Niger’s population is also heavily affected by hunger and malnutrition, which usually results in increased death rates and a reduced fertility rate in a country. For Niger, this is only partially true: It is currently the most fertile country worldwide, its birth rate amounting to 6.62 children per woman in 2016. This is the reason for the fast population growth of roughly 4 percent per year, and high population figures. Consequentially, Niger's population is quite young on average. On the other hand, a high birth rate under bad economic and hygienic circumstances also results in a high infant mortality rate.
The Republic of Niger gained its independence from France in August 1960, and it did not become a democratic republic until 1993, when then General Ali Saibou was forced to allow multiparty elections. Nowadays, Niger is a semi-presidential republic divided into 7 regions. Spoken since the colonial period, French is the official language in the country, but other ethnic languages such as Hausa, Kanuri, and many others, are also frequently spoken.
Economically speaking, food shortages and lack of industrial infrastructure are contributing to the country’s continuously decreasing trade balance trend; in fact, trade has not been this bad in a very long time for Niger. The poor living conditions in the country, mirrored in the absence of a proper social and economic system, led to Niger being among the countries with the lowest gross domestic product per capita. Niger’s economy is highly dependent on the agrarian sector, which is often struggling with droughts and subsequent bad harvests. Still, the agriculture sector accounts for approximately 40 percent of the country´s GDP. The most important export and import partner of Niger is France, with a share of about a third in both respectively.