Today Africa is the second most populous continent. It fights off poverty and many countries strive to improve the living conditions of their citizens. International institutions like UN play an important role, as far as fight against disease and low standards of living is concerned. Regionalism also plays a role. African Union is a bloc of 55 countries in the continent. The regional organisation attempts to better the economic and social conditions in the continent, hence a recent endeavour in this regard was to bring all the countries under the umbrella of free trade. However, industrialisation seems to be an answer for Africa. Before digging deep into Africa, let’s get some facts about Africa.
Learning about Africa requires learning some facts about it. This article attempts to explain some facts about Africa. These facts are related to economic, political and technological perspectives.
More than 90% of Africa colonised, a historical fact
European nations carried out Scramble of Africa between 1881 and 1914. One nation holding some territory abroad instigated other nations to do the same. Therefore, European powers colonised all of the Africa except Ethiopia and Libera. Berlin Conference of 1884 regulated the European adventure of New Imperialism in Africa; therefore, resulting into the Scramble of Africa.
Before colonisation, Africa consisted of 10,000 different states and autonomous groups.
Arabic is dominant as a language
Language distribution in Africa is pretty amazing. Looking at the different kinds of languages spoken in Africa is going to help you have a second thought about the continent. 170million people speak Arabic, 130million speak English, 115million speak French, 100million people speak Swahili, 50million speak Berber, 20million speak Portuguese and 10million speak Spanish.
Economic fact: Africa contributes 2.4% of global GDP
Africa happens to be pretty poor. In modern political economy, scientists calculate the economic clout of a country using GDP. Africa is regarded as a poor continent because it contributes to only 2.4% of the global GDP. Although a serious potential for economic growth exists in Africa, Why? Because it hosts second largest population in world with 50% young-adults.
Congo War in Africa, comparable to World War II
The Second Congo War in Africa happens to be the deadliest conflict after the World War II. The war claimed 5.4 million lives. New York-based International Rescue Committee after a survey concluded this figure, as it accounted for the period between 1998 to 2001. The Second Congo War ended in 2003 when Transitional Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo took over. It’s often called as African World War.
Technology for a fact is unique in Africa, internet is non-existent
It is pretty strange to learn that in Africa, fewer people use internet. The number of internet connections in Africa is lesser than the ones in New York City.
World’s biggest desert is in Africa
Africa is the home to the world’s biggest desert named Sahara. It’s bigger than the continental USA. If we compare it with cold deserts like Antarctica and the Arctic, then Sahara comes third in number with respect to the area. It’s an amazing fact that Sahara’s area is comparable with the area of China and USA. Sahara compromises of North Africa, as the above image shows which is taken through a satellite.
Oil and Africa is a modern day love story
Many countries in Africa export crude oil to the world. Nigeria, one of the african countries, happens to be the fourth largest oil exporter in the world. It produces around 2.2 million barrels of oil. If we look into top 10 oil exporting countries in Africa, then Nigeria, Angola, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, South Sudan, Sudan, Ghana, Chad and Cameroon are worth mentioning. African continent is home to the five of the top 30 oil producing countries in the world.
Africa is a mineral rich continent, talk about Gold, Cobalt and Platinum
The continent is rich in precious metals. Africa has large quantities of natural resources when it comes to minerals. South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania and Mali account for 89% of the world’s Gold production. Further, Diamonds of Africa contribute to 73% of the global production. According to National Geographic, Africa has 60% of cobalt and 90% of platinum reserves.
Greater Chinese influence in African continent, facts of neocolonialism
China is attempting to gain certain influence in Africa. Therefore, certain political scientists are claiming it as neocolonialism in action, as the intervention is economic in nature. China is top trade partner of Africa at moment. Chinese trade amounts to $200 billion per year with Africa. Further, Chinese direct investment in Africa happens to be around $50 billion.
