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Traditional faiths (8%)
  • Others (1%)[6]
  • DemonymAfrican
    Countries54 recognized states, 2 partially recognized states, 4 dependent territories
    Largest urban areas:
    The size of Africa compared to the other continents

    Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous

    human population. Africa's population is the youngest amongst all the continents;[8][9] the median age in 2012 was 19.7, when the worldwide median age was 30.4.[10] Despite a wide range of natural resources, Africa is the least wealthy continent per capita and second-least wealthy by total wealth, ahead of Oceania. Scholars have attributed this to different factors including geography, climate, tribalism,[11] colonialism, the Cold War,[12][13] neocolonialism, lack of democracy, and corruption.[11]
    Despite this low concentration of wealth, recent economic expansion and the large and young population make Africa an important economic market in the broader global context.

    The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The continent includes Madagascar and various archipelagos. It contains 54 fully recognised sovereign states, eight cities and islands that are part of non-African states, and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition. This count does not include Malta and Sicily, which are geologically part of the African continent. Algeria is Africa's largest country by area, and Nigeria is its largest by population. African nations cooperate through the establishment of the African Union, which is headquartered in Addis Ababa.

    Africa straddles the

    southern temperate zone

    Africa is highly

    extinction of the Pleistocene megafauna. However, Africa also is heavily affected by a wide range of environmental issues, including desertification, deforestation, water scarcity and pollution. These entrenched environmental concerns are expected to worsen as climate change impacts Africa. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has identified Africa as the continent most vulnerable to climate change.[16][17]


    Homo sapiens (modern human) remains, found in Ethiopia, South Africa, and Morocco, date to circa 233,000, 259,000, and 300,000 years ago, respectively, and Homo sapiens is believed to have originated in Africa around 350,000–260,000 years ago.[a] Africa is also considered by anthropologists to be the most genetically diverse continent as a result of being the longest inhabited.[25][26][27]

    Early human civilizations, such as

    long and complex history of civilizations, migration and trade, Africa hosts a large diversity of ethnicities, cultures and languages. The last 400 years have witnessed an increasing European influence on the continent. Starting in the 16th century, this was driven by trade, including the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, which created large African diaspora populations in the Americas. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, European nations colonized almost all of Africa, reaching a point when only Ethiopia and Liberia were independent polities.[28] Most present states in Africa emerged from a process of decolonisation following World War II


    The totality of Africa seen by the Apollo 17 crew

    Afri was a Latin name used to refer to the inhabitants of then-known northern Africa to the west of the Nile river, and in its widest sense referred to all lands south of the Mediterranean (Ancient Libya).[29][30] This name seems to have originally referred to a native Libyan tribe, an ancestor of modern Berbers; see Terence for discussion. The name had usually been connected with the Phoenician word ʿafar meaning "dust",[31] but a 1981 hypothesis[32] has asserted that it stems from the Berber word ifri (plural ifran) meaning "cave", in reference to cave dwellers.[33] The same word[33] may be found in the name of the Banu Ifran from Algeria and Tripolitania, a Berber tribe originally from Yafran (also known as Ifrane) in northwestern Libya,[34] as well as the city of Ifrane in Morocco.


    Africa Proconsularis, following its defeat of the Carthaginians in the Third Punic War in 146 BC, which also included the coastal part of modern Libya.[35] The Latin suffix -ica can sometimes be used to denote a land (e.g., in Celtica from Celtae, as used by Julius Caesar). The later Muslim region of Ifriqiya, following its conquest of the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire's Exarchatus Africae
    , also preserved a form of the name.

    According to the Romans, Africa lies to the west of Egypt, while "Asia" was used to refer to

    Prime Meridian and making the isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea
    the boundary between Asia and Africa. As Europeans came to understand the real extent of the continent, the idea of "Africa" expanded with their knowledge.

    Other etymological hypotheses have been postulated for the ancient name "Africa":

    • The 1st-century Jewish historian
      Flavius Josephus (Ant. 1.15) asserted that it was named for Epher, grandson of Abraham
      according to Gen. 25:4, whose descendants, he claimed, had invaded Libya.
    • Isidore of Seville in his 7th-century Etymologiae XIV.5.2. suggests "Africa comes from the Latin aprica, meaning "sunny".
    • Massey, in 1881, stated that Africa is derived from the Egyptian af-rui-ka, meaning "to turn toward the opening of the Ka." The
      Ka is the energetic double of every person and the "opening of the Ka" refers to a womb or birthplace. Africa would be, for the Egyptians, "the birthplace."[36]
    • Michèle Fruyt in 1976 proposed[37] linking the Latin word with africus "south wind", which would be of Umbrian origin and mean originally "rainy wind".
    • Robert R. Stieglitz of Rutgers University in 1984 proposed: "The name Africa, derived from the Latin *Aphir-ic-a, is cognate to Hebrew Ophir ['rich']."[38]
    • Ibn Khallikan and some other historians claim that the name of Africa came from a Himyarite king called Afrikin ibn Kais ibn Saifi also called "Afrikus son of Abraham" who subdued Ifriqiya.[39][40][41]
    • Arabic afrīqā (feminine noun) and ifrīqiyā, now usually pronounced afrīqiyā (feminine) 'Africa', from ‘afara [‘ = ‘ain, not ’alif] 'to be dusty' from ‘afar 'dust, powder' and ‘afir 'dried, dried up by the sun, withered' and ‘affara 'to dry in the sun on hot sand' or 'to sprinkle with dust'.[42]
    • Possibly Phoenician faraqa in the sense of 'colony, separation'.[43]



    Awash Valley of Ethiopia's Afar Triangle

    Africa is considered by most paleoanthropologists to be the oldest inhabited territory on Earth, with the Human species originating from the continent.[44] During the mid-20th century, anthropologists discovered many fossils and evidence of human occupation perhaps as early as seven million years ago (Before present, BP). Fossil remains of several species of early apelike humans thought to have evolved into modern humans, such as Australopithecus afarensis radiometrically dated to approximately 3.9–3.0 million years BP,[45] Paranthropus boisei (c. 2.3–1.4 million years BP)[46] and Homo ergaster (c. 1.9 million–600,000 years BP) have been discovered.[7]

    After the evolution of

    Homo sapiens approximately 350,000 to 260,000 years BP in Africa,[20][21][22][23] the continent was mainly populated by groups of hunter-gatherers.[47][48] These first modern humans left Africa and populated the rest of the globe during the Out of Africa II migration dated to approximately 50,000 years BP, exiting the continent either across Bab-el-Mandeb over the Red Sea,[49][50] the Strait of Gibraltar in Morocco,[51][52] or the Isthmus of Suez in Egypt.[53]

    Other migrations of modern humans within the African continent have been dated to that time, with evidence of early human settlement found in Southern Africa, Southeast Africa, North Africa, and the Sahara.[54]

    Emergence of civilization

    The size of the Sahara has historically been extremely variable, with its area rapidly fluctuating and at times disappearing depending on global climatic conditions.[55] At the end of the Ice ages, estimated to have been around 10,500 BCE, the Sahara had again become a green fertile valley, and its African populations returned from the interior and coastal highlands in sub-Saharan Africa, with rock art paintings depicting a fertile Sahara and large populations discovered in Tassili n'Ajjer dating back perhaps 10 millennia.[56] However, the warming and drying climate meant that by 5000 BC, the Sahara region was becoming increasingly dry and hostile. Around 3500 BC, due to a tilt in the Earth's orbit, the Sahara experienced a period of rapid desertification.[57] The population trekked out of the Sahara region towards the Nile Valley below the Second Cataract where they made permanent or semi-permanent settlements. A major climatic recession occurred, lessening the heavy and persistent rains in Central and Eastern Africa. Since this time, dry conditions have prevailed in Eastern Africa and, increasingly during the last 200 years, in Ethiopia.

