assassinated by soldiers in the presidential guard, whose commander, Daouda Mallam Wanke, became head of state. But a referendum in July 1999 approved power-sharing between the army and civilians, and there was a return to civilian rule following elections in November 1999, with Tandja Mamadou of the National Movement for the Development Society (MNDS) elected president, and Hama Amadou as prime minister.


One of the world's poorest countries, Niger has been hit by a succession of droughts across the Sahel and locust plagues, leading to a food crisis and famine in 2005.


r History can be traced back to the 13th and 14th Century when the Hausa, Zerma, Gobirand and Fulani established their base in the region which is now known as Niger. Niger History indicates at the historical importance of the region as an economic crossroad and therefore many important dynasties including the Songhai Empire, Mali Empire, Gao, and Kanem-Bornu fought to acquire control over it. 


With the dawn of the 19th Century Niger History witnessed the advent of Europeans into the country. By the 1920's Niger had become a French Colony. The history of colonized Niger is more or less similar to the other West African colonies of the French. The French, with time, granted French Citizenship to the people of Niger and later also allowed their limited participation in the political affairs. With the coming of the Fifth French Republic in the year 1958, Niger was declared to be an Independent State withing the fold of the French Community and in the year 1960 Niger was granted complete independence. 


The initial 14 years of Independent Niger saw a single Party rule under President Hamani Diori. Natural calamity and in depth corruption led to a military Coup in the Niger History which resulted in the replacement of Diori by Col. Seyni Kountché. After the death of Kountche, Col. Ali Saibou took up charge . He soon had to face the demand for a multi party democratic system. As Saibou accepted this demand a number of Political parties sprang up and a free and fair election was demanded. 


A transition government was erected which was followed by the establishment of The Third Republic in the year 1993. A coalition Government was formed after the election of 1993 but it soon fell apart and confusion followed. Hama Amadou of the MNSD was appointed as a Prime Minister but the confusion between the President and the Prime minister continued. This confusion paved the way for a military dictatorship under Col. Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara but within months it was replaced by the Fourth Republic. Baré Maïnassara stood for the Presidential election against four others and won. Soon Bare adopted dictatorial methods and this led to his assassination in the year 1999 and a Fifth Republic was established.




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