Countries of Africa

Fishermen on Lake Victoria, Africa's largest lake
Fishermen on Lake Victoria. Africa’s largest lake is shared by three countries, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.
Image: Khanairobi

African Regions

Conventionally there are five main geographical regions or subregions in Africa.

North AfricaWest AfricaCentral AfricaEast AfricaSouthern Africa

Some Facts about Africa

Africa is the second-largest continent in the world in both area and population. It is an almost entirely isolated landmass with only a small land bridge in the northeast, connecting the African Mainland with Western Asia.

Africa covers six percent of the world’s total surface area, roughly 30,244,000 km² (11,700,000 mi²). Including its adjacent islands, the continent occupies about 20 percent of Earth’s total land area. Africa’s largest country is Algeria, followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo(Kinshasa), and Sudan.

How many countries are there in Africa?
48 countries share the area of mainland Africa, plus six island nations are considered to be part of the continent. All in all, there are 54 sovereign African countries and two disputed areas, namely Somaliland and Western Sahara (see the list of African countries below).

An estimated 1.34 billion people live in the second-largest continent, representing about 14 percent of the world’s population (as of 2020). By far the most populous country in Africa is Nigeria, with a population of more than 190 million.
(Source: UN World Population Prospects)


North Africa or Northern Africa

Cultural park of the Ahaggar, Tamanrasset, Algeria
Assekrem, a high plateau in the Hoggar Mountains, the region is part of the Cultural park of Ahaggar (mountains) near Tamanrasset in southern Algeria.
Image: Mohammed Amri
North Africa or Northern Africa (as used by the United Nations) refers to the portion of Africa along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea (except for Sudan). In the northwest, the Atlas Mountains dominate the area. South of the Mediterranean coastal strip stretches the Sahara from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Red Sea in the east.

There are six countries in Northern Africa and one disputed territory, Western Sahara. According to the United Nations Population Division, approximately 242 million people live in Northern Africa (in 2019).

Algeria 42,679 Algeria Map Algiers
Egypt 101,169 Egypt Map Cairo
Libya 6,570 Libya Map Tripoli
Morocco 36,635 Morocco Map Rabat
Sudan 42,514 Sudan Map Khartoum
Tunisia 11,783 Tunisia Map Tunis
Western Sahara 582 see: Mauritania Map (El Aaiún)

West Africa or Western Africa

Bargny, a coastal fishing town in Senegal
Aerial view of Bargny, a coastal fishing town in the Rufisque Département of Senegal. The city is located on the south coast of the Cap-Vert peninsula, about 15 km to the east of Senegal’s capital, Dakar.
Image: Peter A Harrison
West Africa or Western Africa mostly refers to the countries north of the Gulf of Guinea in the north-western part of the continent. West Africa is located in the southern part of the so-called hump of Africa; it is bounded in the north by the Sahara desert and the Sahel zone.
There are sixteen countries in West Africa and one British Overseas Territory, Saint Helena. According to the United Nations Population Division, an estimated 392 million people live in West Africa (in 2019).
Benin 11,802 Benin Map Porto-NovoCotonou
Burkina Faso 20,322 Burkina Faso Map Ouagadougou
Cape Verde 560 Cape Verde Map Praia
Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) 25,531 Ivory Coast Map YamoussoukroAbidjan
Gambia, The 2,228 see: Senegal Map Banjul
Ghana 30,100 Ghana Map Accra
Guinea 13,400 Guinea Map Conakry
Guinea-Bissau 1,954 Guinea-Bissau Map Bissau
Liberia 4,978 Liberia Map Monrovia
Mali 19,689 Mali Map Bamako
Mauritania 4,661 Mauritania Map Nouakchott
Niger 23,177 Niger Map Niamey
Nigeria 200,962 Nigeria Map Abuja
Saint Helena (UK) 4.5 Jamestown
Senegal 16,744 Senegal Map Dakar
Sierra Leone 7,883 Sierra Leone Map Freetown
Togo 8,186 Togo Map Lomé

Central Africa (Middle Africa, or also Equatorial Africa)

Kalandula water fall in Malanje, Angola
Kalandula water fall at the Lucala River in the Malanje Province of Angola.
Image: L.Willms
Central Africa or Middle Africa (as used by the United Nations) refers to the tropical central portion of the African continent. There are nine countries in Central Africa, including the island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe.

According to the United Nations Population Division, approximately 174 million people live in Central Africa (in 2019).