    The domestication of cattle in Africa preceded agriculture and seems to have existed alongside hunter-gatherer cultures. It is speculated that by 6000 BC, cattle were domesticated in North Africa.[58] In the Sahara-Nile complex, people domesticated many animals, including the donkey and a small screw-horned goat which was common from Algeria to Nubia. Between 10,000 and 9,000 BC, pottery was independently invented in the region of Mali in the savannah of West Africa.[59][60] In the steppes and savannahs of the Sahara and Sahel in Northern

    Saharan rock art in the Fezzan, Libya

    West Africa, people possibly ancestral to modern

    castor beans, and cotton were also collected.[62] Sorghum was first domesticated in Eastern Sudan around 4000 BC, in one of the earliest instances of agriculture in human history. Its cultivation would gradually spread across Africa, before spreading to India around 2000 BC.[63][64]

    People around modern-day Mauritania started making

    voandzeia (African groundnuts), were domesticated, followed by okra and kola nuts. Since most of the plants grew in the forest, the Niger–Congo speakers invented polished stone axes for clearing forest.[66]

    Around 4000 BC, the Saharan climate started to become drier at an exceedingly fast pace.[67] This climate change caused lakes and rivers to shrink significantly and caused increasing desertification. This, in turn, decreased the amount of land conducive to settlements and encouraged migrations of farming communities to

    Colossal statues of Ramesses II at Abu Simbel, Egypt, date from around 1250 BC.

    the more tropical climate of West Africa.[67] During the first millennium BC, a reduction in wild grain populations related to changing climate conditions facilitated the expansion of farming communities and the rapid adoption of rice cultivation around the Niger River.[68][69]

    By the first millennium BC,

    Ironworking was fully established by roughly 500 BC in many areas of East and West Africa, although other regions did not begin ironworking until the early centuries CE. Copper objects from Egypt, North Africa, Nubia, and Ethiopia dating from around 500 BC have been excavated in West Africa, suggesting that Trans-Saharan trade networks had been established by this date.[67]

    Early civilizations

    Diachronic map showing African empires spanning roughly 500 BC to 1500 AD

    At about 3300 BC, the historical record opens in Northern Africa with the rise of literacy in the Pharaonic civilization of ancient Egypt.[73] One of the world's earliest and longest-lasting civilizations, the Egyptian state continued, with varying levels of influence over other areas, until 343 BC.[74][75] Egyptian influence reached deep into modern-day Libya and Nubia, and, according to Martin Bernal, as far north as Crete.[76]

    An independent centre of civilization with trading links to Phoenicia was established by Phoenicians from Tyre on the north-west African coast at Carthage.[77][78][79]

    Persian-occupied Egypt. He founded Alexandria in Egypt, which would become the prosperous capital of the Ptolemaic dynasty after his death.[82]

    Roman ruins of Timgad, in modern-day Algeria
    Punic district of Carthage
    Nubian pyramids at Meroë, Sudan

    Following the conquest of North Africa's Mediterranean


    Christianity spread across these areas at an early date, from Judaea via Egypt and beyond the borders of the Roman world into Nubia;

    Aksumite Empire. Syro-Greek missionaries, who arrived by way of the Red Sea, were responsible for this theological development.[85]

    In the early 7th century, the newly formed Arabian Islamic

    Qayrawan in North Africa. Islamic North Africa had become diverse, and a hub for mystics, scholars, jurists, and philosophers. During the above-mentioned period, Islam spread to sub-Saharan Africa, mainly through trade routes and migration.[86]

    In West Africa, Dhar Tichitt and Oualata in present-day Mauritania figure prominently among the early urban centers, dated to 2,000 BC. About 500 stone settlements litter the region in the former savannah of the Sahara. Its inhabitants fished and grew millet. It has been found by Augustin Holl that the Soninke of the Mandé peoples were likely responsible for constructing such settlements. Around 300 BCE, the region became more desiccated and the settlements began to decline, most likely relocating to Koumbi Saleh.[87] Architectural evidence and the comparison of pottery styles suggest that Dhar Tichitt was related to the subsequent Ghana Empire. Djenné-Djenno (in present-day Mali) was settled around 300 BC, and the town grew to house a sizable Iron Age population, as evidenced by crowded cemeteries. Living structures were made of sun-dried mud. By 250 BCE, Djenné-Djenno had become a large, thriving market town.[88][89]

    Further south, in central

    Bini kingdom of Benin are suggested to be continuations of the traditions of the earlier Nok culture.[90][72]

    Ninth to eighteenth centuries

    Pre-colonial Africa possessed perhaps as many as 10,000 different states and polities[91] characterized by many different sorts of political organization and rule. These included small family groups of hunter-gatherers such as the San people of southern Africa; larger, more structured groups such as the family clan groupings of the Bantu-speaking peoples of central, southern, and eastern Africa; heavily structured clan groups in the Horn of Africa; the large Sahelian kingdoms; and autonomous city-states and kingdoms such as those of the Akan; Edo, Yoruba, and Igbo people in West Africa; and the Swahili coastal trading towns of Southeast Africa.

    The intricate 9th-century bronzes from Igbo-Ukwu, in Nigeria displayed a level of technical accomplishment that was notably more advanced than European bronze casting of the same period.[92]

    By the ninth century AD, a string of dynastic states, including the earliest

    Kanem-Bornu Empire. Ghana declined in the eleventh century, but was succeeded by the Mali Empire
    which consolidated much of western Sudan in the thirteenth century. Kanem accepted Islam in the eleventh century.

    In the forested regions of the West African coast, independent kingdoms grew with little influence from the

    Eze Nri. The Nri kingdom is famous for its elaborate bronzes, found at the town of Igbo-Ukwu. The bronzes have been dated from as far back as the ninth century.[93]

    The Kingdom of Ife, historically the first of these Yoruba city-states or kingdoms, established government under a priestly oba ('king' or 'ruler' in the Yoruba language), called the Ooni of Ife. Ife was noted as a major religious and cultural centre in West Africa, and for its unique naturalistic tradition of bronze sculpture. The Ife model of government was adapted at the Oyo Empire, where its obas or kings, called the Alaafins of Oyo, once controlled a large number of other Yoruba and non-Yoruba city-states and kingdoms; the Fon Kingdom of Dahomey was one of the non-Yoruba domains under Oyo control.


    Arab Bedouin tribes from the Arabian Peninsula who migrated westwards via Egypt between the eleventh and

    Ruins of Great Zimbabwe
    (flourished eleventh to fifteenth centuries)

    thirteenth centuries. Their migration resulted in the fusion of the Arabs and Berbers, where the locals were Arabized,[95] and Arab culture absorbed elements of the local culture, under the unifying framework of Islam.[96]

    Following the breakup of Mali, a local leader named

    jigawa, Katsina, and Gobir – had developed into walled towns engaging in trade, servicing caravans
    , and the manufacture of goods. Until the fifteenth century, these small states were on the periphery of the major Sudanic empires of the era, paying tribute to Songhai to the west and Kanem-Borno to the east.

    Height of the slave trade

    Major slave trading regions of Africa, 15th–19th centuries.

