How Many Countries Are There In Africa?
There are 54 countries in Africa. The African continent comprises a diverse array of nations, each with its own unique history, culture, and geography.
Below is a list of African countries that have been internationally recognized and the number of African countries according to three different sources.
- The United Nations recognizes 54 sovereign states in Africa
- According to the African Union, there are 55 States.
- According to a report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), there are 54 member countries in Africa
Understanding the Number of Countries:
Africa is comprised of a significant number of nations, but the exact count may lead to some confusion. Historically, there have been debates regarding whether Africa has 54 or 55 countries. This discrepancy arises due to the unique status of Western Sahara, a territory with disputed international recognition. While the African Union recognizes 55 countries, including Western Sahara, it is important to note that the United Nations acknowledges 54 member states in Africa, excluding Western Sahara.
There are 54 countries in Africa today, according to the United Nations.
You may be surprised to learn that there are 54 countries in Africa today, according to the United Nations. The list includes every sovereign state recognized by the UN, as well as non-sovereign territories such as constituent states and unrecognized states.
According to UN criteria, a country must have a population of more than 1 million people and be able to function independently without being part of any other state. However, this definition excludes countries with large populations but limited international recognition (like Taiwan) and those that are dependent territories of larger nations (such as Puerto Rico).
List of African Countries
According to the United Nations, Africa has 54 countries. The whole list is provided below, along with the current population and subregion.
|5||Burkina Faso||21,531,181||West Africa|
|8||Cape Verde||555,408||Western Africa|
|9||Central African Republic||4,884,448||Central Africa|
|12||Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo||89,583,410||Central Africa|
|13||Congo, Republic of the Congo||5,550,330||Central Africa|
|14||Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)||29,070,767||West Africa|
|17||Equatorial Guinea||1,265,607||Central Africa|
|19||Eswatini (Swaziland)||1,102,271||Southern Africa|
|41||Sao Tome and Principe||213,628||Central Africa|
|44||Sierra Leone||7,972,819||West Africa|
|46||South Africa||59,308,690||Southern Africa|
|47||South Sudan||12,298,000||Eastern Africa|
|–||Western Sahara / Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic||639,652||Northern Africa|
Eritrea was granted independence from Ethiopia in 1993. The Eritrean War of Independence, which lasted from 1961 to 1991, was a conflict between the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) and the Ethiopian government. The EPLF was fighting for Eritrean independence, while the Ethiopian government was trying to maintain control of Eritrea. The war ended in 1991 with the defeat of the Ethiopian government. In 1993, a UN-monitored referendum was held in Eritrea, and the overwhelming majority of voters voted for independence. Eritrea was officially declared an independent country on May 24, 1993.
The Eritrean War of Independence was a long and bloody conflict that caused a great deal of suffering. However, it also led to the creation of a new independent country, Eritrea. Eritrea is a small country in East Africa with a population of about 5 million people. The capital of Eritrea is Asmara. Eritrea is a member of the United Nations, the African Union, and the Arab League.
Libya was under UN sanctions from 1992 to 2003 for its role in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. The sanctions were lifted in 2003 after Libya agreed to pay compensation to the families of the victims of the bombing.
In 2011, Libya was involved in a civil war that led to the overthrow of the government of Muammar Gaddafi. The civil war was a complex conflict with multiple causes, including Gaddafi’s repressive rule, the country’s economic problems, and the rise of Islamic extremism. The war ended in 2012 with the establishment of a new government, but Libya remains a divided country with a weak central government.
The UN has continued to monitor the situation in Libya and has imposed additional sanctions on individuals and entities linked to the country’s ongoing conflict. The UN is also working to support the Libyan government’s efforts to build a stable and prosperous country.
Somalia has been in a state of civil war since 1991. The war began after the overthrow of the government of Siad Barre, and it has been ongoing ever since. The war has caused a great deal of suffering and displacement, and it has made Somalia one of the most unstable countries in the world.
There are many factors that have contributed to the ongoing civil war in Somalia. These include:
- Clan rivalries: Somalia is a clan-based society, and the war has been fueled by rivalries between different clans.
