No one is sure how many people live in Niamey. A figure of around one million is probably about right. Many people from the bush come into town during the dry season to try to make some money before they head back to their villages for the planting season. There are many squatter villages and shanytowns both on the outskirts and right in the center of town.
Niger has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world. So shops have pictures showing paintings of what services or goods can be had inside. There are many interesting ones around like this one for a barber shop. Interestingly, most of the signs seem to be imported from Ghana. We tried to buy some of them from the shops, but most were unwilling to sell, or asked exhorbitant prices because it was rather difficult to get a new one.
All along the banks of the Niger, you will see people doing laundry, especially in Niamey. The River is also used for bathing, not so much within the city, but in the country it is common to see.