    Slavery had long been practiced in Africa.[98][99] Between the 15th and the 19th centuries, the Atlantic slave trade took an estimated 7–12 million slaves to the New World.[100][101][102] In addition, more than 1 million Europeans were captured by Barbary pirates and sold as slaves in North Africa between the 16th and 19th centuries.[103]

    In West Africa, the decline of the Atlantic slave trade in the 1820s caused dramatic economic shifts in local polities. The gradual decline of slave-trading, prompted by a lack of demand for slaves in the New World, increasing anti-slavery legislation in Europe and America, and the British Royal Navy's increasing presence off the West African coast, obliged African states to adopt new economies. Between 1808 and 1860, the British West Africa Squadron seized approximately 1,600 slave ships and freed 150,000 Africans who were aboard.[104]

    Action was also taken against African leaders who refused to agree to British treaties to outlaw the trade, for example against "the usurping King of

    Asante Confederacy, the Kingdom of Dahomey, and the Oyo Empire) adopted different ways of adapting to the shift. Asante and Dahomey concentrated on the development of "legitimate commerce" in the form of palm oil, cocoa, timber and gold, forming the bedrock of West Africa's modern export trade. The Oyo Empire, unable to adapt, collapsed into civil wars.[106]


    Comparison of Africa in the years 1880 and 1913


    Western European powers during the era of "New Imperialism" (1833–1914). In 1870, 10% of the continent was formally under European control. By 1914, this figure had risen to almost 90%, with only Liberia and Ethiopia retaining their full sovereignty.[c]

    The 1884

    informal imperialism" – military influence and economic dominance – to direct rule.[110]

    With the decline of the European colonial empires in the wake of both world wars, most of their African possessions
    achieved independence during the Cold War. However, the old imperial boundaries and economic systems imposed by the Scramble continue to affect the politics and economies of African countries.[111]

    Independence struggles

    European control in 1939

    Imperial rule by Europeans would continue until after the conclusion of World War II, when almost all remaining colonial territories gradually obtained formal independence. Independence movements in Africa gained momentum following World War II, which left the major European powers weakened. In 1951, Libya, a former Italian colony, gained independence. In 1956, Tunisia and Morocco won their independence from France.[112] Ghana followed suit the next year (March 1957),[113] becoming the first of the sub-Saharan colonies to be granted independence. Most of the rest of the continent became independent over the next decade.

    Portugal's overseas presence in

    , until 1994.

    Post-colonial Africa

    Today, Africa contains 54 sovereign countries, most of which have borders that were drawn during the era of European colonialism. Since independence, African states have frequently been hampered by instability, corruption, violence, and authoritarianism. The vast majority of African states are republics that operate under some form of the presidential system of rule. However, few of them have been able to sustain democratic governments on a permanent basis – per the criteria laid out by Lührmann et al. (2018), only Botswana and Mauritius have been consistently democratic for the entirety of their post-colonial history. Most African countries have experienced several coups or periods of military dictatorship. Between 1990 and 2018, though, the continent as a whole has trended towards more democratic governance.[114]

    Upon independence an overwhelming majority of Africans lived in extreme poverty. The continent suffered from the lack of infrastructural or industrial development under colonial rule, along with political instability. With limited financial resources or access to global markets, relatively stable countries such as Kenya still experienced only very slow economic development. Only a handful of African countries succeeded in obtaining rapid economic growth prior to 1990. Exceptions include Libya and Equatorial Guinea, both of which possess large oil reserves.

    Instability throughout the continent after decolonization resulted primarily from marginalization of ethnic groups, and corruption. In pursuit of personal political gain, many leaders deliberately promoted ethnic conflicts, some of which had originated during the colonial period, such as from the grouping of multiple unrelated ethnic groups into a single colony, the splitting of a distinct ethnic group between multiple colonies, or existing conflicts being exacerbated by colonial rule (for instance, the preferential treatment given to ethnic Hutus over Tutsis in Rwanda during German and Belgian rule).

    Faced with increasingly frequent and severe violence, military rule was widely accepted by the population of many countries as means to maintain order, and during the 1970s and 1980s a majority of African countries were controlled by

    military dictatorships. Territorial disputes between nations and rebellions by groups seeking independence were also common in independent African states. The most devastating of these was the Nigerian Civil War, fought between government forces and an Igbo separatist republic, which resulted in a famine that killed 1–2 million people. Two civil wars in Sudan, the first lasting from 1955 to 1972 and the second
    from 1983 to 2005, collectively killed around 3 million. Both were fought primarily on ethnic and religious lines.

    Cold War conflicts between the United States and the Soviet Union also contributed to instability. Both the Soviet Union and the United States offered considerable incentives to African political and military leaders who aligned themselves with the superpowers' foreign policy. As an example, during the Angolan Civil War, the Soviet and Cuban aligned MPLA and the American aligned UNITA received the vast majority of their military and political support from these countries. Many African countries became highly dependent on foreign aid. The sudden loss of both Soviet and American aid at the end of the Cold War and fall of the USSR resulted in severe economic and political turmoil in the countries most dependent on foreign support.

    There was a

    historians attribute primarily to the forced relocation of farmworkers and seizure of grain by communist Derg government, further exacerbated by the civil war.[115][116][117][118] In 1994 a genocide in Rwanda resulted in up to 800,000 deaths, added to a severe refugee crisis and fueled the rise of militia groups in neighboring countries. This contributed to the outbreak of the first and second Congo Wars, which were the most devastating military conflicts in modern Africa, with up to 5.5 million deaths,[119] making it by far the deadliest conflict in modern African history and one of the costliest wars in human history.[120]

    • An animated map shows the order of independence of African nations, 1950–2011
      An animated map shows the order of independence of African nations, 1950–2011
    • Africa's wars and conflicts, 1980–96   Major Wars/Conflict (>100,000 casualties)   Minor Wars/Conflict   Other Conflicts
      Africa's wars and conflicts, 1980–96
        Major Wars/Conflict (>100,000 casualties)
        Minor Wars/Conflict
        Other Conflicts
    • Political map of Africa in 2021
      Political map of Africa in 2021

    Various conflicts between various insurgent groups and governments continue. Since 2003 there has been an ongoing


    Overall though, violence across Africa has greatly declined in the 21st century, with the end of civil wars in Angola, Sierra Leone, and Algeria in 2002, Liberia in 2003, and Sudan and Burundi in 2005. The Second Congo War, which involved 9 countries and several insurgent groups, ended in 2003. This decline in violence coincided with many countries abandoning communist-style command economies and opening up for market reforms, which over the course of the 1990s and 2000s promoted the establishment of permanent, peaceful trade between neighboring countries (see Capitalist peace).

    Improved stability and economic reforms have led to a great increase in foreign investment into many African nations, mainly from China,

    industrialization, and epidemics of Ebola and COVID-19.[125][126]

    Geology, geography, ecology, and environment

    Topography of Africa

    Africa is the largest of the three great southward projections from the largest landmass of the Earth. Separated from Europe by the Mediterranean Sea, it is joined to Asia at its northeast extremity by the Isthmus of Suez (transected by the Suez Canal), 163 km (101 mi) wide.[127] (Geopolitically, Egypt's Sinai Peninsula east of the Suez Canal is often considered part of Africa, as well.)[128]

    The coastline is 26,000 km (16,000 mi) long, and the absence of deep indentations of the shore is illustrated by the fact that Europe, which covers only 10,400,000 km2 (4,000,000 sq mi) – about a third of the surface of Africa – has a coastline of 32,000 km (20,000 mi).[129] From the most northerly point, Ras ben Sakka in Tunisia (37°21' N), to the most southerly point, Cape Agulhas in South Africa (34°51'15" S), is a distance of approximately 8,000 km (5,000 mi).[130] Cape Verde, 17°33'22" W, the westernmost point, is a distance of approximately 7,400 km (4,600 mi) to Ras Hafun, 51°27'52" E, the most easterly projection that neighbours Cape Guardafui, the tip of the Horn of Africa.[129]

    Africa's largest country is Algeria, and its smallest country is Seychelles, an archipelago off the east coast.[131] The smallest nation on the continental mainland is The Gambia.

