Video Source: Youtube
Flag Source: CIA World Factbook
Before the French colonized Niger, in 1922, the country was a significant economic hub under the control of several Hausa states, and the Songhai, Mali, Bornu, Gao, and Kanem empires all wielded influence in the area, too. Western interest in Niger sparked when Dutch and British explorers started searching for the head of the Niger River. Under French control, the government was decentralized; that set the stage for an unstable existence even after Niger gained its independence, in 1960. Through a partnership with the U.S. Institute of Peace, the government resolved major issues and established significant order within Niger after independence.
Although Niger has suffered various economic setbacks since 1998, the country has been making efforts, facilitated by the World Bank, at privatizing public enterprises.
The Top 5: Local Advice
1. Niger is a predominantly Muslim country, so dress appropriately and be respectful of traditions and customs.
2. The official languages of Niger are French and Hausa. We suggest that you learn some basic French terms or even take a small French dictionary.
3. Niger is one of the steamiest African countries: make sure you pack whatever you need to keep yourself protected and cool, including loose clothes, sunscreen, and sun hats.
4. The Harmattan is a strong westward wind that lifts dust from the Sahara. It causes severe visibility issues and can create a generally unpleasant experience for those who haven’t dealt with dust storms. In Niger, November is considered the most intense month of the Harmattan.
5. When traveling during Ramadan, be mindful of the customs being observed around you: most folks are fasting, and people usually abstain from smoking and drinking, too. We liked this site, by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom, for learning more about traveling and customs during Ramadan