Considered by scientists to be the origin of mankind, Africa is a continent of 54 independent countries and a population in excess of 1.3 billion people. The continent has a rich mix of ethnic groups and cultures which number in the thousands. Typically each ethnic group has its own language and culture. The countries of Africa also has diverse cultures, economies and history. It is said, the people of Africa have more physical variations than any other continent.

Africa’s scenic beauty and variety is quite stunning, it is home to vast deserts, tropical rain forests, rugged mountains and fertile grasslands. It is abundant in flora and fauna unsurpassed by any other continent. An ever-increasing number of tourists from around the globe are drawn to this incredible continent every year to experience its wonders.

However, despite its natural wealth and beauty, Africa is home to some of the least developed countries in the world. According to United Nations a substantial size of Africa’s population survives on less than $2 a day, while disease and famine kills millions annually (UN, 2019).

Recent economic projections show that Africa has a steadily growing population which is heading towards a population of 2 billion. Economist project that Africa’s 1.1bn workforce will grow to be the world’s largest by 2040. In the short term, economic projections shows that Africa will attain a collective GDP of $2.6 trillion by 2020 ($1720 GDP per capita) and $1.4 trillion in consumer spending (World Bank, 2019). It is also projected Africa will have 500 million new middle class consumers (ibid).

Africa as a continent has, on average, grown its economy by at 5% per annum over the last decade (AfDB, 2019). Nigeria is the biggest economy in terms of nominal GDP (expected to be $500 billion, by the end of 2019) followed by South Africa (expected to be $405 billion by the end of 2019).The economy of Africa is majorly driven by trade, industry, agriculture, and human resources.


Continent SizeSecond largest continent in the World
Continental area30.37 million km²
Estimated population1.3 billion people
Largest CityLagos, Nigeria, 21 million people
Largest CountryAlgeria – 2.382 million km²
Largest LakeVictoria, 68,800 km²
Tallest MountainKilimanjaro, Tanzania, 5,895 km
Largest waterfallVictoria falls, Zimbabwe
World Records
World’s largest islandMadagascar
World’s hottest locality Dallol, Ethiopia (average 34°C)
Longest River Nile river, 6,650 km
World’s fastest animalCheetah, recorded 120.7 km/h
World’s largest land animalAfrican elephant
Worlds tallest animalGiraffe
World’s largest reptileThe Nile crocodile
World’s largest frogGoliath frog, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea
World’s largest desertSahara Desert, size of the USA
World’s oldest desertNamib Desert, Namibia, 55–80 million years
World’s shortest peoplePygmies, Congo basin (average height 1.4 m)
Number of tribesThere is an estimated 3,000 tribes in Africa
Biggest tribeThe Arab tribe (population- 100 million)
Number of languagesOver 2100 languages spoken
Most popular languageSwahili – spoken by at least 150 million
Major ReligionsChristianity, Islam, and Traditional
Average life expectancy61 years old

Economic Facts

The interactive map below is taken from OurWorldinData website. It shows the Annual Gross domestic product (GDP) of all the world’s nations. GDP is the market value of all final goods and services from a nation in a given year. From the graph we see that all African countries have recorded positive GDP growth year on year.

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