Niger

All about Niger

Geography

Total area: 1,267,000 km2

Population: 15,290,000 (2009 est.)

Language

Literacy: 17%

Official languages: French, Hausa, Kanuri, Zarma, Tamasheq

Economy

GDP (PPP) per capita: $2,162 (2009 est.)

Politics

Government: Military junta

President of the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy: Salou Djibo

Prime Minister: Mahamadou Danda

Religion

Religions: 93% Muslim, 4% Christian, 3% other religions

Open Doors persecution index: N/A

Prayer points

The outcome of Niger’s recent elections has boosted hopes for a stable democracy. Despite fears of a flawed election process, Niger’s vote proved both credible and peaceful. However, the new government will face huge justice and poverty challenges. In 2010, the UN’s Human Development Index (using criteria of life expectancy, education and health) ranked Niger as 169th out of 171 countries. Less than half the population has access to safe water and communities often lack food for part of the year. Children are prone to diarrhoea, malnutrition and stunted growth. Pray that Niger’s new leaders will have the heart to rule with justice and determinedly tackle poverty. (Tearfund – April 2011)

Children and young adults forced to beg, sold into domestic service, used as labourers in mines and agriculture, and sexually exploited – this is the grim reality of trafficking in Niger and other countries in Africa. Students and graduates are not immune from these dangers and, sadly, young people who go against their parents’ beliefs and convert to Christianity are particularly at risk. Christian students in Niger long to respond to the injustices of society and to be part of helping others to see God’s kingdom come on earth. Please pray for them as they work to encourage church members to join with NGOs who are fighting people trafficking, inspire graduates to sustain this ministry, and equip students to help rescued children re-integrate into society. (IFES – March 2011)

Drought has turned to deluge in parts of Niger – and brought a load more trouble to many people weakened by hunger. For months, nearly half the country’s population has been left unable to feed themselves due to a lack of rain killing crops last year and vast amounts of livestock this year. Now a rain storm hitting the Azawak region has resulted in flash floods, killing many of the remaining animals. Drought and famine have also impacted neighbouring Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso and northern Nigeria. Pray for those in Niger reeling after the floods, that they receive help to get back on their feet. Give thanks for the much-needed rain but pray for regular weather patterns which are required for a good harvest and good pasture for the animals. (Tearfund – August 2010)

The Maures are a large people group spread across the semi-desert countries of North West Africa. They speak Hassaniya, a dialect of Arabic. There are marked social divisions within this people group, particularly between the Arab-Berber ‘white’ Maure, and the ‘black’ Maure, many of whom are descended from former slaves. In this totally Muslim society there has been little response to the gospel. Please pray for isolated believers to be encouraged as well as for radio, films and television programmes to be used as tools to lead people to ask more about the gospel. Finally, pray for opportunities for Christian workers to take the gospel message to villages and towns in the interior. (WEC International – September 2010)

In West Africa, millions are desperate for food. Bad harvests over a number of years mean that staple foods like grain have shot up in price by as much as 43 percent. At the same time, the value of cattle has plummeted. Families would normally trade their cattle for food but now they’re not worth enough. This means they have no money, and many people are eating just one meal a day. In Niger alone, a massive seven million people, half of the country’s population, need urgent help. (Tearfund – July 2010)

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