Wildlife

Getting to Know Africa: 50 Interesting Facts…

 Africa map www.mapsofworld.com

 

  • There are 54 countries and one “non-self governing territory”, the Western Sahara, in Africa.
  • All of Africa was colonized by foreign powers during the “scramble for Africa”, except Ethiopia and Liberia.
  • Before colonial rule Africa comprised up to 10,000 different states and autonomous groups with distinct languages and customs.
  • The Pharaonic civilization of ancient Egypt is one of the world’s oldest and longest-lasting civilizations.
  • African continent is the world’s oldest populated area.
  • Arabic is spoken by 170 million people on the continent, followed in popularity by English (130 million), Swahili (100), French (115), Berber (50), Hausa (50), Portuguese (20) and Spanish (10).
  • Over 25% all languages are spoken only in Africa with over 2,000 recognised languages spoken on the continent.
  • Africa is the second most populous continent with about 1.1 billion people or 16% of the world’s population. Over 50% of Africans are under the age of 25.
  • The continent’s population will more than double to 2.3 billion people by 2050.
  • Africa is the world’s poorest and most underdeveloped continent with a continental GDP that accounts for just 2.4% of global GDP.
  •  Almost 40% of adults in Africa are illiterate – two-thirds are women. Adult literacy rates are below 50% in Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone and The Gambia.
  • Over 25 million people are HIV-positive on the continent and over 17 million have died of the disease already.
  • The Second Congo War claimed over 5.4 million lives and is the deadliest worldwide conflict since World War II.
  • There are fewer people with internet connections in Africa than there are in just New York City.
  • Approximately 90% of all cases of malaria worldwide occur in Africa, accounting for 24% of all child deaths in sub-Saharan Africa.

 

A fishing village in Ghana is a bustle of activity as traders come and go... (Steve Boyes)
A fishing village in Ghana is a bustle of activity as traders come and go… (Steve Boyes)

 

  • Africa is the world’s second largest continent covering about over 30 million square kilometers
  • The Sahara is the largest desert in the world and is bigger than the continental USA.
  • Africa is the world’s hottest continent with deserts and drylands covering 60% of land surface area (e.g. Kalahari, Sahara and Namib).
  • Africa is the world’s second driest continent (after Australia).
  • Africa has approximately 30% of the earth’s remaining mineral resources.
  • Nigeria is fourth largest oil exporter in the world, and Africa’s biggest oil producer with about 2.2 million barrels produced every day. Top 10 oil producers in order of total exports: Nigeria, Algeria, Angola, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo, Gabon, South Africa.
  • The continent has the largest reserves of precious metals with over 40% of the gold reserves, over 60% of the cobalt, and 90% of the platinum reserves.

 

Every year the catch gets smaller and smaller. For better luck the flags have been getting brighter and more abundant. Today the fish are small and few due to exploitation by commercial fishing vessels. (Steve Boyes)
Every year the catch gets smaller and smaller. For better luck the flags have been getting brighter and more abundant. Today the fish are small and few due to exploitation by commercial fishing vessels. (Steve Boyes)
Boat taxis and fishermen waiting to depart for Ganvi Village with passengers... (Steve Boyes)
Boat taxis and fishermen waiting to depart for Ganvi Village with passengers… (Steve Boyes)

 

  • China is Africa’s top trade partner with Sino-African trade volumes now nearing $200 billion per year.
  • China’s direct investment in Africa exceeds $50 billion. Just look at the “Forum on China Africa Cooperation”.
  • Neocolonialism is a real threat with over 1 million Chinese citizens on the African continent. Angola alone has a population of over 350,000 Chinese.

 

Pigs walk around on top of 20m deep refuse piles at the water's edge in Freetown (Sierra Leone). Most people do not use money and prefer to barter for sachets of clean water, the most valuable commodity in Freetown. (Steve Boyes)
Pigs walk around on top of 20m deep refuse piles at the water’s edge in Freetown (Sierra Leone). Most people do not use money and prefer to barter for sachets of clean water, the most valuable commodity in Freetown. (Steve Boyes)

 

  • Over 55% of Africa’s labour force working in food production with vast areas of arable and pastoral lands supporting agricultural economies.
  • Over 90% of soils are unsuitable for agriculture and only 0.25% has moderate to low potential for sustainable farming.
  • Rainfall variability is very high – from 0 mm/year in the Sahara to 9,500 mm/year near Mount Cameroon.
  • Over 240 million Africans suffer from chronic undernourishment.

