Niamey (French pronunciation: ​[njamɛ]) is the capital and largest city of the West African country of Niger. Niamey lies on the Niger River, primarily situated on the east bank. Niamey's population was counted as 978,029 as of the 2012 census; the Niamey Capital District, covering 670 km2, had 1,026,848 people.[4] As of 2017, population projections show the capital district growing at a slower rate than the country as a whole, which has the world's highest fertility rate.[5]

Niamey Skyline
Niamey Skyline
Niamey is located in Niger
Location in Niger and Africa
Niamey is located in Africa
Niamey (Africa)
Coordinates: 13°30′42″N 2°7′31″E / 13.51167°N 2.12528°E / 13.51167; 2.12528Coordinates: 13°30′42″N 2°7′31″E / 13.51167°N 2.12528°E / 13.51167; 2.12528
RegionNiamey Urban Community
Communes Urbaines5 Communes
Districts44 Districts
Quartiers99 Quarters
 • TypeAppointed district government, elected city council, elected commune and quarter councils[1]
 • Mayor of Niamey CityAssane Seydou Sanda[1]
 • Total239.30 km2 (92.39 sq mi)
207 m (679 ft)
 (2018 Projection[3])
 • Total1,243,500
 • Density5,200/km2 (13,000/sq mi)
 Niamey Urban Community
Time zoneUTC+1 (WAT)
Area code(s)20

The city is located in a pearl millet growing region, while manufacturing industries include bricks, ceramic goods, cement and weaving.


Niamey in December 1930. The large house in the centre is the French governor's residence. Air photo taken by Swiss pilot and photographer Walter Mittelholzer.

Niamey was probably founded in the 18th century and originated as a cluster of small villages (Gaweye, Kalley, Maourey, Zongo and Foulani Koira).[6] Niamey was of little importance until the French developed it as a colonial centre in the late 1890s. The town, then with an estimated population of some 1,800, was chosen as the capital of the newly created Military Territory of Niger in 1905, however the capital was shifted to the more established city of Zinder in 1912.[6] Zinder's proximity to the Nigerian border and distance from French-controlled ports prompted the French to move the capital back to Niamey in 1926, by which time the city had some 3,000 inhabitants.[6] A series of devastating droughts prompted significant population growth during this period, and by 1945 the population was about 8,000.[6]

Prior to 1926-27 the Upper Volta-Niger border ran along the Niger river, meaning that Niamey lay directly on the boundary.[7]

Place du Liptako-Gourma

At the time of independence in 1960 the population had grown to around 30,000.[8][1][6] The period from 1970 to 1988 was one in which the economy of Niger boomed, driven by revenue from the uranium mines at Arlit. As a result, the population of Niamey grew from 108,000 to 398,365 inhabitants and the city expanded from 1,367 hectares (3,380 acres) in 1970 to 4,400 hectares (11,000 acres) by 1977, in the process annexing peripheral villages such as Lazaret.[9] Continuing droughts also caused many rural Nigeriens to move to the growing city.[6]

In 1992 Niamey and its immediate hinterland were split off from Niamey Region to form the much smaller Niamey Capital District, enclaved within the new Tillabéri Region.[10]

By some estimates the population had reached 700,000 in 2000.[6] In 2011, government press estimated the total urban population at over 1.5 million. A major cause of the increase has been in migration for work and during droughts, as well a high population growth.[1] This last factor means that demographically a majority of the city's citizens are young people.[1]


The Friendship Bridge

Covering an area of over 250 km2 (97 sq mi), the metropolitan area sits atop two plateaux reaching 218 m (715 ft) in altitude, bisected by the Niger River. At Niamey, the river, running almost straight SSE from Gao, Mali, makes a series of wide bends. The city was founded on the east ("left bank") of the river as it meanders from a west to east flow to run almost directly south. A series of marshy islands begin at Niamey and extend south in the river.

The vast majority of the population and government and commercial buildings are located on the eastern bank of the river. The very centre of the centre contains a number of wide boulevards linking roundabouts. Two bridges connect the two sides - the Kennedy Bridge and the Friendship Bridge. The western bank area consists mainly of residential areas such as Gaweye, Saguia, Lamorde, Saga and Karadje, as well as Abdou Moumouni University.


The climate is hot semi-arid (Köppen climate classification BSh), with an expected rainfall of between 500 mm (20 in) and 750 mm (30 in) a year, mostly beginning with a few storms in May, then transitioning to a rainy season, usually lasting from sometime in June to early September, when the rains taper off rather quickly. Most of the rainfall is from late June to mid-September. There is practically no rain from October to April. Niamey is remarkably hot throughout the year. In fact, it is one of the hottest major cities on the planet. Average monthly high temperatures reach 38 °C (100 °F) four months out of the year and in no month do average high temperatures fall below 32 °C (90 °F). During the dry season, particularly from November through February, nights are generally cool. Average nighttime lows between November and February range from 14–18 °C (57–64 °F).

