It may sound ridiculous but the truth is that most Africans do not know the number of countries in Africa. In fact, it is always preferable to simply say you don’t know when this question stares you in the face than to embarrass yourself. Here is a nice opportunity that will help you avoid the blushes that usually come with the question, how many countries are in Africa?
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Africa is the second biggest and most populous continent of the world, with up to 1,216,130,000 people, which is about 14 percent of the world’s population. The most populous country on the continent, Nigeria, is home to up to 185 million people. The African continent is home to the majority of blacks or dark-skinned people in the world (Yes, the black race originates from Africa). It is also one of the very popular and rich continents of the world. The common notion that Africa is quite popular stems from the fact that the continent is often regarded as the oldest inhabited territory. This is in the sense that it is the only continent where human species reportedly originated from.
For those who do not know, the river Nile, which flows through eleven countries and often regarded as the longest in the world, is found in Africa. With about 30.2 million sq km, Africa covers about 20.4% of the earth’s land area and 6% of the earth’s total surface. The African continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean sea which also lies between Europe and Asia.
The continent is not only large in land size or population but is also known to be a host of diverse ethnicities and cultures. In fact, there are thousands of ethnic groups in the African continent, each having a different language, culture, and values.
There are many countries that are claiming to be independent and full-fledged African states, but the fact is that not all meet the criteria that qualify them to be recognized as African countries. This article is meant to acquaint you with the number and names of all the African countries.
Africa is made up of 54 fully recognized sovereign states (countries), ten territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition. The 54 are referred to as “recognized states” because they are member states of the African Union (AU). The next 2 are called “de facto states” because, by structure and government, they can be called a country but they are not recognized as they do not belong to the AU. The remaining 10 are just territories or regions that are either owned or governed by other non-African countries.
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Here are the Names of the 54 Independent African Countries in Alphabetical Order:
- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde
- The Central African Republic
- The Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Republic of the Congo
- Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
- Equatorial Guinea
- The Gambia
- São Tomé and Principe
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- Sudan (North)
- South Sudan (Rep.)
Note: The Sahwari Arab Democratic Republic and the Republic of Somaliland claim to be and are recognized in a few neighbouring countries as sovereign states but they are actually de facto states.
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Territories politically administered as external dependencies or as incorporated parts of a primarily non-African state:
1. French Southern Antartica Land.
2. Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan de Cuhna, (governed by the UK).
3. The Canary Islands.
5. Autonomous city of Ceuta, (nos 3-5 owned by Spain).
6. Autonomous Region of Madeira, (owned by the Portuguese).
7. The Islands of Mayotte.
8. Réunion, (7&8 owned by the French).
9. Plaza de Soberanía.
10. Lampedusa and Lampione.
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In conclusion, if we go by the criterion of being member states of the AU, Africa has 54 countries. If the De Facto states are included, our figure becomes 56, then if we are to include all the territories, we’ll say that the African continent is made up of 66 countries.