 

The streets of Porto Novo, the capital of Benin, are not paved, all cars are second-hand, and all taxis are motorbikes. (Steve Boyes)
The streets of Porto Novo, the capital of Benin, are not paved, all cars are second-hand, and all taxis are motorbikes. (Steve Boyes)

 

  • Water scarcity impacts the lives of over 300 million Africans, of whom approximately 75% of Africans rely on groundwater as their primary source of drinking water. Global warming is aggravating the situation.
  • Limited groundwater represents only 15% of the continent’s total renewable water resources. New discoveries of groundwater reserves in large sedimentary basins in Libya, Algeria and Chad may slack Africa’s growing thirst for the next few decades…
  • Productivity of about 65% of the continent’s agricultural lands has declined significantly with vast tracts of land have been degraded by erosion, poor land management practices, mining and pollution over the last 50 years.
  • Some landscapes are estimated to lose over 50 metric tonnes of soil per hectare per year due to neglect and desertification.
  • Over 30% of Africa’s pastural land and almost 20% of all forests and woodlands are classified as moderately- or heavily-degraded.

 

Ladies waiting for a boat to take them back to the floating village of Ganvi in Benin. The water is polluted and the fish stocks are collapsing. Is there hope for communities like this? (Conrad Hennig)
Ladies waiting for a boat to take them back to the floating village of Ganvi in Benin. The water is polluted and the fish stocks are collapsing. Is there hope for communities like this? (Conrad Hennig)

 

  • Deforestation rates in Africa are twice the average for the rest of the world with more than four million hectares of primary forest disappearing every year. Countries like Kenya, malawi and Zambia have 1-5% of the primary forests remaining. Forests used to cover over 20% of Africa’s 30 million square kilometers with almost all currently being destroyed and degraded by commercial and subsistence logging, as well as land conversion to plantations, agriculture, mines, roads and settlements.
  • Some 60% of the tropical forests in the Congo Basin are considered commercially exploitable.
  • Six of the top ten countries with the largest annual net loss of forested area are in Africa.
  • Primary forests shrink by on average 40,000 square kilometres (or 0.6% of total remaining forest cover) each year with most significant losses in heavily-forested countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon.

 

Steve Boyes / Cape Parrot Project
Hala Village in the valleys below Hogsback Mountain where Cape parrots used to feed on yellowwood fruits, Celtis fruits, wild olives, and wild plums before they were chopped out by greedy colonists or burnt under communal land ownership. We have now planted thousands of indigenous fruit trees in “Cape Parrot Community Orchards” in several villages, fencing them off to protect them from livestock and paying local communities to care for them as the custodians of these forest plots. We have also launched a micro-nursery program that builds small tree nurseries for ten households in the village, which are stocked with yellowwood seedlings that must be grown up to planting size. These partnerships are all going from strength to strength. (Steve Boyes / Cape Parrot Project)

 

  • Over 1,270 large dams have been built along the continent’s many rivers.
  • Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the second-largest freshwater lake in the world.
  • Africa has the most extensive biomass burning in the world, yet only emits about 4% of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Africa has eight of the 11 major biomes and the largest-remaining populations of lion, elephant, rhinoceros, cheetah, hyena, leopard and hundreds of other species.

