In principle, it is free and compulsory schooling for 8 years for everyone aged 7-15. The primary school is 6 years old. The high school is 7 years old (4 + 3). About 95% of the country’s schools teach in French, approx. 4% in Arabic, and a few pilot schools teach the first grades in local, African languages. In 2001, 34% of children attended primary school. There are major regional and gender differences in access to education. The country is among the five countries in the world with the lowest proportion of children in school. In 1973, the country got its first university. An Islamic university was opened in 1987.
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According to UNESCO calculations, 2001 was approx. 84% of the adult population is illiterate.
In July-August 2010, Niger and the rest of the Sahel were hit by drought and extreme heat. The crops could not mature due to the extreme heat – caused by global climate change – and over 1 million people were threatened by famine. When the rain fell in August it was also extreme. The areas around the Niger River were flooded and the river itself rose to its highest level in 80 years. The rain destroyed the few food stocks left and caused the food to decay. International relief was made more difficult by the fear of kidnapping. In the previous 2 years, a large number of aid workers and tourists had been kidnapped by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and armed gangs. In September, 7 foreigners – 5 French, 1 Togolese and 1 Malagasy – were abducted by AQIM in Arlit in northern Niger. 2 of them worked for a French uranium mine. France gets almost all of its uranium from mines in Niger. AQIM demanded that France remove its ban on the use of veils, release a number of imprisoned AQIM members, as well as $ 7 million. € in ransom.
Niger flag source: Countryaah.com
The presidential election was conducted in 2011 as planned – with a few weeks delay – and was won by Mahamadou Issoufou of the Nigerian Party for Democracy and Socialism with 58% of the vote. In the first few reasons he had gained 36% of the vote, while his counterpart Seyni Oumarou had gained 23%. The election was peaceful, even though the two candidates were diametrically opposed to their relationship with Tandja. Oumarou had been his close ally and remained loyal to him. Issoufou, on the other hand, had been in opposition for 10 years. The transition of power from the military council under the leadership of Djibo to the president-elect also proceeded peacefully. Issoufou appointed Brigi Rafini as its prime minister.
Parallel to the first round of the presidential elections, in January 2011, parliamentary elections were held. The largest party became the Nigerian Party for Democracy and Socialism, which got 39 seats out of 113.
In July, a coup attempt aimed at Issoufou was revealed. A major, a lieutenant and 3 soldiers were arrested.
The rebellion against Ghaddafi in Libya also affected Niger, from which many guest workers were taken to Libya. The rebels accused the guest workers of being “mercenaries” for Gaddafi and thousands of black Africans killed as revenge. Those who could flee back across the border to eg. Niger. At the end of the year, prominent Libyans joined this refugee stream after the Gaddafi regime had fallen. Among other things. Ghaddafi’s own son, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, who sought refuge with nomads who had traditionally had a sympathetic relationship with Libya. A few months later, Saif returned to Libya, where he was arrested in December.
Following the military coup in Mali in March 2012, at least 50,000 sought refuge in camps in Niger. From the same year, the country’s troops began to battle with rebel groups operating in Mali and Nigeria. Captured rebels from AQIM and Boko Haram were subjected to torture.