Development of an African capital


Niamey, the capital city of Niger, has seen a remarkable population development over the years. Situated on the banks of the Niger River, the city has grown significantly since Niger gained independence in 1960. By the turn of the century, it had become one of the fastest-growing cities in Africa.

Several factors have contributed to Niamey’s population boom, including improved healthcare services and educational opportunities. However, the most factor is rural-to-urban migration. These factors have not only increased the city’s overall population but have also influenced the age structure with its average age of 21 years. This youthful population is a resource for the city’s development, offering workforce and potential for innovation. However, it also presents enormous challenges in terms of providing education, employment, and healthcare.

These challenges are reflected in the satellite maps, too, which show the growth of irregular informal settlements along the city borders.

Diagram: Population development of Niamey.


  • Satellite Map:
    • Looking at the satellite image maps from 198419992017, and 2023, try to identify built-up areas, deserts, riverine environments.
    • Estimate the area of the city in 1984 and in 2023, respectively.
    • By which factor has the area increased?
    • How does this relate with the population increase during this time span (see diagram above)?
    • Try to identify important traffic infrastructure (high-level roads, bridges crossing the Niger river, airports) and describe the change.
  • EO Browser:
    • Open the EO Browser.
    • Find the most recent Sentinel-2 dataset covering the area displayed in the satellite map
    • Select a true colour representation
    • Can you identify additional, recent changes in the area?
    • Select the false colour infrared representation. Can you identify the the most intensely vegetated areas (represented by bright red colours)? Where are they located in relation to water bodies?

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