 

Notch and sons, photographed by Ken Dyball. “We had the choice of going to a cheetah mother and four little cubs or sitting with five very lazy, sleeping male lions. We picked the lions…. and it looked like they would sleep until dark. A strong wind came up so they all got to their feet. One of the sons was a bit aggresive towards Notch (the father on the right). The other three sons were by Notch’s side wanting to join in at anytime! This was a time of testing each other out: a few of them had some recent and deep puncture wounds. Photographed in the Masai Mara, Kenya. (purenaturesafaris.com)
Notch and sons, photographed by Ken Dyball. “We had the choice of going to a cheetah mother and four little cubs or sitting with five very lazy, sleeping male lions. We picked the lions…. and it looked like they would sleep until dark. A strong wind came up so they all got to their feet. One of the sons was a bit aggresive towards Notch (the father on the right). The other three sons were by Notch’s side wanting to join in at anytime! This was a time of testing each other out: a few of them had some recent and deep puncture wounds. Photographed in the Masai Mara, Kenya. (purenaturesafaris.com)
Species are disappearing at an alarming rate. But together we can help. The interaction between animals and their environments is the engine that keeps the planet healthy for all of us. But for many species, time is running out. That’s why National Geographic, along with renowned photographer Joel Sartore, is dedicated to finding solutions to save them. Click on the logo above for Photo Ark photos and more information.
Species are disappearing at an alarming rate, including many of Africa’s most iconic animals. But together we can help. The interaction between animals and their environments is the engine that keeps the planet healthy for all of us. But for many species, time is running out. That’s why National Geographic, along with renowned photographer Joel Sartore, is dedicated to finding solutions to save them. Click on the logo above for Photo Ark photos and more information.
  • Megafauna like giraffe, zebra, gorilla, hippopotamus, chimpanzee and wildebeest are unique to the continent and only found here.
  • Lake Malawi has more fish species than any other freshwater system on earth.
  • The Nile River is the longest river in the world with a total length of 6,650 kilometres.
  • Africa has over 85% of the world’s elephants and over 99% of the remaining lions are on the African continent.
  • Eight of Conservation International’s 34 biodiversity hotspots are in Africa.
  • The Serengeti (Tanzania) hosts the world’s largest wildlife migration on Earth with over 750,000 zebra marching ahead of 1.2 million wildebeest as they cross this amazing landscape.
  • Thera are over 3,000 protected areas in Africa, including 198 Marine Protected Areas, 50 Biosphere Reserves, 129 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and 80 RAMSAR “Wetlands of International Importance”.
  • Africa is home to the world’s largest living land animal, the African elephant, which can weigh up to 7 tons.
  • Africa has over 25% of the world’s bird species.

 

Justin Klusener
NarinaTrogons are the most widespread and generalist in their habitat preferences of the three Apaloderma trogons. Their name is “Khoikhoi” in origin and is believed to come from the mistress of the French ornithologist, François Le Vaillant. They are distributed from Sierra Leone to Ethiopia, and E Africa to South Africa. (Justin Klusener)

 

Today there are few truly wild places left on the continent with 1.1 billion people and a global economy looking to Africa for the resources to sustain development into the next century. Technology is going to help, but, if we carry on our current trajectory, we will destroy our greatest work. The colossal monument that now stands in Dakar (Senegal) was named “The African Renaissance”, and depicts a handsome couple holding their baby to the sky to beckon the dawning of an African century. In 2010, then-President Wade of Senegal said the following at the opening ceremony: “It brings to life our common destiny. Africa has arrived in the 21st century standing tall and more ready than ever to take its destiny into its hands”.
“African Renaissance” is located near the airport in Dakar (Senegal) and stands 49m tall on the top of a 100m high hill. It is the tallest statue in the world outside of Eurasia. (Steve Boyes)

Please watch this presentation, at the 2013 Explorer Symposium:

National Geographic Live! Steve Boyes: Reviving the Heart of Africa”

Steve Boyes has dedicated his life to conserving Africa's wilderness areas and the species that depend upon them. After having worked as a camp manager and wilderness guide in the Okavango Delta and doing his PhD field work on the little-known Meyer's Parrot, Steve took up a position as a Centre of Excellence Postdoctoral Fellow at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology. He has since been appointed the Scientific Director of the Wild Bird Trust and is a 2014 TED Fellow. His work takes him all over Africa, but his day-to-day activities are committed to South Africa's endemic and Critically Endangered Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus). Based in Hogsback Village in the Eastern Cape (South Africa), Steve runs the Cape Parrot Project, which aims to stimulate positive change for the species through high-quality research and community-based conservation action. When not in Hogsback, Steve can be found in the Okavango Delta where he explores remote areas of this wetland wilderness on "mokoros" or dug-out canoes to study endangered bird species in areas that are otherwise inaccessible. Steve is a 2013 National Geographic Emerging Explorer for his work in the Okavango Delta and on the Cape Parrot Project.
  • Glorious Nature

    The wildlife is so beautiful……..what is remaining.

