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Is Africa a country?

Updated: Nov 5, 2020

Africa is not a country, it is a continent with 54 sovereign countries, borders which were drawn during the era of European colonialism between the 19th and 20th century. 54 countries with a combined population of 1.3 billion people with diverse ethnic, cultural, and geographical differences. Prior to the colonization of Africa by Europeans during the "Scramble for Africa", except for Ethiopia and Liberia who were able to resist complete colonization, Africa was estimated to have over 10,000 sovereign states, some dating back centuries. From 1880 to about 1914 European imperialism re-drew the entire landscape of Africa and colonized 90% of Africa, ramifications of those borders continue to this day. After World War II the the African nations would receive their independence from Europeans during the decolonization period which lasted until 1975.

Human Origins Probably Began in Africa

Africa is probably the origins of the human species, discoveries in Morocco, Ethiopia and South Africa all point to human ancestors living in Africa as early as 260,000 years ago. Whether homo sapiens descended from once specific ancestor or a genetic mash-up of different species of homo sapiens living in Africa, there is no question that Africa is probably the cradle of humankind. The earliest recorded civilizations in the world dating back to 30,000 BC have been found in Africa, and those are the ones we know and can prove because of archaeological evidence.

Size of Africa and Population of Africa

Africa is really large; it is the second largest continent in the world spanning almost 12 million square miles. The population of Africa is currently 1.3 billion people which constitutes about 20% of the worlds population, and is estimated to double by 2050. Urbanization, people moving to the city centers in search of economic opportunity, is outpacing most other developing nations. Governments across Sub-Saharan Africa are scrambling to find answers to these population trends.

Nigeria, currently Africa’s most populated country with 200 million people is projected to have over 400 million people by 2050, yes you read that correctly, if Nigerian birth rates hold steady, in just the next 30 years Nigeria will add 200 million people to its population. Nearly every country in Sub-Saharan Africa will double its population, Ethiopia the next most populous state, with 100 million people is projected to have over 200 million people by 2050.

How Many Languages Spoken in Africa

There are more ethnic groups and languages spoken in Africa than most parts of the world. From Northern Africa to Southern Africa there are well over 2,000 languages spoken. Nigeria the continent’s most populous nation, whose official national language is English, is the most linguistically diverse nation in the world with over 500 local languages.

Natural Resources of Africa

Africa is the hottest continent in the world, with deserts and dry land (Sahara, Kalahari, Namib) covering 60% of the continents land, but also has 60% of the world's arable land. Africa can literally feed the world if those arable lands are developed by the nations and not foreign corporations/nations who are buying land at a frenzied pace.

Africa has the worlds largest reserves of discovered minerals, we say discovered because the potential of discovering more is only a matter of "when" they are found not whether they exist. Africa has the largest reserves of precious metals in the world with over 40% of the worlds gold, 60% of the worlds cobalt, and 90% of the worlds platinum. Conservative estimates of precious metals in the Democratic Republic of Congo puts their reserves worth an estimated 2 trillion dollars, with higher estimates going up several multiples of that.

Wildlife in Africa

Africa's vast lands and climates is home to over 1,100 species of mammals and over 2,600 species of birds, many of which do not exist anywhere else in the world. Four of the fastest land animals live in Africa, with the Cheetah leading the pack with a speed of 70 miles per hour, followed by wildebeests, lions, and gazelles who can reach speeds of 50 miles per hour. The largest land mammal in the world, the African Elephant who can reach a weight of seven tons and can easily drink 160 liters of water a day, can be found in Africa. The diversity of African wildlife has been the top driver of many tourists from around the world.

Post Colonial Era of Africa

The young democracies of Africa mostly known for instability, famine, and conflict have suffered mostly because of European colonialism and more recently the Cold War conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union. After World War II with the European Nations weakened most African nations began gaining their independence and the power vacuum left by the Europeans led to many armed conflicts.

Although Africa is abundant in natural resources it remains the world’s poorest and most underdeveloped continent. Poverty, illiteracy, inadequate water supply, poor healthcare, and poor sanitation affects a large portion of Africa’s population.

Can Africa as a whole turn the corner and become the worlds next super-continent? With stable governments and reduction in armed conflict, without question in the next 50 years, Africa will become the next super-continent.

With stability Africa will be the worlds next super-continent its just a matter of time. Stability allows the governments of Africa to focus on the development of infrastructure, which will lead to the development of industry, which will lead to economic power, which will lead to the prosperity of the inhabitants of Africa who are currently the poorest in the world.