Angola 31,788 Angola Map Luanda
Cameroon 25,313 Cameroon Map Yaounde
Central African Republic 4,826 Central African Republic Map Bangui
Chad 15,814 Chad Map N’Djamena
Congo, Rep. (Brazzaville) 5,542 Congo, Rep. Map Brazzaville
Congo, Dem. Rep.(Kinshasa) 86,728 Congo, Dem. Rep. Map Kinshasa
Equatorial Guinea 1,360 Equatorial Guinea Map Malabo
Gabon 2,109 Gabon Map Libreville
São Tomé & Príncipe 213 São Tomé

East Africa

Rothschild's giraffe at the White Nile out of Lake Albert, Murchison Falls National Park
Rothschild’s giraffe at the White Nile out of Lake Albert in the Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda. The Rothschild’s giraffe is found in southern Sudan, northern Uganda and western Kenya.
Image: Bernard DUPONT
East Africa or Eastern Africa, is the eastern portion of the African continent; it includes Madagascar and other, smaller islands. In a narrower sense, the term East Africa may refer to the former British colonial areas of present-day Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.
According to the United Nations Population Division, roughly 445 million people live in East Africa (in 2019).
Burundi 11,576 Map of Burundi Bujumbura
Comoros 851 Map of Comoros Moroni
Djibouti 986 Map of Djibouti Djibouti
Eritrea 5,310 Map of Eritrea Asmara
Ethiopia 110,136 Map of Ethiopia Addis Ababa
Kenya 52,215 Map of Kenya Nairobi
Madagascar 26,970 Map of Madagascar Antananarivo
Malawi 19,719 Map of Malawi Lilongwe
Mauritius 1,271 Map of Mauritius Port Louis
Mozambique 31,409 Map of Mozambique Maputo
Réunion (France) 890 Map of Réunion Saint Denis
Rwanda 12,794 Map of Rwanda Kigali
Seychelles 96 Map of Seychelles Victoria
Somalia and Somaliland 15,636 Map of Somalia Mogadishu
SSD South Sudan 13,263 see: Sudan Map Juba
Tanzania 60,914 Map of Tanzania DodomaDar es Salaam
Uganda 45,712 Map of Uganda Kampala
Zambia 18,137 Map of Zambia Lusaka
Zimbabwe 17,297 Map of Zimbabwe Harare

Southern Africa

Sand dunes in the Namib-Naukluft National Park in Namibia
Gigantic sand dunes in the Namib-Naukluft National Park in Namibia.
Image: Yathin S Krishnappa
Southern Africa is the southern portion of the African continent, bounded by the South Atlantic Ocean in the west and the Indian Ocean in the east. The United Nations geoscheme lists five countries in Southern Africa, with a total population of about 67 million people (in 2019).
Botswana 2,375 Botswana Map Gaborone
Lesotho 2,293 Maseru
Namibia 2,642 Namibia Map Windhoek
South Africa 58,065 South Africa Map PretoriaBloemfonteinCape Town
Swaziland 1,415 Swaziland Map MbabaneLobamba
Population source:

More about Africa

Highest Point

Elephants at Amboseli National Park with Mount Kilimanjaro
Picture postcard image of an elephant herd at Amboseli National Park with Mount Kilimanjaro in background.
Image: Amoghavarsha

Africa’s highest mountain is located in Tanzania. The three million year old stratovolcano Mount Kilimanjaro has a height of 5,895 m (19,340 ft). The mountain has three volcanic cones Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. Uhuru Peak on Kibo is the mountain’s highest point.
The Batian peak of Mount Kenya at 3,825 m (12,549 ft)  is Africa’s second-highest mountain.

Largest Lake
Lake Victoria or Victoria Nyanza is the largest of the African Great Lakes and the second-largest freshwater lake in the world. The source of the Nile River has a surface area of 68,800 km² (26,600 sq mi); it is shared by UgandaKenya, and Tanzania. [1]

Longest River
Africa’s longest river is the Nile; it is with 6,695 km, also the longest river in the world. The Nile flows from its source south of the equator through eleven countries and empties into the Mediterranean Sea.

Languages of Africa
There are about a thousand languages spoken on the continent, classified in four (or six) major language families:
Afro-Asiatic (e.g., Berber language), Nilo-Saharan, Niger-Congo (Bantu), and Khoi-San. (see also: Languages of Africa)

Physical Regions 
Major physical regions in Africa are the Atlas Mountains, the Sahara Desert, the semiarid Sahel, the tropical Sudanian Savanna, also known as the African Savanna, the Nile and the Congo rivers, the Victoria Falls, the Ethiopian Highlands, the Ituri Rainforest in Central Africa, the African Great Lakes, the Great Rift Valley, the Namib, and the Kalahari deserts.

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