Africa is no doubt the second largest continent on the earth, with Algeria (which covers an estimated 2,381,741 km2 (919,595 sq miles) standing out as the continent’s largest country.

The continent has one of the most landmasses on earth, covering 30.2 million square km (11.7 million sq mi), including adjacent islands. With this, Africa covers 6% of the Earth’s total surface area and 20.4% of the world’s land area and is home to more than 1 billion people.

There are 54 recognized African countries (excluding the disputed nations) sharing this huge landmass. Most countries in Africa have seen a massive population growth with values doubling up in the past 50 years and these values are estimated to at least double by 2050, according to the latest United Nations projections. However, some countries are more populous than others with the number of most populated still growing in number consistently. Below is a table that further explains this.

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African Countries Rated by Population (based on the 2020 mid-year normalized demographic projections)

Seychelles Island 98,347
São Tomé and Príncipe 219,159
Cape Verde 555,987
Equatorial Guinea 1,402,985
Comoros 869,601
Djibouti 988,000
Swaziland 1,160,164
Mauritius 1,271,768
Guinea-Bissau 1,968,001
Gambia 2,416,668
Lesotho 2,142,249
Botswana 2,351,627
Namibia 2,540,905
Gabon 2,225,734
Mauritania 4,649,658
Liberia 5,057,681
Republic of the Congo 5,518,087
Eritrea 3,546,421
The Central African Republic 4,829,767
Sierra Leone 7,976,983
Libya 6,871,292
Togo 8,278,724
Burundi 11,890,784
Somalia 15,893,222
Republic of Benin 12,123,200
South Sudan 11,193,725
Rwanda 12,952,218
Tunisia 11,818,619
Guinea 13,132,795
Chad 16,425,864
Zimbabwe 14,862,924
Senegal 16,743,927
Zambia 18,383,955
Malawi 19,129,952
Mali 20,250,833
Niger Republic 24,206,644
Burkina Faso 20,903,273
Angola 32,866,272
Cameroon 26,545,863
Madagascar 27,691,018
Ivory Coast  26,378,274            
Mozambique 31,255,435
Ghana 31,072,940
Morocco 36,910,560
Sudan 43,849,260
Uganda 45,741,007
Algeria 43,851,044
Kenya 53,771,296
Tanzania 59,531,155
South Africa 59,308,690
Democratic Republic of the Congo  89,561,403
Egypt 102,334,404
Ethiopia 114,963,558
Nigeria 206,139,589
Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha (UK) 6,077
Mayotte (France) 272,815
Western Sahara 597,339
Réunion (France) 895,312

The Ever-Growing Population of Africa 

In Africa today, two in every three people are under 25 years of age with the median age being 19.7 years (This number is 2 times the number in Europe). The population distribution of people in African countries is such that 32 inhabitants live in every square km and on average, Sub-Saharan Africa is more densely populated than Latin America which has 28 inhabitants living in every square Km.

It is estimated that Sub-Saharan Africa’s population density (which is approximately 1.08 billion inhabitants) is going to increase to more than double where Latin America is today (652 million inhabitants).

In most African countries, two-thirds of the population still live in rural areas, although there has been massive migration to the towns over time.

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As at 1960, only the city of Johannesburg had a population of more than one million people but not anymore since more than 40 African cities now have more than 1 million inhabitants and if this rate continues unabated, more than 50% of rural dwellers will migrate to the urban areas by 2030.

According to the recent United Nations estimate, the population of Africa is 1,341,962,158 as of July 2020, which makes the continent second most populous continent after Asia (which has 4.5 billion inhabitants). Africa’s population makes up to only 16.72% of the total world population. Also, the region’s total land area is 29,648,481 Km2 (11,447,338 sq. miles) with 43.8% of the population being in the urban areas (587,737,793 people in 2019).

Indicatively, the population of the countries in Africa given the above numbers show some remarkable increase from the previous values of one to two years ago. For instance, the Federal Republic of Nigeria had an estimated population of 162,470,737 as of 2011 but this number is now estimated to be a staggering 206,139,589.

Africa’s Birth Rate And What To Expect In Time To Come

Africa Map

In the nearest future, if the population is consistent with its current rate of growth, the African jungles and rain forests may wave goodbye and many of Africa’s species of cats and primates may no longer be in existence or at most displaced.

12 countries of the world have fertility rates of above 6 babies per woman and 11 of them are African countries with Niger having the highest fertility rates at 7.2, followed by Somalia with a rate of 6.2 and then The Democratic Republic of Congo comes in third place with a fertility rate of 6.0, according to World Bank data from 2017.

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The top two high fertility countries in the world have seen their fertility increase from 2000 to 2007.

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In Mali, the rate is 5.992 and Burundi has a fertility rate of  5.777. Interestingly, the infant survival rates in these African countries have been significant enough to push the continent’s population through the roof.

Other African nations with high fertility rates include: Chad Angola Burundi, Uganda, Nigeria, Gambia, and Burkina Faso

According to the world population revision findings released by the United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs in 2015, 9.7 billion people will live on the earth’s surface by 2050. By that year, about 1.3 billion people who would be added to the existing population will be from Africa.

The report also found that half of the world’s total population growth will be concentrated in nine countries over the next 35 years. Five of these countries will be African while the rest are India, Pakistan, Indonesia, and the United States. These African countries include Nigeria, DRC, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda.

7 Interesting Facts About Africa That You Should Know

1. Cairo, the sprawling capital of Egypt, is the largest city in the Arab world and the third most populous city in Africa after Lagos in Nigeria and Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

2. Mount Kilimanjaro, located in Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania, is Africa’s highest mountain.

3. Africa’s Sahara Desert is the world’s largest desert. Its size is said to be as large as the United States of America.

4. Some continents in the world are known to be very hot but records have it that Africa is the hottest region on the surface of the earth.

5. Africa is home to many unique animals like the giraffe, elephants, the Nile crocodile, and lots more. In addition, the continent boasts the longest river in the world – the Nile (4,132 miles).

6. There are 54 recognized sovereign states and countries, 9 territories and 2 de facto independent states in Africa. These independent states are however accorded little recognition.

7. Owing to the presence of technological advancement across the globe, African giants – Nigeria, Egypt, and South Africa are presently taking the lead, advancement-wise.

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