Climate data for Niamey, Niger (1961–1990, extremes: 1961–2015)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 38.2
Average high °C (°F) 32.5
Daily mean °C (°F) 24.3
Average low °C (°F) 16.1
Record low °C (°F) 12.6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 0.0
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.8 2.9 5.9 9.9 12.2 7.4 1.6 0.1 0.0 41
Average relative humidity (%) 22 17 18 27 42 55 67 74 73 53 34 27 42
Mean monthly sunshine hours 280 264 264 251 257 251 238 203 228 285 285 276 3,082
Source 1: Deutscher Wetterdienst[11]
Source 2: Danish Meteorological Institute[12]


Niamey seen from Spot Satellite
Year Population
1901 600
1930 3,000
1960 30,000
1977 (Census) 233,414[3]
1988 (Census) 391,876[3]
2001 (Census) 690,286[3]
2012 (Census) 978,029[3]
2018 1,185,000
Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.

Niamey's population has grown exponentially since independence - the droughts of the early 1970s and 1980s, along with the economic crisis of the early 1980s, have propelled an exodus of rural inhabitants to Niger's largest city.[10] Under the military government of General Seyni Kountché, there were strict controls on residency and the government would regularly round up and "deport" those without permits back to their villages.[14] The growing freedoms of the late 1980s and 1990s, along with the Tuareg Rebellion of the 1990s and famine in the 2000s, have reinforced this process of internal migration, with large informal settlements appearing on the outskirts of the city. Noticeable in the city's centre since the 1980s are groups of poor, young, or handicapped beggars.[citation needed] Within the richer or more trafficked neighbourhoods, these beggars have in fact formed a well-regulated hierarchical system in which beggars garner sadaka according to cultural and religious norms.[14]

In the 1990s, the capital district population growth rate was lower than the torrid national rate, suggesting large rural migration (urbanization) was negligible in Niger, there is an undercount, and/or the government's forced urban to rural deportations were effective.[14]

Culture and ArchitectureEdit

Niamey Marketplace

A major attraction in the city is the Niger National Museum, which incorporates a zoo, a museum of vernacular architecture, a craft centre, and exhibits including dinosaur skeletons and the Tree of Ténéré. Other places of interest include the American, French and Nigerien cultural centres, seven major market centres (including the large Niamey Grand Market), a traditional wrestling arena and a horse racing track. Most of the colourful pottery sold in Niamey is hand made in the nearby village of Boubon.[citation needed]

In December 2005, it was the host of the Jeux de la Francophonie.[citation needed]

Places of worshipEdit

Niger being a predominantly Muslim country, mosques are the most common places of worship, with the Grande Mosquée being the largest in the city. There are also various Christian churches, most notably the Cathedral de Maourey.[15][6]



Niamey makes up a special capital district of Niger, which is surrounded by the Region of Tillabéri.

Old Presidential Palace

The city of Niamey itself is governed as an autonomous first-level administrative block, the Niamey Urban Community (Fr. Communauté Urbaine de Niamey, or CUN). It includes five Urban Communes, divided into 44 "Districts" and 99 "Quartiers", including formerly independent towns. It is a co-equal first division subdivision with the seven Regions of Niger. The Niamey Urban Community includes an administration and Governor appointed by national leaders.[1] Like the rest of Niger, Niamey has seen a decentralisation of governance since 2000. Government Ordinance n°2010–56 and Presidential Decree n°2010-679 of September 2010 mandated an elected City Council for the city of Niamey, subsumed under the CUN. This excludes some outlying areas of the CUN.[1] Forty-five councillors are popularly elected and in turn elect the Mayor of the City of Niamey. In July 2011 the first Mayor under the new system, Oumarou Dogari Moumouni, was installed by the Governor of the CUN Mrs. Aïchatou Boulama Kané and the City Council.[1] The City Council and Mayor have limited roles compared to the CUN Governor. Niamey has a third layer of government in the Commune system. Each Commune elects its own council, and outside major cities, these function like independent cities. Niamey and other major cities have been, since the advent of decentralisation, developing co-ordination of Commune governments in large cities made up of multiple Communes.[1]

Under this devolution process[16] formalised in the 1999 Constitution of Niger, the CUN contains five "Urban Communes" and no "Rural Communes". As all Nigerien Urban Communes, they are divided into Quarters ("Quartiers") with elected boards.