Neocolonialism is a post-modern term which uses economic, political and cultural pressures to control or influence the other countries. A huge portion of African infrastructure endeavours are carried out by China. Some might say that this is because of the China’s Belt and Road Initiative; however, this is simply a wrong claim. China investment in Africa was eminent even before 2013.
Rapid Deforestation in Africa, a challenge to a once greener continent
Just when you believed that Africa is full of forests and green areas, hold on a second, we are here to nudge your beliefs. Deforestation rate in Africa is twice as compared to the rest of the world. Every year around four million hectares of primary forest is lost because of the deforestation. In the past, forest used to cover around 20% of Africa. Today, the situation is different.
Africa holds many environmental facts, a world of diverse species
Getting to know African environment, ecosystem and biome is like knowing nature. Diversity in Africa is beautiful. Africa hosts 8 of the 11 major biomes. It has the largest remaining populations of animals like lion, elephant, rhinoceros, cheetah, hyena, leopard along with other species.
The second largest fresh water lake in the world is present in Africa. Lake Victoria happens to be the largest lake in Africa, being second largest in the world. There are many rivers in Africa, the number of dams built in Africa simply reflect this as a fact. Africa has 1,270 dams built on its rivers.
75% of Africans rely on ground water for their needs. If total renewable water resources of the continent are taken into account, then ground water amounts to 15% of those resources.
Fishes of diverse nature find habitat in Africa
Lake Malawi happens to have more fish species than any other freshwater biome in the world. The lake is fourth largest in the world by volume and ninth largest by area. Lake Malawi is shared between three countries, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania.
World’s largest land living animal lives in Africa
Elephant of African descent, is the world’s largest land living animal. Africa is particularly known for the presence of elephants especially this fact about Africa finds its place in children books much often. The animal is so huge that it can sometimes weigh up-to 7 tons. These creatures can drink 160 litres of water a day on average.
Africa has a quarter of bird species found in the world
Talking about birds, Africa is a home to 25% of the bird species found in the world. African grey parrots are quite popular. The bird finds its demand in different circles of the society. It’s popular because it can store 1,000 words or more in its memory. African grey parrot is among the most intelligent bird species around the globe. However, several reports represent that the grey parrot species in Africa are in a state of continuous decline.
Highest point in Africa is in Tanzania, a south-eastern country
Tanzania hosts the highest point in Africa. Mount Kilimanjaro tops out in Africa at 19,340 feet above the sea level. It’s a mountain which has a parent range of Eastern Rift Mountains. It has three volcanic cones which are dormant. It welcomes different scientific studies and becomes interest of the environmental researchers because of its receding ice fields and shrinking glaciers.
Poorest countries in the world are present in Africa
Top 10 poorest countries in the world are unfortunately present in Africa. A couple of weeks back, we published a poverty analysis of Africa, and in that we tried to deconstruct poverty in Africa. The list of top 10 poorest countries in Africa include Mozambique, Liberia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Burundi and the others.
River Nile is the world’s longest river, as a matter of fact it’s in Africa
The river Nile which once hosted the population of Pharaoh, is the world’s longest river. The river is so long that it flows through Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan and Egypt. After running through Egypt it simply flows right into Mediterranean sea. The river holds importance for Jews, as their ancient civilisation was once held captive by Pharaoh in the medieval times.
Global Warming? A fact about Africa, it has survived 136.4 degrees Fahrenheit
Africa is definitely a resilient continent. In El Azizia, Libya on Sept. 13, 1922, weather stations recorded the world’s highest temperature which was 136.4 degrees Fahrenheit. It is 58 degrees centigrade on celsius scale. Therefore, it is safe to say that the world’s hottest place is recorded in Africa at El Azizia, Libya.
African country, Angola once had world’s highest infant mortality rate
Angola had the world’s highest infant mortality rate. Around 180.2 children out of 1,000 during the period of infancy (under-five) lost their life, according to the data collected in 2004. This was partially because of a lack of basic facilities to pregnant mothers and partially because of negligence.
