Niger Country Facts

By | June 25, 2024
Capital city Niamey
Surface 1,267,000 km²
Population 20,673,000
Road network length 3,803 km
Length of highway network 0 km
First highway N/A
Motorway name N/A
Traffic drives Right
License plate code RN

Niger, formally the Republic of Niger (French: République du Niger) is a large country in western Africa. The country is approximately 32 times the size of the Netherlands and has more than 20 million inhabitants. The capital is Niamey.


Niger is located at the transition from North to Central and West Africa, and is bordered to the north by Algeria and Libya, to the east by Chad and to the south by Nigeria and Benin. To the west are Burkina Faso and Mali.

A large part of Niger is dominated by the Sahara, the south consists of the Sahel. The country takes its name from the Niger River, by far the country’s largest river, which flows through the extreme southwest of Niger. The capital Niamey is located on the Niger. Much of Niger lies between 200 and 500 meters above sea level, with the Aïr being the higher mountain range in the central part of Niger. The 2022 meter high Mont Idoukal-n-Taghès, the highest point in the country, is also located here.

The country has a subtropical to tropical climate, which is, however, very dry. Much of the country has a desert climate with hardly any precipitation. In the capital Niamey there is approximately 500 mm of precipitation per year, largely in the period from May to September. The average maximum temperature in Niamey ranges from 33°C in the rainy season to 41°C in the dry season.


Niger is one of the fastest growing countries in the world. In 1960, the country had only 3.2 million inhabitants, growing to 10 million in 2000 and an estimated 20 million in 2016. The birth rate in Niger is one of the highest in the world. Population growth is a cause for concern because the country has almost no raw materials or agriculture.

The population of Niger is strongly rural, the capital Niamey is the only large city with approximately 1 million inhabitants. Maradi and Zinder both have around 250,000 inhabitants. Other places are smaller.

The country has several ethnic groups, of which the Hausa form a majority with 53%. French is the official language and is used by the government and media. It is mainly spoken as a second language by the part of the population that has received modern education. There are 10 official national languages ​​besides French, which are the languages ​​of the ethnic groups. Hausa is widely spoken as a lingua franca.


Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world and hardly has a formal economy outside of Niamey and the mining sector. The vast majority of the population is engaged in agriculture for their own food supply. Agriculture is actually only possible in the south and southwest, elsewhere there is desert. Uranium mines were developed in the 1960s and have been the country’s main export product ever since. In 2011, Niger started producing oil.


From the 7th century onwards, the Songhai Empire arose in this region, largely in the Niger River basin. The capital at the time was Gao, which is now in Mali. From the 14th century, Hausa kingdoms arose in southern Niger in the area between the Niger and Lake Chad. In the 19th century, Europeans began exploring the area. From 1900 the area was under French administration and from 1922 it was an official colony. In colonial times, Niger’s economy was little developed.

Niger gained independence from France in 1960, for its first 14 years it was a one-party state, which was overthrown in 1974. This was the first of an endless series of coups in Niger. They tried to improve the economy with the revenues from uranium exports. The country has been under military rule for large parts of its independence. The country consistently ranks as one of the least developed countries in the world.

Road Network

Transport is crucial for Niger, as the country is not adjacent to the sea and is heavily dependent on the transit countries Benin and Nigeria. Niger’s road network was barely developed during the colonial period that ended in 1960. Outside the capital Niamey, almost all roads are unpaved, except for a few main axes. The tarmac roads out there are largely in poor condition. In 1996 there was only 780 kilometers of paved road. Today this is about 3,800 kilometers, much of which is very bad. The Route Nationales network serves the most important places, but in the eastern half there are virtually no roads. There is an international route, the Trans Sahara Highway, which runs to Algeria, but is unpaved for great distances. The road to Arlit and the road to Nguigmi are the furthest paved roads in the country.

The main route nationales are the N1, N6, N7, N9, N11, N25 and N29. These routes are largely or completely asphalted and connect larger towns. Niger’s main route is the N1, which runs through much of the west and south of the country, connecting many route nationals.

There are no motorways in Niger. In the capital Niamey there are a number of 2×2 roads, but they do not have a single grade crossing. For a long time there was only one bridge at Niamey over the River Niger, a second opened in 2011. In Niamey only the main roads are paved, the side streets are all unpaved and often in dramatic condition with deep potholes. Major intersections are often designed as roundabouts.

Road numbering

The National Routes of Niger.

The road network is divided into national routes. The roads are numbered sequentially without a specific system. Many national routes in the north and east are completely unpaved, and impassable during and after rain showers. The N30 is the highest number. Not all low numbers are important roads, for example the N2, N3 and N5. Some N roads split off with an A or B suffix, most prominently the N29A and N29B.

Route nationals

  • N1 Labbezanga (gr. Mali) – Niamey – Maradi – Zinder – Nguigmi (gr. Chad): 1,770 km
  • N2 Boureimi – Gueza: 100 km
  • N3 Bolbol – Kore Mairoua: 100 km
  • N4 Farié – Yatako (gr. Burkina Faso): 140 km
  • N5 Tera – Yatakala: 110 km
  • N6 Niamey – Makalondi (gr. Burkina Faso): 120 km
  • N7 Dosso – Gaya (gr. Benin): 160 km
  • N8 Gaya – Sabon Birini (gr. Nigeria): 20 km
  • N9 Maradi – Dan Issa (gr. Nigeria): 50 km
  • N10 Takieta – Dan Barto (gr. Nigeria): 70 km
  • N11 Ingal – Agadez – Zinder – Magaria (gr. Nigeria): 650 km
  • N12 Matameye – Magaria: 80 km
  • N13 Tinkim – Dengas – Maigarati (gr. Nigeria): 80 km
  • N14 Loga – Dosso: 70 km
  • N15 Bagaroua – Illela: 110 km
  • N16 Madaoua – Laba – Tahoua: 180 km
  • N17 Takorka – Bangui (gr. Nigeria): 30 km
  • N18 Maradi – Jibia (gr. Nigeria): 60 km
  • N19 Thcadoua – Mayahi: 60 km
  • N20 Korgom – (gr. Nigeria): 30 km
  • N22 Ibessetene – Tchin-Tabaraden: 80 km
  • N23 Baleyara – Dogondoutchi: 140 km
  • N24 Niamey – Anderamboukane: 300 km
  • N25 Niamey – Assamakka: 1,330 km
  • N27 Niamey – Bolé (gr. Burkina Faso): 110 km
  • N29 Tsernaoua – Tahoua: 115 km
  • N30 Dakoro – Tibiri: 115 km

It is not clear where the N21, N26 and N28 run.

Route Nationales in Niger
N1 • N2 • N3 • N4 • N5 • N6 • N7 • N8 • N9 • N10 • N11 • N12 • N13 • N14 • N15 • N16 • N17 • N18 • N19 • N20 • N22 • N23 • N24 • N25 • N27 • N29 • N30


Signage is virtually non-existent in Niger.


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