Niger. Two domestic political issues caused popular protests. According to countryaah, Niamey is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Niger. A 19% value-added tax introduced in January to strengthen the state budget led to extensive demonstrations in the larger cities. Dozens of people were arrested and held responsible for the looting and vandalism that occurred during the protest actions. The tax was said to have made a number of basic goods inaccessible to a large proportion of Nigerians, who are among the poorest peoples on earth. After just over a month of protests, the government partially gave up and abandoned the tax on, among other things. flour and milk and promised to compensate for the price increases on water and electricity.
- Also see abbreviationfinder.org for how the acronym NG stands for the country of Niger and other meanings of this two-letter abbreviation.
The government was also criticized for denying that slavery still exists and is a serious social problem. In January, the government banned a ceremony that would mark the release of 7,000 slaves. Anti-slavery activists were arrested and accused of trying to scam foreign aid through fraudulent claims that slavery exists in N. The activists were released after a month on order by an appellate court.
In April, the UN raised alarm that severe malnutrition among children in central N. could lead to a famine disaster following failed harvests and grasshopper attacks in 2004. However, it was delayed before the crisis gained international attention. Only at the end of July did relief broadcasts begin to reach the country. Though late, the efforts succeeded in averting a major famine disaster, and in September the crisis was declared over. Prior to that, not only had foreign governments been criticized for delinquency; the Nigerian government was also accused by aid organizations of nonchalance in the face of the hunger problem. But the crisis was also felt to have been exacerbated by both one-sided eating habits and social factors, e.g. that men’s dominant position gives them the right to eat saturated before women and children get the food that has been left over.
Government employees were granted their first salary increase in 25 years. The minimum wage was set at the equivalent of just over SEK 20. per day.
In an effort to broaden its economy, N. could begin exporting gold since a Nigerian-Canadian joint venture began operations in 2004. Several European companies have been granted concessions to extract gold, and preparations for oil production are also underway.
The International Court of Justice in The Hague granted N. the right to 16 disputed islands in the Niger River that neighboring Benin has claimed. The islands are used as pastures by Nigerian nomads.
HUMAN AND ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY
Internal state of north-central Africa. The population (which amounted to 10,790,352 residents at the 2001 census) lives mainly concentrated in the southern region, which is more favorable from a climatic point of view, but with a much higher density than the national average. The urban settlement affects 22.2 % (2003) of the total population. The main agglomeration is the capital Niamey, which has about 890,000 residents. (2003).
Thanks to a period of relative political stability, exceptional in the history of the country, in the early years of the 21st° sec. national income has made little progress, the budget deficit has been reduced, privatizations have increased, but the socio-economic situation remained decidedly precarious with human development indicators among the lowest in the world. The improvements recorded did not succeed in inducing structural changes, not being able to modify a reality that was dramatically penalized by a particularly hostile physical environment, threatened by the processes of desertification and soil erosion. Furthermore, two thirds of the population live below the poverty line and the remaining third is considered ‘extremely poor’. International organizations intervened to combat this situation: in 2004 the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank canceled part of the Niger’s external debt, followed in 2005 by the Paris Club countries. The main economic activities are subsistence agriculture, farming and the exploitation of uranium deposits. The primary sector ensures more than four out of five jobs and livestock farming alone contributes 14 % to GDP. However, famines are not uncommon: in particular, the 2004-05 campaign was disastrous, following both a period of drought and an invasion of locusts that affected the entire western section of the African continent.