Africa: stark facts + area/population figures + social/political comments
A KILO OF COTTON CAN BE PRODUCED FOR 36c (30p) IN BURKINA FASO COMPARED TO US$1.25 (£1.02) IN THE U.S. YET, BIZARRELY, THE U.S. GOVERNMENT SUBSIDISES AMERCIAN COTTON FARMERS TO THE DETRIMENT OF SOME OF THE POOREST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD
HUNGER KILLS MORE PEOPLE IN AFRICA THAN ALL THE CONTINENT'S INFECTIOUS DISEASES PUT TOGETHER
ACCORDING TO THE WORLD BANK THE SHARE OF AFRICANS LIVING IN EXTREME POVERTY (<US$1.90 per day) HAS FALLEN FROM 54% IN 1990 TO 41% IN 2015. HOWEVER, IN THE SAME PERIOD, DUE TO HIGH POPULATION GROWTH THE NUMBER OF POOR PEOPLE IN AFRICA HAS ACTUALLY INCREASED FROM 278 MILLION TO 413 MILLION.
62% OF THE URBAN POPULATION IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA LIVE IN SLUMS
COLLECTIVELY THE ANNUAL BUDGETS OF ALL GOVERNMENTS IN AFRICA TOTAL US$450bn (£346bn) YET INTERNATIONAL NGO's LAMBAST WESTERN GOVERNMENTS FOR FAILING TO DOUBLE AID TO AFRICA FROM US$25bn (£19.5bn) IN 2005.
ONLY 3.8% OF AFRICA'S WATER IS DEVELOPED
ACCORDING TO A HASTILY WITHDRAWN REPORT BY THE AFRICAN UNION CORRUPTION COSTS AFRICA US$150bn (£118bn) EVERY YEAR
ONLY 16% OF ROADS ARE PAVED
IN MOZAMBIQUE IT IS CLAIMED THERE ARE 26 DIFFERENT DONORS WORKING IN THE EDUCATION SECTOR. THE RESULT - SUBSTANTIAL DISORGANISATION
EVERY JOB CREATED IN AFRICA FEEDS TEN MOUTHS
IT IS ESTIMATED THAT 60% OF THE WORLD'S NATURAL RESOURCES LIE IN AFRICAN SOIL
AVERAGE LIFE EXPECTANCY SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA IS 61 YEARS
ONLY 4% OF MONEYS ALLOCATED IN AFRICAN BUDGETS GOES TO AGRICULTURE YET 75% OF THE POPULATION RELY ON FARMING
TO INCORPORATE A BUSINESS IN MOZAMBIQUE TAKES 153 DAYS AND IN SIERRA LEONE IT COSTS 1250% OF AVERAGE INCOME
90% OF ADULT AFRICANS NOW HAVE A MOBILE PHONE
FEWER THAN 10% OF AFRICANS HAVE A LEGAL TITLE TO THEIR OWN HOMES
THE BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL CALCULATES THAT 23,000 DOCTORS AND NURSES LEAVE THE CONTINENT EVERY YEAR
ACCORDING TO THE WORLD BANK ONLY 1 IN 6 PROJECTS FINANCED BY THE BANK IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA CONTINUE AFTER FUNDING STOPS
ACCORDING TO SOME EXPERTS IT WILL TAKE AN ESTIMATED 50 YEARS OF PEACE FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO JUST TO GET BACK TO THE LIVING STANDARDS IN 1960 WHEN BELGIUM PULLED OUT
FOR 10 YEARS NOW AVERAGE ECONOMIC GROWTH ACROSS SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA HAS BEEN 5% p.a. HOWEVER, WITH FEW EXTRA JOBS BEING CREATED, EVER MORE MOUTHS TO FEED, AND THE GAP BETWEEN THE RICH AND POOR WIDENING, THE MAJORITY OF AFRICANS ARE NO BETTER OFF. ACCORDING TO CREDIT SUISSE THE MIDDLE CLASS IN AFRICA HAS ONLY RISEN FROM 18.4 MILLION IN 2000 TO 18.8 MILLION IN 2015.
ACCORDING TO THE UN ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR AFRICA ONLY 10% OF AFRICA'S EXTERNAL TRADE IS WITH OTHER AFRICAN COUNTRIES. FOR THE EU COUNTRIES TRADING AMONGST THEMSELVES THE FIGURE IS 60%
TODAY THERE ARE 125 AFRICAN FOOTBALLERS IN FRANCE'S LIGUE 1 AND 49 IN THE ENGLISH PREMIERSHIP. ALSO 3 OF THE TOP 10 FINALISTS FOR THE 2019 BALLON D'OR WERE AFRICAN. YET ACROSS THE TOP LEAGUES OF ENGLAND, FRANCE, SPAIN, ITALY AND GERMANY THERE ARE NO AFRICAN MANAGERS.
THE MOST WIDELY SPOKEN LANGUAGE IN AFRICA IS ARABIC WITH 170m SPEAKERS FOLLOWED BY ENGLISH WITH 130m. THEN FOLLOWS SWAHILI, FRENCH, BERBER, HAUSA AND PORTUGUESE. IN TOTAL THERE ARE MORE THAN 2,000 LANGUAGES SPOKEN ACROSS THE CONTINENT.
The total area of Africa is 30,000,000 sq km or 11,684,711 sq miles (20.4% of area of the world) of which 24,500,000 sq km or 9,461,000 sq miles is represented by sub-Saharan Africa. Africa, in size, is roughly the same as that of the US, China, EU and Australia - added together. It is also 14 times larger than Greenland. Algeria is the largest country - almost 5 times the size of France. Gambia is the smallest nation on the African mainland.