    African plate

    Today, the African Plate is moving over Earth's surface at a speed of 0.292° ± 0.007° per million years, relative to the "average" Earth (NNR-MORVEL56)


    Anatolian Plate to the north; and the Antarctic Plate
    to the south.

    60 million years ago and 10 million years ago, the
    rifting from the African Plate along the East African Rift.[132] Since the continent of Africa consists of crust from both the African and the Somali plates, some literature refers to the African Plate as the Nubian Plate to distinguish it from the continent as a whole.[133]


    The climate of Africa ranges from

    arid, while its central and southern areas contain both savanna plains and dense jungle (rainforest) regions. In between, there is a convergence, where vegetation patterns such as sahel and steppe dominate. Africa is the hottest continent on Earth and 60% of the entire land surface consists of drylands and deserts.[134] The record for the highest-ever recorded temperature, in Libya in 1922 (58 °C (136 °F)), was discredited in 2013.[135][136]

    Climate change

    Graph showing temperature change in Africa between 1901 and 2021, with red colour being warmer and blue being colder than average (the average temperature during 1971–2000 is taken as the reference point for these changes).

    agricultural production, food security, water security and ecosystem services.[142] As a result, there will be severe consequences on lives and sustainable development in Africa.[138]

    Over the coming decades, warming from climate change is expected across almost all the Earth's surface, and global mean rainfall will increase.
    [143] Currently, Africa is warming faster than the rest of the world on average. Large portions of the continent may become uninhabitable as a result of the rapid effects of climate change, which would have disastrous effects on human health, food security, and poverty.[144][145][146] Regional effects on rainfall in the tropics are expected to be much more spatially variable. The direction of change at any one location is often less certain. Consistent with this, observed surface temperatures have generally increased over Africa since the late 19th century to the early 21st century by about 1 °C.[147] In the Sahel, the increase has been as much as 3 °C for the minimum temperature at the end of the dry season.[147] Observed precipitation trends indicate spatial and temporal discrepancies as expected.[148][138] The observed changes in temperature and precipitation vary regionally.[149][148]

    Ecology and biodiversity

    The main biomes in Africa.

    Africa has over 3,000 protected areas, with 198 marine protected areas, 50 biosphere reserves, and 80 wetlands reserves. Significant habitat destruction, increases in human population and poaching are reducing Africa's biological diversity and arable land. Human encroachment, civil unrest and the introduction of non-native species threaten biodiversity in Africa. This has been exacerbated by administrative problems, inadequate personnel and funding problems.[134]

    soil degradation.[153]


    Savanna at Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania

    Africa boasts perhaps the world's largest combination of density and "range of freedom" of

    extinction of the Pleistocene megafauna

    Environmental issues

    water supply and sanitation).[154] These issues result in environmental conflict and are connected to broader social struggles for democracy and sovereignty.[155]


    Water resources

    Water development and

    management are complex in Africa due to the multiplicity of trans-boundary water resources (rivers, lakes and aquifers).[156] Around 75% of sub-Saharan Africa falls within 53 international river basin catchments that traverse multiple borders.[157][156] This particular constraint can also be converted into an opportunity if the potential for trans-boundary cooperation is harnessed in the development of the area's water resources.[156] A multi-sectoral analysis of the Zambezi River, for example, shows that riparian cooperation could lead to a 23% increase in firm energy production without any additional investments.[157][156] A number of institutional and legal frameworks for transboundary cooperation exist, such as the Zambezi River Authority, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol, Volta River Authority and the Nile Basin Commission.[156] However, additional efforts are required to further develop political will, as well as the financial capacities and institutional frameworks needed for win-win multilateral cooperative actions and optimal solutions for all riparians.[156]


    African Union

    Regions of the African Union:
     Northern Region ,  Southern Region ,  Eastern Region ,  Western Regions A and B ,  Central Region 

    The African Union (AU) is a continental union consisting of 55 member states. The union was formed, with Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as its headquarters, on 26 June 2001. The union was officially established on 9 July 2002[158] as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). In July 2004, the African Union's Pan-African Parliament (PAP) was relocated to Midrand, in South Africa, but the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights remained in Addis Ababa.

    The African Union, not to be confused with the AU Commission, is formed by the Constitutive Act of the African Union, which aims to transform the African Economic Community, a federated commonwealth, into a state under established international conventions. The African Union has a parliamentary government, known as the African Union Government, consisting of legislative, judicial and executive organs. It is led by the African Union President and Head of State, who is also the President of the Pan-African Parliament. A person becomes AU President by being elected to the PAP, and subsequently gaining majority support in the PAP. The powers and authority of the President of the African Parliament derive from the Constitutive Act and the Protocol of the Pan-African Parliament, as well as the inheritance of presidential authority stipulated by African treaties and by international treaties, including those subordinating the Secretary General of the OAU Secretariat (AU Commission) to the PAP. The government of the AU consists of all-union, regional, state, and municipal authorities, as well as hundreds of institutions, that together manage the day-to-day affairs of the institution.

    Extensive human rights abuses still occur in several parts of Africa, often under the oversight of the state. Most of such violations occur for political reasons, often as a side effect of civil war. Countries where major human rights violations have been reported in recent times include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, and Ivory Coast.

    Boundary conflicts

    African nations have made great efforts to respect international borders as inviolate for a long time. For example, the
    Organization of African Unity (OAU), which was established in 1963 and replaced by the African Union in 2002, set the respect for the territorial integrity of each country as one of its principles in OAU Charter.[159] Indeed, compared with the formation of European countries, there have been fewer international conflicts in Africa for changing the borders, which has influenced country formation there and has enabled some countries to survive that might have been defeated and absorbed by others.[160] Yet international conflicts have played out by support for proxy armies or rebel movements. Many states have experienced civil wars: including Rwanda, Sudan, Angola, Sierra Leone, Congo, Liberia, Ethiopia and Somalia.[161]



    Although it has abundant

    illiteracy, low self-esteem, lack of access to foreign capital, legacies of colonialism, the slave trade, and the Cold War, and frequent tribal and military conflict (ranging from guerrilla warfare to genocide).[162] Its total nominal GDP remains behind that of the United States, China, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, India and France. According to the United Nations' Human Development Report in 2003, the bottom 24 ranked nations (151st to 175th) were all African.[163]

    Poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition and inadequate water supply and sanitation, as well as poor health, affect a large proportion of the people who reside in the African continent. In August 2008, the World Bank[164] announced revised global poverty estimates based on a new international poverty line of $1.25 per day (versus the previous measure of $1.00). Eighty-one percent of the sub-Saharan African population was living on less than $2.50 (PPP) per day in 2005, compared with 86% for India.[165]

    Sub-Saharan Africa is the least successful region of the world in reducing poverty ($1.25 per day); some 50% of the population living in poverty in 1981 (200 million people), a figure that rose to 58% in 1996 before dropping to 50% in 2005 (380 million people). The average poor person in sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to live on only 70 cents per day, and was poorer in 2003 than in 1973,[166] indicating increasing poverty in some areas. Some of it is attributed to unsuccessful economic liberalization programmes spearheaded by foreign companies and governments, but other studies have cited bad domestic government policies more than external factors.[167][168]

    Africa is now at risk of being in debt once again, particularly in sub-Saharan African countries. The last debt crisis in 2005 was resolved with help from the heavily indebted poor countries scheme (HIPC). The HIPC resulted in some positive and negative effects on the economy in Africa. About ten years after the 2005 debt crisis in sub-Saharan Africa was resolved, Zambia fell back into debt. A small reason was due to the fall in copper prices in 2011, but the bigger reason was that a large amount of the money Zambia borrowed was wasted or pocketed by the elite.[169]

