Transport in Niger

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Transport in Niger is crucial to the economy of this vast landlocked nation, with cities separated by huge uninhabited deserts, mountain ranges, and other natural features. A poor nation, Niger's transport system was little developed during the colonial period (1899–1960), relying upon animal transport, human transport, and limited river transport in the far south west and south east. No railways were constructed in the colonial period, and roads outside the capital remained unpaved. The Niger River is unsuitable for river transport of any large scale, as it lacks depth for most of the year, and is broken by rapids at many spots. Camel caravan transport was historically important in the Sahara desert and Sahel regions which cover most of the north.

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Governance

Transport, including motor vehicles, highways, airports, and port authorities, are overseen by the Nigerien Ministry of Transport's Directorate for Land Water and Air Transport ("Ministère des Transport et de l'aviation civile/Direction des Transports Terrestres, Maritimes et Fluviaux"). Border controls and import/export duties are overseen by an independent tax police, the "Police du Douanes. Air traffic control is overseen and operated in conjunction with the pan-African ASECNA, which bases one of its five air traffic zones at Niamey's Hamani Diori International Airport.[1] A non-governmental body, the Nigerien Council of Users of Public Transport ("Conseil Nigérien des Utilisateurs des Transports Publics CNUT") advocates on behalf of users of public transport, including roads and airports.[2]

Highways

Outside of cities, the first major paved roads were constructed from the northern town of Arlit to the Benin border in the 1970s and 1980s. This road, dubbed the Uranium Highway runs through Arlit, Agadez, Tahoua, Birnin-Konni, and Niamey, and is part of the Trans-Sahara Highway system.

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