However, in 2019 the infant mortality rate of Angola is around 51 deaths per 1000 births.
Swimming with whale shark in Africa is a fun sport
If you want to swim with whale sharks, then Djibouti is the answer. The excursion trip to enjoy whale sharks happens between November to January. A large number of whale sharks come to the coastal water of Djibouti to feed on plankton. These whales are en route to their annual migration destination. The whales come from Indian ocean and swim across Gulf of Tadjoura in Djibouti.
24 people in Africa won Nobel prize so far
If you look for a list of Nobel laureates in Africa, then it appears that so far 24 people have won the prize. Overall 800 individuals have won Noble Prize so far. Nobel Prize was first awarded in year 1901. Nelson Mandela is one of the popular recipients of the prize. He was awarded prize in 1993, also he was the first democratically elected president in South Africa.
Africa has the world’s biggest frog
Facts about Africa would be incomplete if world’s biggest frog is not discussed. Conraua goliath or simply Goliath frogs are found in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. These frogs are so massive that their length is about 34 centimetres with a weight of 3.2 kilograms.
Christianity and Islam are most dominant religions in Africa
People practice different religions in Africa. Religion has a major impact on the architecture of Africa. A major portion of the population in Africa practices Islam and Christianity. In addition to these to religions, there are certain tribal religions which are practiced in Africa.
Some sources suggest, 490 million people follow Christianity in Africa, meanwhile 420 million people practice Islam. A few opine that missionaries often provide better economic prospects which motivates people to convert to Christianity.
Africa happens to be the most centrally placed continent
Talk about continent which is in the centre, Africa counts. Prime meridian as well as equator passes through Africa. Prime meridian is an imaginary line which accounts for 0 degree longitude, while equator as we all know shows 0 degrees latitude. Countries lying across equator face the most heat originating from the Sun.
The biggest country in Africa by land is Algeria
Algeria is the biggest country in Africa, if land area is compared to the rest of the countries. The countries next in line to Algeria, with respect to area, are: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Libya and Chad.
Africa, once, was not a separate continent
Africa during the Mesozoic era was not a separate continent. In fact it was a part of the other continents which formed on gigantic continental landmass called Pangea. However, Pangea due the continental rift broke apart. After the breakage process, Pangea is now distributed into the continents as we know today. Mesozoic era is often called as age of reptiles or conifers.
World’s shortest coastline belongs to Africa
Africa has the world’s shortest coastline. The reason behind it are the bays and different edges which extent out of the coastline. Therefore, despite being the second largest continent in the world, Africa is a home to the world’s shortest coastline. Talk about destiny, and you should think about Africa.
Shortest distance between Europe and Africa is around 15 kilometer
Africa is separated by Europe through the Mediterranean sea. Therefore, technically if someone wants to go to Europe from the Northern tip of Africa then he has to travel through the Mediterranean sea. Luckily, the shortest distance between Europe and Africa happens to be around 15km.
Hippopotamus is the most dangerous animal in Africa
Innocent looking Hippopotamus which often finds its way in the children textbooks, is the most dangerous animal in Africa. Oh it might be surprising for the read, because they might have thought about Cheetah at first. However, it is a reality because despite being herbivorous in nature the hippos have taken life of more humans than any other animal species in Africa. Therefore, next time you visit the continent, just be sure you stay away from hippos.
Hunter-gatherers, like Bushmen/San people are still in Africa
San people aka Bushmen still adhere to the centuries old way of living. These people are found in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Angola and Zimbabwe. One report suggests that these people residing in South Africa still use the same tools as the ones used 44,000 years back. These people are the indigenous people.
In 1990s, government mandated uplift projects introduced these people to the farming methods. Therefore, some demographic changes in current modern times is bound to be expected.
