Except along the Niger River, Niger is an arid nation that is part of the Sahara Desert. Its official language is French, but Arabic and indigenous languages are also spoken. The culture is a complex one in which modesty is essential, although norms vary with each tribe.
The majority of the population lives in rural areas and practices Islam. Industries include uranium mining and textiles. Niger is made up of a number of ethnic groups, including the Tuareg, Fulah and Tibu. The Tuareg are known for their exquisite silver work.