The Republic of Niger is a landlocked country in the north-central region of Africa. The capital and largest city is Niamey. The government is a republic with a president as head of state and a unicameral legislature. The population is about 16 million.The terrain is largely flat, although there are several high plateaus and mountains near the border with Nigeria, Cameroon and Benin. The climate is predominantly tropical, but moderates along the border with Algeria.Niamey was founded in 1910 by French settlers, who named it for the Niger River that flows through the country. Niger became an independent republic in 1960. In 1993, it became the first African country to allow multiparty elections since independence.