    From 1995 to 2005, Africa's rate of economic growth increased, averaging 5% in 2005. Some countries experienced still higher growth rates, notably

    oil extraction

    In a recently published analysis based on World Values Survey data, the Austrian political scientist Arno Tausch maintained that several African countries, most notably Ghana, perform quite well on scales of mass support for democracy and the market economy.[170]

    Rank Country
    GDP (nominal, Peak Year)
    millions of USD
    Peak Year
     African Union 2,945,709 2022
    1  Nigeria 568,499 2014
    2  Egypt 476,748 2022
    3  South Africa 458,708 2011
    4  Algeria 224,107 2023
    5  Ethiopia 155,804 2023
    6  Morocco 147,343 2023
    7  Angola 145,712 2014
    8  Kenya 113,701 2022
    9  Libya[171] 92,542 2012
    10  Tanzania 84,033 2023
    Rank Country GDP (PPP, Peak Year)
    millions of USD
    Peak Year
     African Union 8,865,179 2023
    1  Egypt 1,809,425 2023
    2  Nigeria 1,365,903 2023
    3  South Africa 997,444 2023
    4  Algeria 628,990 2023
    5  Ethiopia 393,297 2023
    6  Morocco 385,337 2023
    7  Kenya 338,964 2023
    8  Angola 260,323 2023
    9  Tanzania 227,725 2023
    10  Ghana 227,189 2023

    Tausch's global value comparison based on the

    UNDP's Human Development Report's Index of Human Inequality, further impairs the development of human security. Tausch also maintains that the certain recent optimism, corresponding to economic and human rights data, emerging from Africa, is reflected in the development of a civil society

    African countries by GDP (PPP) per capita in 2020

    The continent is believed to hold 90% of the world's

    food security crisis of 2008 which took place on the heels of the global financial crisis pushed 100 million people into food insecurity.[176]

    In recent years, the People's Republic of China has built increasingly stronger ties with African nations and is Africa's largest trading partner. In 2007, Chinese companies invested a total of US$1 billion in Africa.[121]

    A Harvard University study led by professor Calestous Juma showed that Africa could feed itself by making the transition from importer to self-sufficiency. "African agriculture is at the crossroads; we have come to the end of a century of policies that favoured Africa's export of raw materials and importation of food. Africa is starting to focus on agricultural innovation as its new engine for regional trade and prosperity."[177]

    Electricity generation

    The main source of electricity is hydropower, which contributes significantly to the current installed capacity for energy.[156] The Kainji Dam is a typical hydropower resource generating electricity for all the large cities in Nigeria as well as their neighbouring country, Niger.[178] Hence, the continuous investment in the last decade, which has increased the amount of power generated.[156]


    Proportion of total African population by country

      Nigeria (15.38%)
      Ethiopia (8.37%)
      Egypt (7.65%)
      Democratic Republic of the Congo (6.57%)
      Tanzania (4.55%)
      South Africa (4.47%)
      Kenya (3.88%)
      Uganda (3.38%)
      Algeria (3.36%)
      Other (42.39%)

    Africa's population has rapidly increased over the last 40 years, and is consequently relatively young. In some African states, more than half the population is under 25 years of age.[179] The total number of people in Africa increased from 229 million in 1950 to 630 million in 1990.[180] As of 2021, the population of Africa is estimated at 1.4 billion [1][2]. Africa's total population surpassing other continents is fairly recent; African population surpassed Europe in the 1990s, while the Americas was overtaken sometime around the year 2000; Africa's rapid population growth is expected to overtake the only two nations currently larger than its population, at roughly the same time – India and China's 1.4 billion people each will swap ranking around the year 2022.[181] This increase in number of babies born in Africa compared to the rest of the world is expected to reach approximately 37% in the year 2050; while in 1990 sub-Saharan Africa accounted for only 16% of the world's births.[182]

    The total fertility rate (children per woman) for Sub-Saharan Africa is 4.7 as of 2018, the highest in the world.[183] All countries in sub-Saharan Africa had TFRs (average number of children) above replacement level in 2019 and accounted for 27.1% of global livebirths.[184] In 2021, sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 29% of global births.[185]

    Speakers of

    Hottentots") have long been present. The San are physically distinct from other Africans and are the indigenous people of southern Africa.[citation needed] Pygmies are the pre-Bantu indigenous peoples of central Africa.[187]

    The peoples of West Africa primarily speak

    Akan, and Wolof ethnic groups are the largest and most influential. In the central Sahara, Mandinka or Mande groups are most significant. Chadic-speaking groups, including the Hausa, are found in more northerly parts of the region nearest to the Sahara, and Nilo-Saharan communities, such as the Songhai, Kanuri and Zarma
    , are found in the eastern parts of West Africa bordering Central Africa.

    Map of Africa indicating Human Development Index (2018).

    The peoples of North Africa consist of three main indigenous groups: Berbers in the northwest, Egyptians in the northeast, and Nilo-Saharan-speaking peoples in the east. The Arabs who arrived in the 7th century CE introduced the Arabic language and Islam to North Africa. The Semitic Phoenicians (who founded Carthage) and Hyksos, the Indo-Iranian Alans, the Indo- European Greeks, Romans, and Vandals settled in North Africa as well. Significant Berber communities remain within Morocco and Algeria in the 21st century, while, to a lesser extent, Berber speakers are also present in some regions of Tunisia and Libya.[188] The Berber-speaking Tuareg and other often-nomadic peoples are the principal inhabitants of the Saharan interior of North Africa. In Mauritania, there is a small but near-extinct Berber community in the north and Niger–Congo-speaking peoples in the south, though in both regions Arabic and Arab culture predominates. In Sudan, although Arabic and Arab culture predominate, it is mostly inhabited by groups that originally spoke Nilo-Saharan, such as the Nubians, Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa, who, over the centuries, have variously intermixed with migrants from the Arabian peninsula. Small communities of Afro-Asiatic-speaking Beja nomads can also be found in Egypt and Sudan.[189]

    In the

    branch of Afro-Asiatic.

    Prior to the

    pieds-noirs in North Africa),[191] Kenya, Congo,[192] Rhodesia, Mozambique and Angola.[193] Between 1975 and 1977, over a million colonials returned to Portugal alone.[194] Nevertheless, white Africans remain an important minority in many African states, particularly Zimbabwe, Namibia, Réunion, and South Africa.[195] The country with the largest white African population is South Africa.[196] Dutch and British diasporas represent the largest communities of European ancestry on the continent today.[197]

    European colonization also brought sizable groups of

    Austronesian people, but those along the coast are generally mixed with Bantu, Arab, Indian and European origins. Malay and Indian ancestries are also important components in the group of people known in South Africa as Cape Coloureds (people with origins in two or more races and continents). During the 20th century, small but economically important communities of Lebanese and Chinese[121] have also developed in the larger coastal cities of West and East Africa, respectively.[198]

    Alternative Estimates of African Population, 0–2018 AD (in thousands)

    Source: Maddison and others. (University of Groningen).[199]

    Year[199] 0 1000 1500 1600 1700 1820 1870 1913 1950 1973 1998 2018 2100
    Africa 16 500 33 000 46 000 55 000 61 000 74 208 90 466 124 697 228 342 387 645 759 954 1 321 000[200] 3 924 421[201]
    World 230 820 268 273 437 818 555 828 603 410 1 041 092 1 270 014 1 791 020 2 524 531 3 913 482 5 907 680 7 500 000[202] 10 349 323[201]

    Shares of Africa and World Population, 0–2020 AD (% of world total)

    Source: Maddison and others (University of Groningen).[199]

    Year[199] 0 1000 1500 1600 1700 1820 1870 1913 1950 1973 1998 2020 2100
    Africa 7.1 12.3 10.5 9.9 10.1 7.1 7.1 7.0 9.0 9.9 12.9 18.2[200] 39.4[203]


    A map showing religious distribution in Africa

    While Africans profess a wide variety of religious beliefs, the majority of the people respect African religions or parts of them. However, in formal surveys or census, most people will identify with major religions that came from outside the continent, mainly through colonisation. There are several reasons for this, the main one being the colonial idea that African religious beliefs and practices are not good enough. Religious beliefs and statistics on religious affiliation are difficult to come by since they are often a sensitive topic for governments with mixed religious populations.

