(Republic of Niger,
République du Niger)
• Location: Western Africa
• Capital: Niamey
• Language(s): French, Hausa, Kanuri, Tamashiq
• Population: 15,545,331
• Total Area: 1,267,000 sq km
• Currency: CFA Franc
• Curious Alcohol Fact: Niger is a Muslim country but a local beer called Biere Niger is widely available.
• Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 0.32 liter
• Most Popular Drink(s): Biere Niger, Tea
The Republic of Niger is a landlocked nation in West Africa. It is one of the largest countries on the continent in terms of area. Named for the River Niger, Africa’s third longest river, Niger Republic is almost totally covered by the Sahara Desert. The country has the following nations has its neighbors: Nigeria, Chad, Algeria, Libya, Benin, Mali and Burkina Faso. With a tropical climate, much of the nation is always hot and dry. And honestly, I wonder how the nomads and cattle rearers manage to survive the merciless heat of the Sahara Desert. However, it gets better as one moves southwards and the precipitation increases. That also explains why a huge proportion of the population (including the capital city of Niamey) is found in the south of the country.
More than half of the Nigerien population are of the Hausa ethnic group and I find that very interesting as the Hausas are also one of the most important ethnic groups in the neighboring country of Nigeria where they play a major role in the politics and commerce of the country. Apart from the Hausa, there are other tribes in Niger Republic and some of these include: Zarma-Songhai (Zarma), Gumanche, Tuaregs, Fulani, Arabs and the Kanuris. I learnt that many of these tribes lead a nomadic life and cattle rearing is an integral part of their lives. Almost 90% of the citizens of the country are Muslims while others are either Christians or adherents of the animist African religions.
Foods in Niger Republic are quite tasty and delicious, and if there is anything that I enjoyed thoroughly in the country, then it must be the meals. One thing I observed with foods prepared in Niger is that quite a number of them are based on grains and flour, and there is a generous use of spices such as nutmegs, cloves and ginger. One meal that I will never forget is called fura de nono, it is round ball of sorghum and you will crushed it with hand in a bowl, add water, milk and sugar and it is ready to be consumed. Fura de nono is the perfect snack for a desert country like Niger. With the garnishing of food with these spices, you will find the meals tasty and mouth-watering. Meat is also quite common and can be attributed to the widespread rearing of cattle in the country. This is particularly the case in the northern parts of the country where there are many nomads.
For those with parched throats, there is one practice you will find fascinating in Niger Republic and that is tea drinking. It is more of culture and tradition in this vast country. If you are interested in something stronger, there is a local beer called Biere Niger and is widely available but you have always bear at the back of your mind that alcohol is not that popular in the country and many people can find it offensive. So, it is always better to purchase and consume in the bars and hotels in the capital city of Niamey.
Story By World By Shotglass
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Daniel Krasnopolsky (Woodmere, NY, USA)
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria).
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