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The Republic of Niger is the largest country in West Africa, named after the Niger River. Over 80 percent of its land is covered by the Sahara Desert.
The former French colony acquired its freedom in 1960 and is still one of the world's poorest countries. It was ranked last at 187th in the United Nations' Human Development Index in 2013.
Olaf Scholz has visited German troops and held talks with his counterpart in Niamey. He's on the second leg of his first Africa trip since his election. The focus of his visit is security in Sahel and the Bundeswehr's role in training Niger's special forces.