Niger is a country located in west Africa. The country's capital is Niamey, located in the southwestern region of Niger. The state has no outlet to the sea. Niger’s total cover is approximately 1,267,000 square kilometers with land covering about 1,266,700 square kilometers and area covered by water is estimated to be merely 300 square kilometers.
Niger was under the French colonial rule until the year 1960 when it attained its independence. However, the country has gone through political turmoil both internally and externally. The land was controlled by the military immediately after independence until 1991 when multi-party democracy was implemented by General Ali Saibou as a result of public outcry.
Countries Bordering Niger
Since Niger is landlocked, it shares its border with many other countries. In the north, are Algeria and Libya, while to the eastern boundary is with Chad. Benin and Nigeria lie to the southern borders whereas Burkina Faso and Mali are located to the southeastern and western borders respectively. The border distance varies in accordance to the extent of the land shared.
The northern neighboring countries of Niger are Algeria and Libya. Algeria is a North African independent nation with an area of 2,381,741 square kilometers, making it one of the largest countries in the world. Algeria is Africa’s largest country and tenth on a global scale. Some parts of this country are located in the Sahara Desert, which is a vast desert covering most regions of North Africa. The distance of the land boundary between Niger and Algeria is 951 kilometers. Libya also borders Niger to the north, with a border distance of 342 kilometers. Libya is situated in the northern Maghreb African region and borders the Mediterranean Sea to the north.
The country bordering Niger to the west is Chad. The border distance is very long, 1,196 kilometers. Chad is also landlocked, and the region it covers is vast, making it the fifth largest country in Africa. This country lies in the Sahara Desert. The southern border is shared with Nigeria. This border is the longest to be shared between Niger and another country with the distance of 1,608 kilometers. The land here is fair regarding the climatic conditions as compared with the extreme Sahara Desert conditions in the other regions.
Another country bordering Niger is Benin which is located in the southern part of the country. However, the distance of the border is very short, about 277 kilometers. Benin is smaller as compared to the other countries sharing the border with Niger; thus the reason why the border distance is short. In the western region, Niger borders both Mali and Burkina Faso. The land boundary between Mali and Niger stretches over a distance of 838 kilometers. On the other hand, Burkina Faso shares a border of approximately 622 kilometers. The total distance of Niger’s land boundary is estimated to be 5,834 kilometers. This is the distance of land extending over the border of all the seven countries neighboring it.
Relations Between Niger And Neighboring Countries
Niger has striven to maintain good terms with its neighbors. Most of the countries in this region were colonized by France and have a common historical background. Also, the communities living in the West African region share some cultural and social ties. For example, Nigeria and Niger have the Hausa minority group which dwells in both countries. Therefore, the presence of this community led to the formation of the Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission for Cooperation (NNJC). This move was aimed at ensuring good relations between the two countries.
Furthermore, the need for economic relations has had a good impact in strengthening ties between Niger and its neighbors. Since it is a landlocked country, Niger has been forced to look for other means to access the seaport. Benin has been helpful by making the port of Cotonou accessible to Niger. Nigeria has made Port Harcourt available to Niger for their import and export purposes. Togo, via the port of Lome, has been of great importance to Niger too.
Niger is a member state of many political, economic, and social organizations comprising its neighboring countries. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is an economic organization to which Niger is a member; together with other fourteen West African states. Another organization in which Niger claims membership in the West African Monetary Union. The rest include the Non-Aligned Movement, Lake Chad Basin Commission, the Organization of African Union (AU), and the United Nations, among others.