- Political instability: Somalia has never had a strong central government, and this has made it difficult to maintain peace and order.
- Poverty: Somalia is one of the poorest countries in the world, and this has made it difficult for people to meet their basic needs.
- Islamic extremism: The rise of Islamic extremism in Somalia has also contributed to the war. Al-Shabaab, a terrorist group linked to al-Qaeda, has taken control of large parts of the country, and it has been waging a violent campaign against the Somali government and its allies.
- The ongoing civil war in Somalia has had a devastating impact on the country. Millions of people have been displaced, and many have been killed. The war has also made it difficult to provide basic services, such as healthcare and education.
There are a number of efforts underway to try to end the civil war in Somalia. The United Nations has been working to support the Somali government, and it has also deployed peacekeeping troops to the country. The African Union has also been involved in efforts to bring peace to Somalia.
Disputed Territory: Western Sahara
Western Sahara is a disputed territory that Morocco and the Polisario Front claim. Morocco controls about 80% of the territory, while the Polisario Front controls about 20%. The Polisario Front is a Sahrawi independence movement that was founded in 1973. The conflict between Morocco and the Polisario Front began in 1975 when Morocco invaded Western Sahara after Spain withdrew from the territory. The conflict has been ongoing ever since.
In 1991, a UN-brokered ceasefire was agreed to, and a referendum on the future of Western Sahara was scheduled to be held in 1992. However, the referendum has never been held, due to disagreements between Morocco and the Polisario Front over the terms of the referendum.
The UN has called for a solution to the Western Sahara conflict that is based on the principles of self-determination and the right to independence. However, Morocco has refused to accept a referendum that would allow for the independence of Western Sahara.
Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) is a partially recognized state located in the western Maghreb, which claims the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara but controls only the easternmost one-fifth of that territory.
The SADR was proclaimed by the Polisario Front on 27 February 1976, in Bir Lehlu, Western Sahara. The SADR claims sovereignty over the entire territory of Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony; however, at present the SADR government controls only about 20–25% of the territory it claims. It calls the territories under its control the “Liberated Territories”. As of September 2022, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is recognized by 46 out of a total of 193 United Nations member states.
Réunion Island is an overseas department of France, located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. It is a volcanic island with a population of about 850,000 people. The capital of Réunion is Saint-Denis.
Réunion Island was first inhabited by the Malay people in the 16th century. The French arrived in the 17th century and claimed the island for France. Réunion Island was used as a penal colony in the 18th and 19th centuries. The island became an overseas department of France in 1946.
The Three Largest Countries in Africa
Africa boasts a wide range of countries, varying in terms of landmass, population, and cultural heritage. When considering the size of nations, three countries stand out as the largest in Africa:
- Algeria Spanning an impressive area of approximately 2.38 million square kilometres, Algeria is the largest country in Africa. Situated in North Africa, it is known for its vast Sahara Desert, historic sites, and diverse landscapes.
- The Democratic Republic of the Congo, often referred to as DRC, is the second-largest country in Africa. Covering an area of about 2.34 million square kilometres, this Central African nation is renowned for its wildlife, rainforests, and the mighty Congo River.
- Sudan, located in northeastern Africa, holds the third spot among Africa’s largest countries. Encompassing around 1.86 million square kilometres, Sudan boasts diverse landscapes, including the Nile River, desert regions, and fertile plains.
Africa’s Diverse Nations
Beyond the numbers, Africa is a continent that thrives on its vibrant cultural tapestry. Each country within Africa showcases its unique traditions, languages, and histories. From the pyramids of Egypt to the Maasai warriors of Kenya and the music of Mali, Africa’s diversity knows no bounds. Exploring the continent allows travellers to immerse themselves in a kaleidoscope of experiences, be it the bustling markets of Morocco, the stunning wildlife of Tanzania, or the rich heritage of Ethiopia
The 55th African Country: Western Sahara:
Western Sahara, located on the northwestern coast of Africa, is the subject of an ongoing territorial dispute. Formerly a Spanish colony, it is currently claimed by both Morocco and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). Despite the conflicting claims, the African Union recognizes Western Sahara as the 54th member state. However, its political status remains a complex and unresolved issue.