    “Science may have found a cure for most evils, but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all – the apathy of human beings.”

    Deaf/blind activist, Helen Keller, 1928

  • RHarnack

    Given that this is about Africa today, please use a current map showing South Sudan. It has been there since 2011.

  • My apologies. We have replaced the map of Africa.

  • Chuck

    Wonderful and very enlightening set of facts! I learned a lot about this incredible continent and its people. Not to diminish the hard work of the author in any way, but this article needs to be edited for grammatical errors and the occasional missing word. PS – Great job replacing the outdated map!

  • Kay

    Thanks for this, but you lost me at the picture of the Dakar monument. Ask any Dakarois what s/he thinks of it, and you’ll find it’s quite thoroughly despised: for the huge amount of public money spent, for the fact that a Korean company and workers were brought in to build it, for the percentage that Wade gets of every entry fee, for the woman’s skimpy clothes, and more.

  • Barbara Sweetman

    China’s record in good governance,environmental protection and justice are questionable. If China is to be the main influence in Africa in the future God help Africa is all I can say!

  • Christy Sims

    The Pharaonic civilization of ancient Egypt is one of the world’s oldest and longest-lasting civilizations.
    African continent is the world’s oldest populated continent.
    Africa is the world’s poorest and most underdeveloped.

    I always marvel out these 2 facts about the continent of Africa: oldest civilization and most underdeveloped. Those two facts seem to contradict them selves for with age comes maturity.

    Why did knowledge not spread along the coastlines throughout the centuries? Why did they not come up with cars first to get them across the desert areas quicker? Why did they not come up with the Internet first, since so much of the land is desert? Why has each country not spread the wealth to the masses to create, generate, cultivate more knowledge and more wealth?

    How can so much ore production be leaving the continent and the masses not rise up in protest?

  • Ben

    I echo the sentiments of Chuck from Monrovia Liberia.
    Please look up the definition of “slake” vs. “slack” and correct this sentence:
    “New discoveries of groundwater reserves in large sedimentary basins in Libya, Algeria and Chad may slack Africa’s growing thirst for the next few decades…”

  • ATUHAIRE IMMACULATE

    This is a beatiful discovery, i am really humbled by this. People arond are really sympathetic not empathetic. if it means to cry for you they can and they are very hospitable.

  • Aseem Kumar Kothiala

    Have travelled across Africa from South Africa through to Sudan. Amazing culture and people.

  • Elisa

    Thank you for the interesting facts on Africa.

    If I understand correctly, there are 55 countries in Africa (54 are AU members + Morocco).

    In addition to the facts about HIV and Malaria, I thought you might be interested to know that the neglected tropical disease (NTD) burden in Africa is very high. It is estimated that 198 million people in Africa (or 26% of the total population) are infected with intestinal worms; 192 million people (or 25% of the population) are infected with schistosomiasis; 46-51 million people (or 6-9% of the population) are infected with lymphatic filariasis; 37 million people (or 5% of the population) are infected with onchocerciasis (also known as river blindness); and an estimated 30 million people (or 3% of the population) are infected with blinding trachoma. NTDs have a devastating impact on health, education and overall development.

  • Nina Stavlund

    I’d like to believe, and I chose to believe, that Africa has a future. But, and there’s always a but, the mentality of the leaders and to some degree the people themselves must change. I learned a lot on my recent trip to Kenya, and I’m still processing everything I saw and experienced.

  • allan griffiths

    Steve – nice article. I lived in Africa for years – long ago! About this comment – “area (e.g. Kalahari, Sahara and Namib).
    Africa is the world’s second driest continent (after Australia).”

