Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 January 2018
The Republic of Niger is a large, landlocked west African country. Around 80% of its vast land mass (1 300 000 km2) is in the Sahara Desert. Its neighbours are Mali, Algeria, Libya and Chad to the north, and Nigeria, Benin and Burkina Faso to the south. The country came under French rule in the 1890s and gained its independence in 1960, but development has been slowed by political instability, lack of natural resources and drought. In 1999, voters overwhelmingly approved a new constitution, allowing for multi-party elections, which were held later that year. An ongoing rebellion in the north makes access to much of the country difficult.
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