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10 Weird Facts About Niger You Need To Know


Niger is in the northern part of Africa.  It is a republic.  The country shares border with Nigeria and Chad. The official language of Niger is French. But the Hausa language and Djerma are spoken by many people. The country is predominantly Muslim.  Christians and other religions account for only 20% of religious adherents. Here are ten more facts about Niger that you will find somehow weird.

Population: 17.83 million (2013)

Capital: Niamey

Currency: West African CFA franc

President: Mahamadou Issoufou

Prime minister: Brigi Rafini

Continent: Africa

System of Government:  Unitary semi-presidential republic

Official Language: French

Weird Facts About Niger

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1. NO TOUCHING

During greeting, you would notice these:

  • Men don't touch men
  • Women don't touch women

However, it is taboo for Muslim men to touch women or vice versa.

2. GREETING A MUST

Greeting is very important to the Nigerien's.  Most people will take offence if you don't greet them before starting a conversation. And of course, typical greetings are elaborate, and go beyond just saying "hello!"

3. NO WOMEN-MEN EYE CONTACT

Women avoid eye contact with men. This is especially so in public.  A woman who makes eye contact with men in public is viewed as irresponsible.  And a man deliberately seeking to see a woman's eyes is courting trouble.

4. RARELY TIME CONSCIOUS

Punctually is usually appreciated. But late arrival, especially in the rural areas, is not frowned at.  Appointments are made loosely.  Only business appointments have time fixtures.  And even these are not usually kept.

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5. WOMEN DON'T SMOKE/DRINK

It is rare, almost impossible to see women drinking alcohol or smoking. Women who drink alcohol and/or smoke are viewed by most as prostitutes.

6. FINGER/NOSE TALK

In Niger, there are a number of things you can "say" without actually voicing them. For example, you don't need to verbalize, "You are lying!"  You only need to flick your nose with an index finger.

7. FINGER/EAR TALK

Hands do "talk" in certain cases, almost all over the world. In Niger, to tell someone they are crazy, you only need to wave a finger around your ear on the side of the hand waving the finger.

8. RIGHT ALWAYS RIGHT

The left hand is seen in Niger, and in almost all Islamic circles as unclean. Therefore, greeting, eating, and accepting things with the left are all taboos in Niger. Always use the right.

9. TRICKY HAGGLING

Nigerien's generally put a high price on their goods. But that does not really mean they would stand rigidly on it.  They usually allow haggling and eventually accept a much lower amount.

If they reject your offer and you make to leave, they usually call you back...unless they really cannot come that low.

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10. TOUCHING IS TABOO

In Niger, you would notice the following:

  • Men touch men in public
  • Women touch women in public

But that is where it stops. Touching in public between people of opposite sex is a taboo.

Hope you've learnt so much from the ten facts about Niger article.

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