How Many Countries Are There in Africa Today: List, Population, Richest and Smallest
Africa has the second-largest population in the world. Photo KnowInsiders

According to the United Nations Department for General Assembly and Conference Management, 54 countries belong to the African Group and are Members of the United Nations. Africa has the second-largest population in the world, with an estimated 1 billion inhabitants. This constitutes almost 15% of the world’s population.

Over 1,000 official languages are spoken across the African continent; and the largest religious group is Islam, followed by Christianity.

The Full List of Countries of Africa - Updated

  1. Algeria
  2. Angola
  3. Benin
  4. Botswana
  5. Burkina Faso
  6. Burundi
  7. Cameroon
  8. Cape Verde
  9. Central African Republic
  10. Chad
  11. Camoros
  12. Democratic Republic of the Congo
  13. Republic of the Congo
  14. Djibouti
  15. Egypt
  16. Equatorial Guinea
  17. Eritrea
  18. Ethiopia
  19. Gabon
  20. Gambia
  21. Ghana
  22. Guinea
  23. Guinea-Bissau
  24. Ivory Coast
  25. Kenya
  26. Lesotho
  27. Liberia
  28. Libya
  29. Madagascar
  30. Malawi
  31. Mali
  32. Mauritania
  33. Mauritius
  34. Morocco
  35. Mozambique
  36. Namibia
  37. Niger
  38. Nigeria
  39. Rwanda
  40. Sao Tome and Principe
  41. Senegal
  42. Seychelles
  43. Sierra Leone
  44. Somalia
  45. South Africa
  46. South Sudan
  47. Sudan
  48. Swaziland
  49. Tanzania
  50. Togo
  51. Tunisia
  52. Uganda
  53. Zambia
  54. Zimbabwe

How big is Africa?

Photo Vidiani
Photo Vidiani

Africa is the second largest continent in the world in terms of land area and population. Africa covers a land mass of over 3 million square kilometres (11.7 square miles), which includes independent island states.

Africa is separated from Europe by the Mediterranean Sea and joined with Asia by the Isthmus of Suez. This is a 120 kilometre (75 mile) strip of land which lies between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. The Suez Rift runs beneath the Isthmus of Suez which divides mainland Egypt and Africa from the Sinai Peninsula.

Africa is surrounded by the Red Sea and the Suez Canal in the northeast, the warm Indian Ocean to the southeast, the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the icy cold Atlantic Ocean to the west.

The distance from the southernmost tip of Africa at Cape Agulhas to the northernmost tip at Ras ben Sakka in Tunisia is approximately 8 050 kilometres (5 000 miles). The distance between the most easterly point at Ras Fun in Somalia and the most westerly point in Cape Verde is approximately 7 400 kilometres (4 600 miles).

Africa straddles the Equator which passes through 6 countries: Gabon, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Kenya and Somalia.

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Top 5 smallest countries in Africa by land area are all island nations

1.Seychelles: an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean

2.São Tomé and Príncipe: two main islands of the archipelago located in the Gulf of Guinea

3.Mauritius: located in the Indian Ocean, includes the Mascarene Islands of Rodrigues

4.Comoros: archipelago of three main islands and numerous smaller islands, located in the Indian Ocean

5.Cape Verde: archipelago of 10 islands, located in the Atlantic Ocean

The smallest country in mainland Africa is the Republic of The Gambia. It is almost completely surrounded by Senegal except for its western coastline along the Atlantic Ocean.

Top 5 Richest countries in Africa

Looking at the purchasing gross domestic product (GDP) of the countries in Africa, the Top 5 richest countries in Africa in 2019 were:

Egypt. Photo Borgen Project
Egypt. Photo Borgen Project

1.Egypt

2.Nigeria

3.South Africa

4.Algeria

5.Morocco

Top 5 Poorest countries in Africa

The Top 5 poorest countries in Africa in 2019 by purchasing GDP were:

Photo Borgen Project
Photo Borgen Project

1.Burundi

2.The Central African Republic

3.The Democratic Republic of the Congo

4.Eritrea

5.Liberia

How Many Countries in Sub-saharan Africa are in Poverty?

According to the World Data Lab, 42 African countries are in poverty, and in 16 of those countries, the poverty rate is rising.

Twenty-seven of the world’s 28 poorest countries are in Sub-saharan Africa. Each of these countries has a poverty rate of over 30 percent.

While the absolute number of people living in global poverty has decreased over the last several decades, in Sub-saharan Africa, the number has increased, and substantially so.

In 1990, 278 million people in Sub-saharan Africa lived in poverty. By 2015, that number had grown to 413 million, and it’s now approaching 440 million.

Hunger in Africa is also on the rise. Two hundred fifty-six million Africans are hungry, an increase of 44 million since 2014.

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How is Poverty Measured in Africa?

Poverty in Africa, like elsewhere, is typically measured in economic terms. The standard measure is the World Bank's definition of living on less than $1.90 per day. But as we've mentioned, economics cannot be the sole measure and determinant of poverty.

The World Bank recognizes that poverty is hunger, lack of shelter, being sick and not being able to see a doctor, not having access to school, not knowing how to read, not having a job, fearing for the future, losing a child to a curable illness, and living one day at a time. It also understands that poverty is powerlessness and lack of representation and freedom.

Because this broader measure of poverty expands upon the economic definition of poverty, the World Bank developed indicators to assess the non-income dimensions of poverty. The indicators include education, health, access to social services, vulnerability, social exclusion, and access to social capital.

Poverty in Africa: Facts and Figures

Extreme poverty leads to hunger in Africa: More than a quarter of the hungry in the world live on the African continent. One fifth of people living in Africa are considered malnourished. This gives the continent the highest rate of malnourished people worldwide.

More than 30 percent of African children suffer from growth disorders such as stunting due to their chronic malnutrition. This disease causes a physical and mental underdevelopment in children.

Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest infant mortality. On average, one in 11 children dies before his fifth birthday. Three of the four countries with the highest infant mortality worldwide are on the African continent: Ethiopia, Nigeria and Kenya. In addition to complications at birth and malnutrition, there are diseases such as pneumonia, diarrheal diseases and malaria, which lead to the early death of many children.

In sub-Saharan Africa, 59 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 work instead of playing and going to school. They fight poverty for their families. In Africa, every fifth child is cheated out of childhood and forced into child labor.

25 million Africans are infected with the HIV virus, including approximately 2.9 million children. Many have lost one or even both parents and live as AIDS orphans on the street.

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