Niger belongs to the African countries that kept the language of the colonial force that occupied them as the official language used by the government, the public services and for the relations with foreign countries. It is also used by everyone that manages to receive a formal to high level education. Being a member of Organization Internationale de la Francophonie since 1970 and a French colony, Niger has maintained French as the official language.
However, for the common people it is not the first language. It is the second one, with the first being one of the 10 ethnic languages spoken by each group. Sometimes someone may speak all the ethnic languages but not French. These 10 languages are in alphabetical order:
- Zarma & Songhai
Since Hausa and Zarma – Songhai are the predominant ethnic groups, these two are the languages spoken throughout the country and by almost everyone.