One Fifth of children in Africa do child labour
Child labour inclusion in the economy of Africa is double as compared to any other region in the world. According to ILO, around one fifth of African children are involved in the child labour. These children are often bound to work in mines because of their small bodies which fit in a mine perfectly. One estimate suggests that 72.1 million children are involved in child labour.
93% Malaria cases worldwide are diagnosed in Africa
According to the World Health Organisation report, the highest number of Malaria cases in the world are found in Africa. 213million cases were found in Africa in 2018.
South Africa & Nigeria are the top countries in ease of doing business
Africa has two countries which top the list of ease of doing business index. The index ranks 190 countries, Nigeria has 146th place meanwhile South Africa has 82nd place. It seems South Africa is in the middle of the world, as compared to the other countries, when someone is willing to start a new business in the country. The ease of doing business index is ranked on the factors like getting electricity connection, paying taxes and incorporating company etc.
Morocco is the most visited place in Africa, as of 2017
It seems Morocco in Africa enjoys the major portion of tourists. According to the data collected by Wikipedia, Morocco, South Africa and Egypt are three top countries which people visited in 2017. 11.3 million foreigners visited Morocco in 2017.
Women pierce their lips to wear plates as large as 5 inches in diameter
Mursi tribe for a fact has women who wear plates in their lips. This might sound pretty strange but they have this cultural thing. These women often wear plates in their pierced lips which are as large as 5 inches in diameter. BBC has featured these women in one of its channel videos.
This group of people is commonly found in Ethiopia. The principle location of these people is close to the border of South Sudan.
Two Spanish autonomous cities are locked to Africa
Normally we are accustomed to the idea of a state having a particular territory which is enough to establish its sovereignty. However, Africa is bound to give you surprises in this regard. There are two Spain’s exclaves named Melilla and Ceuta (both are coastal cities) which happen to be under Spanish sovereignty. These two enclaves sit on the northern shores of the Morocco’s Mediterranean coast. Therefore, practically forming the only land border of Spain with Africa.
Mozambique’s flag has an AK-47 embedded
The only country in the world which has featured a modern weapon in its flag is Mozambique. If you look at the flag of Mozambique then you’ll realise that there is an AK-47. The rifle is am emblem of defense and vigilance. Open book in the flag signals education while a hoe refers to agriculture.
Just like European Union, Africa has African Union
Africa has signs of unity, and one effort in this regards is the formation of African Union. The regional, intergovernmental organization was formed in 2001. Currently, Morocco is not a part of the organisation. Political pundits hope that this organisation would bring Free Trade on table, just as EU was able to cope with their financial crisis.
Facebook has 139million users from Africa out of 2.45 billion total users
One Forbes report suggests that there are 139million users of Facebook from Africa. This point comes in tandem with the fact that very few people in Africa have the internet access to connect to the rest of the world. In one of our previous articles, which explored the potential of Free Trade in Africa, it was evident that most countries are bound to import computer and capital technology from the West.
Football is the most popular sports in Africa
Colonisers introduced Africa to one thing, Football. In modern times, Football is the most popular sports in Africa. Football also required minimal resources to establish its presence. According to Africa.com, one can easily find youngsters across the continent playing football and enjoying their leisure time. Further, there are an increasing number of football clubs in the Africa. Back in 2010, South Africa for the first time hosted FIFA World Cup on the soil of Africa.
World’s second largest goldmine is in Africa named South Deep gold mine
South Africa holds the world’s second largest goldmine. The world’s largest goldmine is Grasberg mine which is located in Indonesia. The second largest mine is Witwatersrand mine in South Africa. According to one estimate, half of the gold ever mined on Earth is from the same gold mine. It is safe to assume that discovery of gold mine in South Africa paved its way into becoming a gold producer from agriculture producer. Its common name is South Deep gold mine, and it’s located in the Witwatersrand Basin, South Africa.