Communes and quartersEdit

The CUN includes 99 Quarters:[17]

Commune Quarters Map City map with the 5 communes
Niamey I
20 Quarters
Niamey II
17 Quarters
Niamey III
17 Quarters
Niamey IV
17 Quarters
Niamey V
28 Quarters

The CUN includes land where there were formerly several surrounding towns and villages which the city of Niamey has now annexed. These include Soudouré, Lamordé, Gamkallé, Yantala, and Gaweye.[18]

The CUN covers a territory of 239.30 km2 (92.39 sq mi),[19] or 0.02% of the nation's territory.[20]

Until 1998, all of greater Niamey was part of Tillabéri Region, which prior to 1992 was named the Niamey Department. The CUN remains surrounded on all sides by Tillabéri Region.[18]


Niamey is served by the Diori Hamani International Airport, located 12 km south-east of the city and is crossed by the RN1 highway. Niamey railway station, officially inaugurated in April 2014, is the first one built in Niger.[21][22] Boats are also used to travel the Niger river.[6]


The city is also the site of the National School of Administration, Abdou Moumouni University, the Higher Institute of Mining, Industry and Geology which lies on the right bank of the river, and many institutes (Centre numérique de Niamey, IRD, ICRISAT, Hydrologic Institute, etc.) Niamey hosts the African Centre of Meteorological Application for Development.[23]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Assane Seydou Sanda-elu-maire-de-la-ville-de-niamey&catid=34:actualites&Itemid=53 Installation du Conseil de ville de Niamey et élection des membres : M. Assane Seydou Sanda, élu maire de la ville de Niamey. Laouali Souleymane, Le Sahel (Niamey). 1 July 2011
  2. ^ Adamou Abdoulaye. Parcours migratoire des citadins et problème du logement à Niamey Archived 6 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Republique de Niger Universite Abdou Moumouni de Niamy Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines Departement de Geographie (2005), p. 34
  3. ^ a b c d e "Niger: Regions, Cities & Urban Centers - Population Statistics, Maps, Charts, Weather and Web Information".
  4. ^ "Niger: Regions, Cities & Urban Centers - Population Statistics in Maps and Charts".
  5. ^ "Niger: Regions, Departments, Communes, Cities, Localities and Municipal Arrondissements - Population Statistics in Maps and Charts".
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Geels, Jolijn, (2006) Bradt Travel Guide - Niger, pgs. 93-113
  7. ^ International Boundary Study No. 146 – Burkina Faso-Niger Boundary (PDF), 18 November 1974, retrieved 5 November 2019
  8. ^ Britannica, Niamey,, USA, accessed on July 7, 2019
  9. ^ Aloko-N'Guessan, Jérôme; Diallo, Amadou; Motcho, Kokou Henri (2010). Villes et organisation de l'espace en Afrique. Karthala Editions. pp. 30–31. ISBN 978-2-8111-0339-2.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  10. ^ a b According to Statsoid Archived 2009-07-24 at the Wayback Machine: "~1992: Tillabéry Region split from Niamey (whose FIPS code was NG05 before the change). Status of Niamey changed from Region to capital district."
  11. ^ "Klimatafel von Niamey (Aéro) / Niger" (PDF). Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  12. ^ "Stationsnummer 61052" (PDF). Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2016.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  13. ^ Cities and urban centers
  14. ^ a b c Patrick Gilliard, and Laurent Pédenon "Rues de Niamey, espace et territoires de la mendicité" Politique africaine, Paris (October 1996) no.63 pp. 51–60.
  15. ^ J. Gordon Melton, Martin Baumann, ‘‘Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices’’, ABC-CLIO, USA, 2010, p. 2103
  16. ^ Haut Commissariat à la Réforme Administrative: loi N°2002-016 bis du 11 une 2002.
  17. ^ (in French) Adamou Abdoulaye. Parcours migratoire des citadins et problème du logement à Niamey Archived 6 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Département de Géographie, Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines, Université Abdou Moumouni de Niamey (2005).
  18. ^ a b Decalo, Samuel (1997). Historical Dictionary of the Niger (3rd ed.). Boston & Folkestone: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-3136-8. pp. 225–227
  19. ^ FAO (2003), Section VI
  20. ^ Amadou Oumarou. Etat et contexte de la fourniture des services publics dans la commune urbaine de Say Archived 3 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine. LASDEL – Laboratoire d'études et recherches sur les dynamiques Sociales et le développement local, Niamey, Niger. (April 2007)
  21. ^ (in French) "Inauguration of the first train station in Niamey" (Radio France Internationale)
  22. ^ "A 80 Year-long Wait: Niger Gets its First Train Station" (Global Voices Online)
  23. ^ "African Centre of Meteorological Application for Development (ACMAD) -".


  • Decalo, Samuel (1997). Historical Dictionary of the Niger (3rd ed.). Boston & Folkestone: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-3136-8.
  • Geels, Jolijn (2006). Niger. Chalfont St Peter, Bucks / Guilford, CT: Bradt UK / Globe Pequot Press. ISBN 978-1-84162-152-4.

External linksEdit