    It is my understanding (and has been for many years ) that Antarctica is the driest continent? Have I been misled all this time? Source was NSF guys working out of Christchurch NZ etc. Thanks, Allan

  • mugel

    Waw that is a really helpful fact about Africa
    thank you very much

  • Tony Reumerman

    Great article Steve!!!
    Very interesting indeed.
    It’s really worth publishing in other media/groups
    Cheers
    Tony

  • Just a high school kid passing through

    I am doing a project for world geography, so thank you for all the help!!!

  • Victoria

    Oh my! I’ve found so many useful content here. Even shared on my twitter @onechildafrica where I am working to inspire and promote Africa culture. Glad to have visited. Keep up the good work. Cheers!

  • Samuel

    This point “Over 240 million Africans suffer from chronic undernourishment” is silly: what we eat in Africa is much better than elsewhere, low fat and cholesterol, much more plant protein….

  • tamsyn van gelderen

    Very interesting and many of the factoids quite shocking too – I agree with Christy Sims that Africans don’t manufacture goods themselves, preferring to buy from other countries and demand aid when they can! As a South African (albeit a white one) I wish the people of the continent would stand up for themselves and utilize the skills they actually have but don’t seem to believe – choosing to leave and go overseas to be recognised instead of demanding that recognition here and doing something. Fracking is currently something that frightens the living daylights out of me! The fact that we are such a dry continent and that so many people rely on groundwater supplies for their water, makes me shiver. Shell, BP (50 years of no clean up ops in Niger Delta is a good eg) won’t have any compunction buying people off their land for very little compensation or for bribing corrupt officials – result? NO WATER – particularly as very few seem to understand fracking and how it works. China our no 1? As Barbara Sweetman said – God and anyone else…help Africa!!! Thanks for sharing this tho – I enjoyed it very much. And below is the link to a very basic video that explains
    Fracking beautifully & simply – or watch Gaslands 11 – scary stuff!
    http://youtu.be/Uti2niW2BRA

  • ciara

    woooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwww

  • Tony Bello

    I agree Africa has its challenges. However, don’t you guys have anything good to report about Africa? The world’s poor perception about Africa has eaten so deep that we all believe that nothing good will ever come out of Africa. We have put them down for so long that they no longer believe I themselves

  • Anthony Havens

    Arabic is spoken by 170 million people on the continent, followed in popularity by English (130 million), Swahili (100), French (115), Berber (50), Hausa (50), Portuguese (20) and Spanish (10).

    Where are the 10 million Spanish speakers? Aside from the former Spanish Sahara (tiny population) the only other former Spanish colony is Equatorial Guinea with a population of about 500,000.

  • Interesting facts

    Thanks, for sharing such a nice information, while writing a comment. These points is very useful, while we have to write comment for getting back-link.
    This is a very good article.

  • evan gaunt

    ermagerd this is sur interesting and cool 😀

  • Victor Ololo

    The persistent classification of Africa by Europeans and Americans as the world’s poorest continent gotten up to my disliking. Our culture is our way of life, so you whites should have some respcts for our culture, not tagging it ‘poor’

  • Mr.durfee Class

    My class has been learning about Africa and this I very good research .

  • collins

    i am from Canada, i am here to give my testimony how i was cured from hiv, i contacted my hiv through sharp object. a friend of my use blade to peel of her finger nails and drop it where she use it, so after she has left i did know what came unto me i looked at my nails, my nails were very long and i took the blade which she just used on her own nails to cut of my finger nails, as i was maintaining my names, i mistakenly injured myself. i did even bothered about it, so when i got to the hospital the next week when i was ill the doctor told me that i am hiv positive, i wondered where did i got it from so i remembered how i use my friend blade to cut off my hand so i feel so sad in my heart to the extent that i don’t even know what to do, so one day i was suffering the internet i met a testimony of a lady that all talk about how she was cured by a doctor called DROKOJE so i quickly emailed the doctor email, and he also replied to me an told me the requirements which i will provide and I do according to his command, he called me the next day that i should go for a test which i did to my own surprise i found that i was hiv negative. Thanks to him once more the great doctor that cured me DROKOJE so you can also emailed him at DROKOJE@GMAIL.COM OR +2348069652500

  • Jessi H

    a lot of the comments are quite overly wrought on the pictures you used; for example more than half the streets in Porto Novo are paved. Also, in Sierra Leone where I lived only a few people in the slums actually barter with bags of water? They use money. That is just odd to say. Please avoid making Africa look like a ‘wild west’ jungle. It really is more developed than how some of the comments you shared try to exhibit it. It is not very professional.

