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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 Africa West Africa Central Africa East Africa Southern Africa


Some Facts about Africa

Political Map of Africa
Political Map of 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 (autonomous region of Somalia) and Western Sahara (occupied by Morocco and claimed by the Polisario).

An estimated 1.37 billion people live in the second-largest continent, representing about 14 percent of the world's population (in 2021). By far the most populous country in Africa is Nigeria, with a population of more than 211 million.
(Source: UN World Population Prospects)


  North Africa or Northern Africa

Cultural park of the Ahaggar, Tamanrasset, Algeria
Assekrem is a high plateau in the Hoggar Mountains; it is located in the Ahaggar National Park 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 250 million people live in Northern Africa (in 2021).

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 412 million people live in West Africa (in 2021).

Benin 11,802 Benin Map Porto-Novo, Cotonou
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 Yamoussoukro, Abidjan
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
Quedas de Kalandula, the Calandula Falls, 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 185 million people live in Central Africa (in 2021).

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, Dem. Rep. (Kinshasa) 86,728 Congo, Dem. Rep. Map Kinshasa
Congo, Rep. (Brazzaville) 5,542 Congo, Rep. Map Brazzaville
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 outlet 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 457 million people live in East Africa (in 2021).

Burundi 11,576 Burundi Map Bujumbura
Comoros 851 Comoros Map Moroni
Djibouti 986 Djibouti Map Djibouti
Eritrea 5,310 Eritrea Map Asmara
Ethiopia 110,136 Ethiopia Map Addis Ababa
Kenya 52,215 Kenya Map Nairobi
Madagascar 26,970 Madagascar Map Antananarivo
Malawi 19,719 Malawi Map Lilongwe
Mauritius 1,271 Mauritius Map Port Louis
Mozambique 31,409 Mozambique Map Maputo
Réunion (France) 890 Réunion Map Saint Denis
Rwanda 12,794 Rwanda Map Kigali
Seychelles 96 Seychelles Map Victoria
Somalia and Somaliland 15,636 Somalia Map Mogadishu
SSD South Sudan 13,263 see: Sudan Map Juba
Tanzania 60,914 Tanzania Map Dodoma, Dar es Salaam
Uganda 45,712 Uganda Map Kampala
Zambia 18,137 Zambia Map Lusaka
Zimbabwe 17,297 Zimbabwe Map Harare

  Southern Africa

Sand dunes in the Namib-Naukluft National Park in Namibia
Gigantic 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 68.3 million people (in 2021).

Botswana 2,375 Botswana Map Gaborone
Lesotho 2,293   Maseru
Namibia 2,642 Namibia Map Windhoek
South Africa 58,065 South Africa Map Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Cape Town
Swaziland 1,415 Swaziland Map Mbabane, Lobamba

Population source:

More about Africa

Elephants at Amboseli National Park with Mount Kilimanjaro
Picture postcard image of an elephant herd at Amboseli National Park with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background.
Image: Amoghavarsha
Highest Point
Africa's highest mountain is located in Tanzania. The 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 Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. [1]

Longest River
The longest river in Africa is the Nile; at 6,695 km, it is 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
About a thousand languages are spoken on the continent, divided into four (or six) major language families:
Afro-Asiatic (e.g., Berber (Amazigh) languages, Arabic), Nilo-Saharan, Niger-Congo (Bantu), and Khoi-San. (see also: Languages of Africa)

Map of the five major regions of Africa.
The United Nations geoscheme divides the continent into five major regions.
Image: kk
Regions 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.

The United Nations geoscheme
The United Nations geoscheme divides the continent into five main regions:

Northern Africa
North Africa, which includes Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, and Western Sahara.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Eastern Africa, which includes British Indian Ocean Territory, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, French Southern Territories, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mozambique, Réunion, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Middle Africa, which includes Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa), Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Sao Tome and Principe.

Southern Africa, which includes Botswana, Eswatini (Swaziland), Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa.

Western Africa, which includes Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde (Cape Verde), Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Saint Helena, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

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African nations represented by their flags
The African nations represented by their flags.
Image: © kk



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