    Jewish. There is also a minority of people in Africa who are irreligious


    By most estimates, well over a thousand languages (UNESCO has estimated around two thousand) are spoken in Africa.[206] Most are of African origin, though some are of European or Asian origin. Africa is the most multilingual continent in the world, and it is not rare for individuals to fluently speak not only multiple African languages, but one or more European ones as well.[further explanation needed] There are four major groups indigenous to Africa:

    A simplistic view of language families spoken in Africa
    • The Afroasiatic languages are a language family of about 240 languages and 285 million people widespread throughout the Horn of Africa, North Africa, the Sahel, and Southwest Asia.
    • The Nilo-Saharan languages consist of a group of several possibly related families,[207] spoken by 30 million people between 100 languages. Nilo-Saharan languages are spoken by ethnic groups in Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, and northern Tanzania.
    • The Niger-Congo language family covers much of sub-Saharan Africa. In terms of number of languages, it is the largest language family in Africa and perhaps one of the largest in the world.
    • The
      peoples are considered the original inhabitants of this part of Africa.

    Following the end of

    Italian colonies in Africa. German is spoken in Namibia, as it was a former German protectorate. In total, at least a fifth of Africans speak the former colonial languages.[210][211][212][d]


    Prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Africa, total (% of population ages 15–49), in 2011 (World Bank)
      over 15%
      not available

    More than 85% of individuals in Africa use traditional medicine as an alternative to often expensive allopathic medical health care and costly pharmaceutical products. The

    African traditional medicine in an effort to promote The WHO African Region's adopted resolution for institutionalizing traditional medicine in health care systems across the continent.[213] Public policy makers in the region are challenged with consideration of the importance of traditional/indigenous health systems and whether their coexistence with the modern medical and health sub-sector would improve the equitability and accessibility of health care distribution, the health status of populations, and the social-economic development of nations within sub-Saharan Africa.[214]

    AIDS in post-colonial Africa is a prevalent issue. Although the continent is home to about 15.2 percent of the world's population,[215] more than two-thirds of the total infected worldwide – some 35 million people – were Africans, of whom 15 million have already died.[216] Sub-Saharan Africa alone accounted for an estimated 69 percent of all people living with HIV[217] and 70 percent of all AIDS deaths in 2011.[218] In the countries of sub-Saharan Africa most affected, AIDS has raised death rates and lowered life expectancy among adults between the ages of 20 and 49 by about twenty years.[216] Furthermore, the life expectancy in many parts of Africa has declined, largely as a result of the HIV/AIDS epidemic with life-expectancy in some countries reaching as low as thirty-four years.[219]



    Some aspects of traditional African cultures have become less practised in recent years as a result of neglect and suppression by colonial and post-colonial regimes. For example, African customs were discouraged, and African languages were prohibited in mission schools.[220] Leopold II of Belgium attempted to "civilize" Africans by discouraging polygamy and witchcraft.[220]

    Obidoh Freeborn posits that colonialism is one element that has created the character of modern African art.[221] According to authors Douglas Fraser and Herbert M. Cole, "The precipitous alterations in the power structure wrought by colonialism were quickly followed by drastic iconographic changes in the art."[222] Fraser and Cole assert that, in Igboland, some art objects "lack the vigor and careful craftsmanship of the earlier art objects that served traditional functions.[222] Author Chika Okeke-Agulu states that "the racist infrastructure of British imperial enterprise forced upon the political and cultural guardians of empire a denial and suppression of an emergent sovereign Africa and modernist art."[223] Editors F. Abiola Irele and Simon Gikandi comment that the current identity of African literature had its genesis in the "traumatic encounter between Africa and Europe."[224] On the other hand, Mhoze Chikowero believes that Africans deployed music, dance, spirituality, and other performative cultures to (re)assert themselves as active agents and indigenous intellectuals, to unmake their colonial marginalization and reshape their own destinies."[225]

    There is now a resurgence in the attempts to rediscover and revalue African traditional cultures, under such movements as the

    Molefi Asante, as well as the increasing recognition of traditional spiritualism through decriminalization of Vodou
    and other forms of spirituality.

    As of March 2023, 98 African properties are listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. Among these proprieties, 54 are cultural sites, 39 are natural sites and 5 are mixed sites. The List Of World Heritage in Danger includes 15 African sites.[226]

    Visual art

    Nok figure (5th century BCE-5th century CE)

    African-American, Caribbean or art in South American societies inspired by African traditions. Despite this diversity, there are unifying artistic themes present when considering the totality of the visual culture from the continent of Africa.[227]

    Mediterranean coast, as such areas had long been part of different traditions. For more than a millennium, the art of such areas had formed part of Berber or Islamic art
    , although with many particular local characteristics.


    Congo rivers" in West Africa.[234] Direct images of deities are relatively infrequent, but masks in particular are or were often made for ritual ceremonies. Since the late 19th century there has been an increasing amount of African art in Western collections
    , the finest pieces of which are displayed as part of the history of colonization.

    African art has had an important influence on European Modernist art,[235] which was inspired by their interest in abstract depiction. It was this appreciation of African sculpture that has been attributed to the very concept of "African art", as seen by European and American artists and art historians.[236]

    West African cultures developed bronze casting for reliefs, like the famous
    Benin City, Edo State, as well as in terracotta or metal, from the 12th–14th centuries. Akan gold weights are a form of small metal sculptures produced over the period 1400–1900; some represent proverbs, contributing a narrative element rare in African sculpture; and royal regalia included impressive gold sculptured elements.[237] Many West African figures are used in religious rituals and are often coated with materials placed on them for ceremonial offerings. The Mande-speaking peoples of the same region make pieces from wood with broad, flat surfaces and arms and legs shaped like cylinders. In Central Africa
    , however, the main distinguishing characteristics include heart-shaped faces that are curved inward and display patterns of circles and dots.


    The Great Pyramids of Giza are regarded as one of the greatest architectural feats of all time and are one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

    Like other aspects of the

    Africans have developed their own local architectural traditions. In some cases, broader regional styles can be identified, such as the Sudano-Sahelian architecture of West Africa. A common theme in traditional African architecture is the use of fractal scaling: small parts of the structure tend to look similar to larger parts, such as a circular village made of circular houses.[238]

    African architecture in some areas has been influenced by external cultures for centuries, according to available evidence. Western architecture has influenced coastal areas since the late 15th century and is now an important source of inspiration for many larger buildings, particularly in major cities.

    African architecture uses a wide range of materials, including thatch, stick/wood, mud,
    mudbrick, rammed earth, and stone. These material preferences vary by region: North Africa for stone and rammed earth, the Horn of Africa for stone and mortar, West Africa for mud/adobe, Central Africa for thatch/wood and more perishable materials, Southeast and Southern Africa for stone and thatch/wood.


    Cinematic street poster in Tunis, Tunisia for the Egyptian film Saladin the Victorious (1963, Arabic: الناصر صلاح الدين, Al Nasser Salah Ad-Din) directed by Youssef Chahine starring Ahmed Mazhar as Saladin, Salah Zulfikar, Nadia Lutfi and others.

