Niger remains one of the world's least-developed countries. A largely desert landscape, shortage of arable land and recurring drought mean alleviating poverty will prove difficult. From 2005 to 2006, a serious food crisis affected up to 2.5 million people, requiring a major international relief operation.
A military coup took place in Niger on 18 February 2010. Popular demonstrations continue in major cities, but the situation otherwise appears calm. Travellers are advised against all non-essential travel to the city. Those in Niamey should exercise caution until the situation has stabilised. There is a high risk of kidnap in Niger.
British nationals are also being targeted by West African scam artists through internet based dating sites.
Following a change to the constitution in August 2009 affecting the Presidential mandate, political demonstrations have taken place in urban areas throughout Niger. Such activity is likely to continue.
It is advised against all travel to the Aïr Massif region and on the road linking Assamaka, Arlit and Agagez. Armed groups are operating in the north and are known to be using landmines. It is also advise against all but essential travel to Azagez and north of the city Abalack. Extreme caution should be exercised when travelling to the following areas: the Ténéré and Kaouar regions; the Azawagh area, particularly the area between the Malian and Algerian borders and the towns of Tahoua and Ingall; the east of the Aïr Massif.
Due to the presence of armed bandits, travellers should avoid all travel between towns by road at night. Visitors should always use local guides and seek local advice when travelling outside of the main towns and in desert areas.
Caution should be taken travelling in Niamey at night. On the night of 8 January 2008, a car was blown up by a landmine, killing one person and seriously injuring another. It is not known who was responsible. A second, unexploded landmine was also recovered.
Visitors should take sensible precautions to keep safe important items such as money, passports, jewellery and mobile phones.
Terrorists are active in countries neighbouring Niger, including Algeria and Chad. Travellers should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
Visitors should carry some form of identification at all times. This would normally mean your passport or residence permit. For travellers intending to drive outside of the main towns, the likelihood of having to produce some form of identification is high.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organisations for the latest travel advice: