Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 21, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963855 | Print ISBN: 9781412941860 | Online ISBN: 9781412963855| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Heather K. Michon
Niger is a landlocked country located in west Africa, surrounded by Nigeria, Chad, Libya, Algeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Benin. Once a crossroads of the African economy, Niger today sits at the absolute bottom of the United Nations Development Programme Human Poverty Index Scale. The total population is 12.53 million, growing at 2.92 percent annually. The birth rate is 50.73 per 1,000 and the death rate is 20.91 per 1,000. Only 23 percent of the population is urbanized, although the annual rate of urban growth is currently 5.8 percent. Poverty is almost total. The economy is based largely on uranium exports, but world demand for uranium is low. Most Nigerois are subsistence farmers, getting by on a per capita income of $260 a year. More than 60 percent of the population live on less than $1 a day. Niger is chiefly desert, and suffers from recurrent droughts, overgrazing, ...