Living in Niger guide for expats

All the information you need to relocate and live in Niger.

About Niger

Niger is one of the hottest countries in the world (the intense heat in the north often causes any rain to evaporate before it even hits the ground), and the low average rainfall has a negative effect on economic productions and food security. In 2005, millions of people faced severe malnutrition, and food shortages in 2010 were estimated to have affected around seven million people. There is, however, higher rainfall in the south of the country, where a rainy season is experienced from May to October, with most of the rain falling in July and August.

The official language of Niger is French, but most Nigerian speak French as a second language rather than as a native language. Hausa is, in fact, the country's most widely spoken language and is also the primary trade language. This is followed by Zarma, then several indigenous languages, such as Fulani (Fulfulde), Tuareg (Tamajaq), Djerma, Manga, and varieties of Arabic.

Over 90% of the population is Muslim, but there is a Christian minority concentrated in Niamey and urban areas with expatriate populations. Traditional indigenous religions are also practised by a small percentage of the population. The cities of Madarounfa, Kiota, Say, and Agadez are considered by local Islamic communities to be holy, and the practice of other religions in these cities is not as well tolerated as it is in other places.

The mountains of Niger provide a stark splendour along with the ancient caravan cities at the edge of the Sahara Desert, and the stunning oasis towns. The historical city of Agadez on the trans-Saharan trade route was awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO in 2013. However, in spite of its remarkable scenery, this desert republic is still largely off-limits to travellers, as the threat of kidnapping remains high and attacks against foreigners have occurred across the Sahel region. Niger has been on a rocky road since it gained independence from France in 1960. It is still contending with some serious issues, such as disease, slavery ' which was only banned in 2003 ' and a high rate of illiteracy (radio is a key news source since literacy levels in the country are so low).

In 2017, Niger was one of five West African countries to launch a regional force to confront Islamic militants in the Sahel. As a result, the country has been repeatedly attacked by Boko Haram.

Although Niger struggles in the face of an insurgency, frequent droughts and widespread poverty, oil has been discovered and an oil refinery and pipeline have been built with funds provided by Chinese investors. Oil production is creating more opportunities for expatriates, and Niger is hoping that increased oil exploration and gold mining (the first gold mine was opened in 2004) will help to strengthen the economy.

Growth in the country is driven mainly by the mining and agriculture sectors. Uranium is mined in an area to the west of the Aïr Mountains, and the country is particularly rich in this resource. In 2003, Niger was at the forefront of international news after claims from former US President George Bush that Iraq was trying to obtain uranium from Niger for its nuclear programme. In 2014, the country agreed to a new deal with the nuclear energy group Areva for mining uranium, which involved an increase in royalties, placing Niger among the top uranium producers in the world.

Quick Information

Official Languages : French , Hausa , Kanuri
Currency : Franc
Area : 1267000 Km2
Population : 15878271
Calling Code : +227
Timezone : Africa/Niamey

Share your Expat Experience in the Guide

As an member you can share your own experience about your expatriation by writing some articles in the Expat Guide.
Formalities, Visas, Work, Bank. Share your tips or your knowledges about the new country where you chose to live, or about your own country.