Niamey (French pronunciation: [njaˈmɛ]) is the Capital and largest city of the West African nation of Niger. It is Niger's largest city, lying on the Niger River, mostly on the east bank. It is an administrative, cultural and economic center. Niamey's population, officially 774,235 at the 2006 census, is estimated to be much higher. Niamey is located at 13°31'17" North, 2°6'19" East (13.521389, 2.105278).
The city is located in a pearl millet growing region, while manufacturing industries include bricks, ceramic goods, cement and weaving.
Niamey was probably founded in the eighteenth century, but was of little importance to most of the country until the French developed a colonial post in the 1890s. This rapidly grew into an important center. In 1926 it became the capital of Niger, and the population gradually increased, from about 3,000 in 1930 to around 30,000 in 1960, 250,000 in 1980 and - by some estimates - 800,000 in 2000. The major cause of the increase has been immigration during droughts.
Geography and climate
Covering an area of over 250 km² the metropolitan area sits atop two plateaus reaching 218 m 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 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 accelerating 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 August. There is practically no rain from mid-October to April. Niamey is remarkably hot throughout the year. Average monthly high temperatures reach 38°C (100°F) six months out of the year and in no month does average high temperatures fall below 32°C (90°F). During the dry season, particularly from November through February, nights are generally relatively cool. Average nighttime lows between November and February range from 14°C-18°C (57°F-64°F).
Full article ▸