The nations of Niger and Nigeria both take their names from the Niger River, which flows through both countries. But Niger and Nigeria couldn’t be more different from each other.
Niger has an area of 489,189 square miles, while Nigeria is 132,000 square miles smaller. With a population of some 85 million, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. Niger has a population of just 5 million and is one of the least densely populated countries on earth.
French is the official language of Niger, English is the official language of Nigeria. Most of the people in Niger are Muslim, while about 35 percent of all Nigerians are Christian. Nigeria is largely fertile and forested, with many rivers and a long coastline, while Niger is four-fifths desert and is completely cut off from the sea.
Although the Niger River flows through Niger, many rapids along the river prevent ships from using that waterway to reach Niger from the sea. Niamey, the capital city of Niger, is about 600 miles from the nearest port! And there’s not a single mile of railroad track in the entire country.
By the way, a person from Niger is a Nigerien, while a person from Nigeria is a Nigerian.