mahamadou issoufouThe Republic of Niger or "Niger" for short, lies on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert, landlocked between the Republic of Nigeria to the South and the Republic of Algeria at the North. The Republic of Niger covers a total land area of about 1,270,000 squared kilometers making Niger the largest country in West Africa by total land area.

However, despite Niger's huge total area, arable land (land good for farming) is very hard to come by in Niger today and that is because, about 80% of the total land area of Niger is covered by the Sahara desert and the desert keeps spreading chasing farmers away from their farm lands.

The Republic of Niger has a total population of about 22.3 million people (as of 2018) with the population growth rate hovering around 3.8%. A greater part of Niger's population lives in rural areas mostly as poor subsistence farmers who grow crops (mainly millet) and rear animals (mostly cattle, sheep and goats) just to feed themselves and their families.

Niger, just like its neighboring countries, is blessed with abundance of natural resources. Niger is blessed with uranium, gold, coal, iron ore, tin, phosphates, molybdenum, gypsum, etc.

However, despite the abundance of natural resources, Niger remains one of the poorest countries in the world today with over 70% of its population living below the international poverty line of $1.90 a day. 

Niger has one of the worst literacy rates in the world today. Niger's literacy rate currently hovers around 28.7% for the total population with the female literacy rate hovering around 15.1%. In other word's, just about 15.1% of Niger's total female population above the age 15 can read and write which is very bad.

Because of it's position on the map, Niger faces several natural challenges such as drought, desertification and most recently, floods. Desertification (the spreading of the Sahara Desert) is driving farmers off their farm lands. Nothing grows well on the desert so as the Sahara desert spreads and covers the fertile/farming lands, most farmers are left with nothing but poverty and despair.

The harsh weather conditions in Niger are unpredictable. Just a few months ago there was a severe drought that lead many people with nothing at all to eat. Just after the drought there was a major flooding that destroyed many farms.

Because of extreme poverty and hunger, most children of school-going age are out of school in Niger today.

Drinking water and water for domestic purposes is another major challenge people in Niger face every single day. Because of the desert, water is very scarce in Niger. The few water sources in Niger are mostly polluted which accounts for the high level of diseases such as cholera, dysentery, bilharzia, etc. in Niger today.

Just like in most other African countries, corruption levels remain at all time high in Niger today. Almost every political figure in Niger today is corrupt in one way or the other, leaving the majority with nothing but poverty and despair.