    Cinema of Africa covers both the history and present of the making or screening of films on the African continent, and also refers to the persons involved in this form of audiovisual culture. It dates back to the early 20th century, when film reels were the primary cinematic technology in use. During the colonial era, African life was shown only by the work of white, colonial, Western filmmakers, who depicted Africans in a negative fashion, as exotic "others".[239] As there are more than 50 countries with audiovisual traditions, there is no one single 'African cinema'. Both historically and culturally, there are major regional differences between North African and sub-Saharan cinemas, and between the cinemas of different countries.[239]

    The Cinema of Egypt and the Cinema of Tunisia are among the oldest in the world. Cinema of Egypt in particular is the most established and flourishing industry in Africa.[240][241] Pioneers Auguste and Louis Lumière screened their films in Alexandria, Cairo, Tunis, Susa, Libya and Hammam-Lif, Tunisia in 1896.[242][243] Albert Samama Chikly is often cited as the first producer of indigenous African cinema, screening his own short documentaries in the casino of Tunis as early as December 1905.[244] Alongside his daughter Haydée Tamzali, Chikly would go on to produce important early milestones such as 1924's The Girl from Carthage. In 1927, Egypt produced Laila the first feature-length film by Aziza Amir. In 1935, the Studio Misr in Cairo began producing mostly formulaic comedies and musicals, but also films like Kamal Selim's The Will (1939). Egyptian cinema flourished in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, considered its Golden Age.[245] Youssef Chahine's seminal Cairo Station (1958) laid the foundation for Arab film.[246]


    Given the vastness of the African continent, its music is diverse, with

    enslaved Africans, and have in turn influenced African popular music.[247][248]

    Like the music of Asia, India and the Middle East, it is a highly rhythmic music. The complex rhythmic patterns often involving one rhythm played against another to create a
    drums, and tone-producing instruments such as the mbira or "thumb piano."[248][249]


    African dance (also Afro dance, Afrodance and Afro-dance)[250][251][252][253][254] refers to the various dance styles of sub-Saharan Africa. These dances are closely connected with the traditional rhythms and music traditions of the region. Music and dancing is an integral part of many traditional African societies. Songs and dances facilitate teaching and promoting social values, celebrating special events and major life milestones, performing oral history and other recitations, and spiritual experiences.[255] African dance uses the concepts of polyrhythm and total body articulation.[256] African dances are a collective activity performed in large groups, with significant interaction between dancers and onlookers in the majority of styles.[257]


    Best results of African men's national football teams at the FIFA World Cup
    Supporters watching the 2010 FIFA World Cup in the township of Soweto, South Africa

    Fifty-four African countries have football teams in the Confederation of African Football. Egypt has won the African Cup seven times, and a record-making three times in a row. Cameroon, Nigeria, Morocco, Senegal, Ghana, and Algeria have advanced to the knockout stage of recent FIFA World Cups. Morocco made history at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar as the first African nation to reach the semi-finals of the FIFA Men's World Cup. South Africa hosted the 2010 World Cup tournament, becoming the first African country to do so. The top clubs in each African football league play the CAF Champions League, while lower-ranked clubs compete in CAF Confederation Cup.

    In recent years, the continent has made major progress in terms of state-of-the-art

    Rades.[258] The number of African basketball players who drafted into the NBA has experienced major growth in the 2010s.[259]

    10 October 1997, until 30 January 2014). The three countries jointly hosted the 2003 Cricket World Cup. Namibia is the other African country to have played in a World Cup. Morocco in northern Africa has also hosted the 2002 Morocco Cup
    , but the national team has never qualified for a major tournament.

    Rugby is popular in several southern African nations. Namibia and Zimbabwe both have appeared on multiple occasions at the Rugby World Cup, while South Africa is the most successful national team at the Rugby World Cup, having won the tournament on four occasions, in 1995, 2007, 2019, and 2023. [260]

    Territories and regions

    The countries in this table are categorized according to the scheme for geographic subregions used by the United Nations, and data included are per sources in cross-referenced articles. Where they differ, provisos are clearly indicated.

