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Countries of Africa - Part I

Countries of Africa - Part I

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How many countries are there in Africa? Different sources give different numbers. Read this book and find the truth...
How many countries are there in Africa? Different sources give different numbers. Read this book and find the truth...

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Published by: Sumedha on Dec 01, 2009
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The Countries of Africa Part I

The Countries of Africa
Part I
A Brief Approach to the Question “How many countries are there in Africa?”

By Sumedha Mānābarana Sri Lanka

Special thanks to
• The Central Intelligence Agency in the US • The BBC ‘COUNTRY PROFILES’ • The United Nations Statistics Division • Google e.encyclopedia • Brian Johnson Baker, Pocket Guide to Flags of the World • Andrew Eugene Mānābarana (Proof Reader)

I dedicate this book, With deep respect and great love, To Fely Tchaco the singer, songwriter, model and artist From Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire. You not only gave me the impetus But unrelenting encouragement To write more articles In future. For that I am so very grateful
Listen to Fely’s soulful music on this page. It’s free: http://www.jango.com/music/Fely+Tchaco

The Countries of Africa
The question regarding the number of countries in Africa has become an FAQ. Different sources provide different answers based on various criteria. This article tries to provide a justifiable answer to the said question based on a few sources which are generally believed to be reliable and accurate.

The three sources concerned here are:


‘The Central Intelligence Agency’ (CIA) in the US




The United Nations ‘geoscheme’

1. What does The Central Intelligence Agency say?
1 The online Factbook by ‘The Central Intelligence Agency’ (CIA) in the US includes 56 countries under Africa, including Saint Helena1, Mayotte2, and Western Sahara3 (Please see the screen shots given in the next page).

However, the CIA in its INTORDUCTION to these three countries very clearly states that ‘Saint Helena’1 is a British Overseas Territory, ‘Mayotte’2 is a departmental collectivity of France, and the legal status of territory and issue of sovereignty of ‘Western Sahara’3 is unresolved.

As such, according to the CIA, the number of African countries should be 56 – 3 = 53.

This is the full list of the African countries given by the CIA in the US

2. What does the BBC say?

2 A site by the BBC that provides profiles of different countries of the world includes only 53 countries in its ‘A Guide to Africa’ under ‘COUNTRY PROFILES’. (The BBC uses ‘Ivory Coast’ instead of ‘Côte d'Ivoire’). They have excluded Western Sahara, the disputed territory, and other regions which are generally considered to be overseas territories or otherwise (Please see the screen shots below).

3. What does the United Nations Statistics Division say?

3 The Statistics Division of the United Nations has developed a system called ‘The United Nations geoscheme’. They have devised this scheme in order to collect, process and circulate statistical information regarding the millennial development goals of the continental regions, sub-regions, and other selected economic groups worldwide. The UN geoscheme divides the African continent into 5 sub-regions.

• The 5 sub-regions of the UN geoscheme for Africa:

1. Northern Africa 2. Western Africa 3. Middle Africa 4. Eastern Africa 5. Southern Africa

(North Africa) (West Africa) (Central Africa) (East Africa) (South Africa)

Each region is again subdivided into a number of countries. According to the UN, these geographical divisions do not imply any assumption regarding political or other affiliations of countries or territories. Therefore, care must be taken not to consider all the entities thus divided as the African countries for various obvious reasons.

• The 19 countries or regions of Eastern Africa:
19 –02 = 17

1. Tanzania1 2. Kenya2 3. Uganda3 4. Rwanda4 5. Burundi5 6. Djibouti6 7. Eritrea7 8. Ethiopia8 9. Somalia9 10. Mozambique10 11. Madagascar11 12. Malawi12 13. Zambia13 14. Zimbabwe14 15. Comoros15 16. Mauritius16 17. Seychelles17 18. Réunion00 19. Mayotte

Rwanda and Burundi are sometimes considered as parts of Central Africa.

Réunion and Mayotte are French overseas territories.

• The 11 countries of Middle Africa:
11 – 02 = 09

1. Angola18 2. Burundi00 3. Cameroon19 4. Central African Republic20 5. Chad21 6. Democratic Republic of the Congo22 7. Equatorial Guinea23 8. Gabon24 9. Republic of the Congo25 10. Rwanda00 11. São Tomé and Príncipe26
Rwanda has already been counted under Eastern Africa. Burundi has already been counted under Eastern Africa.

• The 7 countries or territories of North Africa:
08 – 01 = 07

1. Algeria27 2. Egypt28 3. Libya29 4. Morocco30 5. Sudan31 6. Tunisia

Mauritania has been included under West Africa, too.

7. Mauritania33 8. Western Sahara00
Western Sahara is a disputed territory.

• The 5 countries of South Africa:

1. Botswana34 2. Lesotho35 3. Namibia36 4. South Africa37 5. Swaziland38

• What are the 16 countries of West Africa?
16 – 01 = 15

1. Benin39 2. Burkina Faso40 3. Côte d'Ivoire41 4. Cape Verde42 5. The Gambia43 6. Ghana44 7. Guinea45 8. Guinea-Bissau46 9. Liberia47 10. Mali48 11. Mauritania00 12. Niger49 13. Nigeria50 14. Senegal51 15. Sierra Leone52 16. Togo53
Mauritania has been included under North Africa, too.

Notable Notes
• Burundi and Rwanda are sometimes considered as part of Central Africa. • Mozambique and Madagascar are often considered as part of Southern Africa. • Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe are often included in Southern Africa, and formerly of the Central African Federation. • Réunion (Department of Reunion), when taken administratively, is one of the overseas départements of France. • Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania. It includes the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean. It has two main islands; Unguja (Zanzibar) and Pemba and several small islands. Zanzibar has its own different flag.

• Ceuta is an autonomous city of Spain located on the North African side of the Strait of Gibraltar. • The Canary Islands (Islas Canarias) are a Spanish archipelago. • Mayotte (officially the Departmental Collectivity of Mayotte) is geographically a part of the Comoro Islands, but it is an overseas collectivity of France. Mayotte has been politically separate since the 1970s. • Western Sahara (Sahara Occidental) is geographically a territory in North Africa. Both Morocco and the Polisario Front independence movement dispute control of the territory. The United States and other Major Powers have taken a neutral position on each side's claims. The United Nations considers Western Sahara a non self-governed territory.

The map of Africa with countries labelled 1 - 53

For an interactive map of African countries, use the link below: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/region/region_afr.html

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. Comoros

12. Congo (Brazzaville)

13. Cote d'Ivoire

14. Democratic Republic of the Congo

15. Djibouti

16. Egypt

17. Equatorial Guinea

18. Eritrea

19. Ethiopia

20. Gabon

21. Gambia

22. Ghana

23. Guinea

24. Guinea-Bissau

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. São Tomé and Príncipe

41. Senegal

42. Seychelles

43. Sierra Leone

44. Somalia

45. South Africa

46. Sudan

47. Swaziland

48. Tanzania

49. Togo

50. Tunisia

51. Uganda

52. Zambia

53. Zimbabwe

The number of African countries may differ based on the definition. Being a physical territory is not the only factor to be considered when deciding whether a country is African or not. Administration, too, plays a decisive factor. Future political trends may further change the number at anytime. The number of countries given in my article is only what is generally accepted. I have made every effort to ensure that the information contained in this book was accurate at the time of going to upload.


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