Country Profile: Niger
Capital and largest cityNiamey,
Other citiesMaradi, Zinder, Tahoua, Agadez, Arlit
LanguagesFrench, Hausa, Fulfulde, Gulmancema, Kanuri, Zarma, Tamasheq
Area1, 267, 000 sq km
Population13, 272, 679 (2008 est.)
French is the official language of Niger, but is spoken mainly by those members of the population who have received an education. There are also several indigenous languages, such as Hausa, Zarma and Songhai, Tamajeq, Fulfulde, Kanuri, Colloquial Arabic, Gurmantche and Toubou.
Like many other African states, Niger's economy is reliant upon subsistence agriculture, and this makes up a large percentage of population income. Agricultural produce such as livestock, pearl millet, sorghum, cassava, peppers, cowpeas, onions, garlic, potatoes and wheat make up the country's major exports. However, the country's main export is Uranium, of which there are significant natural reserves. Niger is a member of the West African Monetary Union, as well as the Organization for Harmonization of Business Law in Africa.
Almost half of the country's budget comes from foreign aid. Niger has received debt relief from the IMF programme for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries, and reached an agreement for Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility. By relieving the country's debt obligations, Niger has funds which can go towards health care, education, and HIV/AIDS prevention. Other important contributors of aid to the country are France, the EU, World Bank, IMF, UNICEF, UNDP, FAO, WFP, UNFPA, US, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Canada and Saudi Arabia.
As well as a wealth of natural resources of uranium, which makes up Niger's main export, the country also has deposits of coal as well as future potential for oil refinement.
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