Total population of Africa at the start of 2020 is 1.341bn (17.2% of world total) of which 1.083bn (13.9%) lives in sub-Saharan Africa. Africa is the fastest growing continent where the population is expected to double by 2050. The largest countries by population are: Nigeria 206m; Ethiopia 115m; Egypt 102m; D R C 89m; South Africa 59m; Tanzania 59m.
Average world life expectancy is 73.2 years. The highest life expectancy is in Hong Kong with 85.3 years followed by Japan with 85 years and Macau with 84.7 years. (UK 81.8 years) The highest life expectancy in Africa is Algeria with 77.5 years followed by Morocco and Tunisia with 77.4 years. In the sub-Saharan Africa mainland the highest life expectancy is in Rwanda with 70 years followed by Botswana with 69.9 years and Senegal with 68.9 years. At the very bottom come the Central African Republic with just 53.3 years followed by Chad with 54.4 years, Lesotho with 54.4 years, Nigeria with 54.8 years and Sierra Leone with 54.8 years.
Total size of the economy of Africa is $2,190bn (2.8% of world total) of which $1,498bn (2.0%) represents the total for sub-Saharan Africa. Of the sub-Saharan total of $1,498bn, South Africa represents $294bn or 20% of the total. From World Bank statistics 8 nations in sub-Saharan Africa have seen average incomes fall in the last 50 years - Chad, D R Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, Niger, Senegal, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
According to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) South Africa has the highest level of income inequality in the world.
Only 3.5% of Foreign Direct Investment touched Africa in 2018.
Sub-Saharan Africa is responsible for only 4% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions each year. (China 23.6%; US 18.3%; EU 14.1%)
The River Nile (4,132 miles) is the longest river, not only in Africa, but in the world.
The largest religion in Africa is Islam, followed by Christianity.
Arabic is the most commonly spoken language in Africa followed by English and Swahili.
'Everywhere you look in Africa you see a tiny minority living on islands of plenty in seas of poverty.' Lawrence Vambe, Zimbabwean jounalist, historian and author
'Recall the face of the poorest person you have seen today and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to them.' Mahatma Gandhi
'When the missionaries came to Africa, they had the Bible and we had the land. They said "Let us pray." We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.' Desmond Tutu, former Archbishop of Cape Town
'A new birth of freedom in the form of government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the Earth.' President Abraham Lincoln
'Civilisation will be judged on how Africa will be developed in the coming years.' Horst Kohler, ex MD, IMF and President of Germany
'It's not how people vote that counts, it's who counts the votes.' Joseph Stalin
'To die of want in a world of surplus is not only intellectually absurd but equally morally repulsive.' Bob Geldof
'It is necessary only for good men to do nothing for evil to triumph.' Edmund Burke, (1729-1797), Anglo-Irish statesman and philosopher
'In the terrible history of famine in the world, no substantial famine has ever occurred in any independent and democratic country with a relatively free press. We cannot find exceptions to this rule, no matter where we look.' Amartya Sen, Indian Nobel Prize winning economist
It doesn't matter whether a cat is black or white as long as it can catch mice. Deng Xiaoping, President of China
'The great powers have been to the moon and back and are now reaching for the stars but in Africa we are still trying to reach the village.' President Julius Nyrere of Tanzania
'Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes and tolerable administration.' Adam Smith, economist in 'Wealth of Nations (1776)
'Africa's crisis is a failure of leadership and management. Sub-Saharan Africa is rich in resources, talent, energy and spirit. But it has not been rich in leadership. It is made up of rich countries that have been poorly managed.' Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia
'As a result of the experience of the last 50 years in global governance there is ample evidence from around the world as to what works and what doesn't. The tough part is not knowing what to do, but doing it.' Tony Blair, UK prime minister
'One does not organise elections to end up on the losing side.' Pascal Lissouba, President of Republic of Congo.
'We make a living from what we get; we make a life by what we give.' Sir Winston Churchill, UK Prime Minister
'No country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves, or police can be bought off by drug traffickers. No business wants to invest in a place where government skims 20% off the top, or the head of the port authority is corrupt. No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery. That is not democracy, that is tyranny - even if you sprinkle an election in it. And now is the time for it to end. Africa doesn't need strong men: it needs strong institutions.' President Barack Obama
'The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things; he is the one who gets the people to do the greatest things.' President Ronald Reagan
'Today is only a success if you have done something for someone who can't repay you.' John Bunyan, 17th century English novelist
'The brave may not live for ever but the cautious do not live at all.' African proverb
'All men die, but not all men live their lives.' Sir William Wallace, Scottish patriot
'To be born an Englishman is to win the lottery of life' Cecil Rhodes, businessman, philanthropist and prime minister of Cape Colony. (He was almost right!)
In 2008 Bob Geldof publicly declared that 'Angola was run by criminals.'
'African states are as houses abandoned by colonial powers, taken over by the smart and lucky, and hardly ever the best, leaving the vast majority of the people out in the rain.' Chinua Achebe, Nigeria, considered the founding father of African literature.
'When the people fear the government there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.' Thomas Jefferson, 3rd US president
'Missiles may kill terrorists. But I am convinced that good governance is what will kill terrorism.' Ban Ki-moon, U N Secretary-General 2007-16
'Victory attained by violence is tantamount to defeat, for it is momentary.' Mahatma Gandhi, Indian statesman