After attaining independence from France in 1960, the Republic of Niger was subjected to three decades of single-party military rule until Nigeriens propelled their country toward democracy and multiparty elections in 1993. However, a military coup in 1996 plunged Niger into political turmoil until democracy was restored three years later. With a per capita income of only $800, Niger is the 12th poorest country in the world. Ninety percent of the population is engaged in the agricultural sector, which is concentrated in the savanna of the south.

The uranium deposits of Niger are among the largest in the world. Other natural resources include coal, iron ore, tin, phosphates, gold, molybdenum, gypsum, salt, and petroleum. Frequent droughts and fluctuating uranium prices have slowed the economy, and ...

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