    Arms Flag Name of region[e] and
    territory, with flag
    Population[261] Year Density
    (per km2)
    Capital Name(s) in official language(s) ISO 3166-1
    North Africa
    Algeria Algeria Algeria 2,381,740 46,731,000 2022 17.7 Algiers الجزائر (al-Jazāʾir)/Algérie DZA
    Canary Islands Canary Islands Canary Islands (Spain)[f] 7,492 2,154,905 2017 226
    Las Palmas de Gran Canaria,
    Santa Cruz de Tenerife
    Canarias IC
    Italy Italy Pelagie Islands (Italy) 25.5 6,556 2019 247 Lampedusa Pelagie/Isole Pelagie/Ìsuli Pilaggî ITA
    Ceuta Ceuta Ceuta (Spain)[g] 20 85,107 2017 3,575 Ceuta/Sebta/سَبْتَة (Sabtah) EA
    Egypt Egypt Egypt[h] 1,001,450 82,868,000 2012 83 Cairo مِصر (Miṣr) EGY
    Libya Libya Libya 1,759,540 6,310,434 2009 4 Tripoli ليبيا (Lībiyā) LBY
    Madeira Madeira Madeira (Portugal)[i] 797 245,000 2001 307 Funchal Madeira PRT-30
    Melilla Melilla Melilla (Spain)[j] 12 85,116 2017 5,534 Melilla/Mlilt/مليلية EA
    Morocco Morocco Morocco 446,550 35,740,000 2017 78 Rabat المغرب (al-maḡrib)/ⵍⵎⵖⵔⵉⴱ (lmeɣrib)/Maroc MAR
    Sudan Sudan Sudan 1,861,484 30,894,000 2008 17 Khartoum Sudan/السودان (as-Sūdān) SDN
    Tunisia Tunisia Tunisia 163,610 10,486,339 2009 64 Tunis تونس (Tūnis)/Tunest/Tunisie TUN
    Western Sahara Western Sahara Western Sahara[k] 266,000 405,210 2009 2
    El Aaiún
    الصحراء الغربية (aṣ-Ṣaḥrā' al-Gharbiyyah)/Taneẓroft Tutrimt/Sáhara Occidental ESH
    East Africa
    Burundi Burundi Burundi 27,830 8,988,091 2009 323 Gitega Uburundi/Burundi/Burundi BDI
    Comoros Comoros Comoros 2,170 752,438 2009 347 Moroni Komori/Comores/جزر القمر (Juzur al-Qumur) COM
    Djibouti Djibouti Djibouti 23,000 828,324 2015 22
    Yibuuti/جيبوتي (Jībūtī)/Djibouti/Jabuuti DJI
    Eritrea Eritrea Eritrea 121,320 5,647,168 2009 47 Asmara Eritrea ERI
    Ethiopia Ethiopia Ethiopia 1,127,127 84,320,987 2012 75 Addis Ababa ኢትዮጵያ (Ītyōṗṗyā)/Itiyoophiyaa/ኢትዮጵያ/Itoophiyaa/Itoobiya/ኢትዮጵያ ETH
    French Southern and Antarctic Lands French Southern Territories (France) 439,781 100 2019 Saint Pierre Terres australes et antarctiques françaises FRA-TF
    Kenya Kenya Kenya 582,650 39,002,772 2009 66 Nairobi Kenya KEN
    Madagascar Madagascar Madagascar 587,040 20,653,556 2009 35 Antananarivo Madagasikara/Madagascar MDG
    Malawi Malawi Malawi 118,480 14,268,711 2009 120 Lilongwe Malaŵi/Malaŵi MWI
    Mauritius Mauritius Mauritius 2,040 1,284,264 2009 630 Port Louis Maurice/Moris MUS
    Mayotte Mayotte Mayotte (France) 374 223,765 2009 490 Mamoudzou Mayotte/Maore/Maiôty MYT
    Mozambique Mozambique Mozambique 801,590 21,669,278 2009 27 Maputo Moçambique/Mozambiki/Msumbiji/Muzambhiki MOZ
    Réunion Réunion Réunion (France) 2,512 743,981 2002 296 Saint Denis La Réunion FRA-RE
    Rwanda Rwanda Rwanda 26,338 10,473,282 2009 398 Kigali Rwanda RWA
    Seychelles Seychelles Seychelles 455 87,476 2009 192 Victoria Seychelles/Sesel SYC
    Somalia Somalia Somalia 637,657 9,832,017 2009 15 Mogadishu 𐒈𐒝𐒑𐒛𐒐𐒘𐒕𐒖 (Soomaaliya) /الصومال (aṣ-Ṣūmāl) SOM
    Somaliland Somaliland Somaliland 176,120 5,708,180 2021 25 Hargeisa Soomaaliland/صوماليلاند (Ṣūmālīlānd)
    South Sudan South Sudan South Sudan 619,745 8,260,490 2008 13 Juba South Sudan SSD
    Tanzania Tanzania Tanzania 945,087 44,929,002 2009 43 Dodoma Tanzania/Tanzania TZA
    Uganda Uganda Uganda 236,040 32,369,558 2009 137 Kampala Uganda/Yuganda UGA
    Zambia Zambia Zambia 752,614 11,862,740 2009 16 Lusaka Zambia ZMB
    Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Zimbabwe 390,580 11,392,629 2009 29 Harare Zimbabwe ZWE
    Central Africa
    Angola Angola Angola 1,246,700 12,799,293 2009 10 Luanda Angola AGO
    Cameroon Cameroon Cameroon 475,440 18,879,301 2009 40 Yaoundé Cameroun/Kamerun CMR
    Central African Republic Central African Republic Central African Republic 622,984 4,511,488 2009 7 Bangui Ködörösêse tî Bêafrîka/République centrafricaine CAF
    Chad Chad Chad 1,284,000 10,329,208 2009 8 N'Djamena تشاد (Tšād)/Tchad TCD
    Republic of the Congo Republic of the Congo Republic of the Congo 342,000 4,012,809 2009 12 Brazzaville Congo/Kôngo/Kongó COG
    Democratic Republic of the Congo Democratic Republic of the Congo Democratic Republic of the Congo 2,345,410 69,575,000 2012 30 Kinshasa République démocratique du Congo COD
    Equatorial Guinea Equatorial Guinea Equatorial Guinea 28,051 633,441 2009 23 Malabo Guinea Ecuatorial/Guinée Équatoriale/Guiné Equatorial GNQ
    Gabon Gabon Gabon 267,667 1,514,993 2009 6 Libreville gabonaise GAB
    São Tomé and Príncipe São Tomé and Príncipe 1,001 212,679 2009 212 São Tomé São Tomé e Príncipe STP
    Southern Africa
    Botswana Botswana Botswana 600,370 1,990,876 2009 3 Gaborone Botswana/Botswana BWA
    Eswatini Eswatini Eswatini 17,363 1,123,913 2009 65 Mbabane eSwatini/Eswatini SWZ
    Lesotho Lesotho Lesotho 30,355 2,130,819 2009 70 Maseru Lesotho/Lesotho LSO
    Namibia Namibia Namibia 825,418 2,108,665 2009 3 Windhoek Namibia NAM
    South Africa South Africa South Africa 1,219,912 51,770,560 2011 42 Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Pretoria[l] yaseNingizimu Afrika/yoMzantsi-Afrika/Suid-Afrika/Afrika-Borwa/Aforika Borwa/Afrika Borwa/Afrika Dzonga/yeNingizimu Afrika/Afurika Tshipembe/yeSewula Afrika ZAF
    West Africa
    Benin Benin Benin 112,620 8,791,832 2009 78 Porto-Novo Bénin BEN
    Burkina Faso Burkina Faso Burkina Faso 274,200 15,746,232 2009 57 Ouagadougou Burkina Faso BFA
    Cape Verde Cape Verde Cape Verde 4,033 429,474 2009 107 Praia Cabo Verde/Kabu Verdi CPV
    The Gambia The Gambia The Gambia 11,300 1,782,893 2009 158 Banjul The Gambia GMB
    Ghana Ghana Ghana 239,460 23,832,495 2009 100 Accra Ghana GHA
    Guinea Guinea Guinea 245,857 10,057,975 2009 41 Conakry Guinée GIN
    Guinea-Bissau Guinea-Bissau Guinea-Bissau 36,120 1,533,964 2009 43 Bissau Guiné-Bissau GNB
    Ivory Coast Ivory Coast Ivory Coast 322,460 20,617,068 2009 64 Abidjan,[m] Yamoussoukro Côte d'Ivoire CIV
    Liberia Liberia Liberia 111,370 3,441,790 2009 31 Monrovia Liberia LBR
    Mali Mali Mali 1,240,000 12,666,987 2009 10 Bamako Mali/Maali/مالي (Mālī)/𞤃𞤢𞥄𞤤𞤭 (Maali)/ߡߊߟߌ (Mali) MLI
    Mauritania Mauritania Mauritania 1,030,700 3,129,486 2009 3 Nouakchott موريتانيا (Mūrītānyā) MRT
    Niger Niger Niger 1,267,000 15,306,252 2009 12 Niamey Niger NER
    Nigeria Nigeria Nigeria 923,768 166,629,000 2012 180 Abuja Nigeria NGA
    United Kingdom Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha (United Kingdom) 420 7,728 2012 13 Jamestown Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha SHN
    Senegal Senegal Senegal 196,190 13,711,597 2009 70 Dakar Sénégal SEN
    Sierra Leone Sierra Leone Sierra Leone 71,740 6,440,053 2009 90 Freetown Sierra Leone SLE
    Togo Togo Togo 56,785 6,019,877 2009 106 Lomé togolaise TGO
    Africa Total 30,368,609 1,001,320,281 2009 33

    See also


    1. ^ [19][20][21][22][23][24]
    2. ^ Also known as the Partition of Africa, the Conquest of Africa, or the Rape of Africa.
    3. Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria in 1914.[107]
    4. ^ The previous three references show that there a total of 130 million English speakers, 120 million French speakers, and over 30 million Portuguese speakers in Africa, making them about 20% of Africa's 2022 population of 1.4 billion people.
    5. ^ Continental regions as per UN categorizations/map.
    6. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria are Santa Cruz de Tenerife are co-capitals, are often considered part of Northern Africa due to their relative proximity to Morocco and Western Sahara
      ; population and area figures are for 2001.
    7. is surrounded on land by Morocco in Northern Africa; population and area figures are for 2001.
    8. ^ Egypt is generally considered a transcontinental country in Northern Africa (UN region) and Western Asia; population and area figures are for African portion only, west of the Suez Canal.
    9. Madeira Islands
      are often considered part of Northern Africa due to their relative proximity to Morocco; population and area figures are for 2001.
    10. exclave of Melilla
      is surrounded on land by Morocco in Northern Africa; population and area figures are for 2001.
    11. SADR is recognized as a sovereign state by the African Union. Morocco claims the entirety of the country as its Southern Provinces
      . Morocco administers 4/5 of the territory while the SADR controls 1/5. Morocco's annexation of this territory has not been recognized internationally.
    12. ^ Bloemfontein is the judicial capital of South Africa, while Cape Town is its legislative seat, and Pretoria is the country's administrative seat.
    13. ^ Yamoussoukro is the official capital of Ivory Coast, while Abidjan is the de facto seat.


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