Romans, the name givers to Africa
Facts about Africa seem to be incomplete if the very reason behind its name is not explored. It’s widely believed that Romans were the ones who gave a name to Africa. When Romans defeated the ancient city, Carthage in Africa. They came across an ancient tribe called Afri Tribe. Therefore, they founded a province named Africa.
World’s largest reptile is found in Africa
Just as Africa is home to world’s largest land animal, as described earlier, it’s also a home to world’s largest reptile. Crocodile living in Africa are described as the world’s largest reptile. These are found in river Nile, which again is the world’s longest river. Crocodiles are found in other parts of Africa as well; however, the ones found in Nile are called as apex predators; a very aggressive species.
These crocodiles are the apex predators because naturally they can easily hunt any animal in their range.
Cairo is the largest city in Africa, next comes Lagos
Cairo is the largest city in Africa. An interesting thing about Cairo is its 1,000 years old presence. It has stood on the same spot around banks of the Nile. The metropolitan is famous for Giza pyramid and the ancient city of Memphis. It’s a major tourist attraction who want to have a taste of the history. Egyptian civilisation is pretty old one. According to historians, Fatimid dynasty founded Cairo.
Lagos comes second in number, it’s a city located in Nigeria. The city happens to be the most populous in Africa. It functions as a port city and has a pretty much important role in Nigeria’s economy.
South Africans use Flamethrowers to deter carjackings
The car flamethrower is used as a tool by South Africans to deter carjackers. CNN reported that when the reforms were introduced back, a month later around 25 South Africans installed flamethrowers in their cars as a precaution against carjacking. A flamethrower in South Africa costs around $655. Its legal status is yet unknown. However, one thing is known that use of force for sake of self is allowed in South Africa.
Uganda’s dictator Idi Amin Dada Oumee title is worth a glaze
Amin remained president of Uganda for eight years between 1971 and 1979. According to various resources, he happened to have a habit of giving himself titles. His behaviour was pretty unpredictable. When UK ended its diplomatic relations with Uganda in 1977, his full title became, which was mostly self-bestowed: His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular
Therefore, it was worthy enough to be included in this list of facts about Africa. Maybe Amin wanted to gain the political clout by assuring his followers that he was in control. Therefore, he used his title as a message.
Ethiopia has its own alphabet
Ethiopia has its own transcript of language which is known as Ge’ez or more commonly as Ethiopian language. According to Mattsjunk.com, on his visit to Ethiopia he found that Ge’ez was being used in majority of circles, in common public places and road signs etc. He mentions in his blog post that it is the only script which is used in day to day life in Ethiopia on a major scale. He also mentioned other languages being used in Africa.
Different resources claim Ge’ez as the most adopted and well known language with alphabet which is used in Africa.
Sudan has the most number of pyramids in world
If you ask one question, ‘Which country has pyramids?’ The possible answer would be Egypt. However, let’s reshape this thought process. Sudan has most number of pyramids in Africa. According to latest stats, there are 220 pyramids in Sudan. The number is larger than the one associated with Egypt.
Libya once had a flag with only one colour
Between 1977 to 2011, Libya was the only country in world having one colour for its flag, green. The flag was changed after the death of Muammar Gaddafi, the unchallenged dictator of Libya. When Arab Spring stared, it as harder for Muammar Gaddafi to remain in power. Two variants of flag were available, one was wide and the other one was in square proportion.
After 2011, the flag has three colours: red, lack and green with a crescent and star in the centre.
Africa has the oldest homo sapiens fossils
Just when you believed that the West has made more contributions to the enlightenment, just so you know, Africa has the oldest of the homo sapiens remains. Some researches suggest that near modern day Ethiopia, around 200,000 years ago, the oldest ancestors of the man existed. However, this wasn’t exactly the dawn of the human civilisation as other researchers have pointed out. However, one thing is sure that Africa did have our old ancestors.
The findings in Africa are of so ancient times that even scientists often question if the discovered remains are actually belonging to homo sapiens or not. Africa might prove to fulfil huge gaps in human history.