  • alexis

    it is easy to learn

  • ayo

    Hmmmn, interesting…… But is there nothing good about this Africa…. Or any good thing to hope for in the nearest future??

  • Mavacake

    Interesting facts and amazing information for school research

  • Sam

    wow, truly, if Africa is the second driest continent and a desert, isn’t it amazing that the continent produces almost half of the world food? let us check our facts again.

  • Molly

    Wow, that’s really cool, stuff I didn’t know. They really have a beautiful place.

  • ERIC GATHAGE

    I am ashamed off national geographic and their posting of this article.
    Surely, you guys shoot more than 20% of your documentaries in this continent.
    Just for you to know, Africa is not a country, its a continent with 54 independent state countries, all democratic.
    Your facts may be true, but as much weight is put on the negative side of life on the continent, I will hold it so low.
    I come from Kenya and yes, we do have our challenges, but there is always a reason to smile everyday, as a new school is being developed somewhere, a new road is being built, a new police officer is being recruited.
    Seriously, Nat geo, you guys didn’t have anything else?

  • troll

    wow, truly, if Africa is the second driest continent and a desert, isn’t it amazing that the continent produces almost half of the world food? let us check our facts again.

  • NYAGO DAVID

    its good but we also need to know the positive side of Africa.

  • Kassandra

    Can u give more facts about animals

  • Shalom

    How do people, ideas & goods get around.

  • Nicole

    We are studying about Africa in social studies and it is fun to learn about

  • World Peace

    Steve,

    As I went through the facts I noticed that just about 30, if not 40, of them are negative. Africa already has a poor perception in the media and I believe that this article did noting short of fuel that perception. Could you not have touched on more positive facts? Talked more about the wildlife? Or culture? This article comes off as very ignorant.

  • Yah aria hernandez

    Yup

  • thapa

    it was very helpful for my projects

  • mmmhm

    UH!!! I FIND THIS VERY,VERY,VERY,VERY,OFFENSIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT IS SOOOO NEGITIVE AND I SAY HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!! YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED!!!! ARE YOU EVEN HUMAN OR HAVE FEELINGS OR DIGNITY!?!?!?!?!?!?! UGH!!!! YOU DIDNT EVEN TALK ALOT ABOUT ANIMALS!!!!!

  • mmmhm

    I HATE THIS ARTICLE!!!!!

  • melanie

    why do they say africa is the poorest continent. the act as if their continent is the best

  • Sulaiman Momodu

    I am a Sierra Leonean journalist. Your photo of Freetown and the caption exposes your subjectivity and your deeply negative views of Africa. No sane person would believe what you publish that “most people do not use money and prefer to barter for sachets of clean water, the most valuable commodity in Freetown.” This is a shame to National Geographic. Disgraceful, really.

  • Prathamesh

    There might be such things that need to be improve. Bt on the positive side lies the great wildlife that attracts many people from the world. The great migration, landscapes and so many. Being a nature lover, in my opinion africa is simply beautiful and i wish to be there again and again.

  • jude scallon

    there is a misprint. the word there is misspelled thera.
    also Africa is actually the third driest continent after Antarctica and Australia.

  • waweru

    you westerners r the cause of problems we are having here in africa in the name of keeping peace why cant you leave us alone n our problems.

  • Justin

    No talk of Africa’s growing economies or expanding middle classes? This is especially odd when dismissing Angola’s development for anti-Chinese sentiments.

    Also the statistic about internet access is false in the age of the smartphone and internet cafe.

    Finally, neo-colonialism isn’t a new threat from China, it’s been a practice by Western countries since African countries became independent.

  • ODEHYEEBA KAAKYIRE, CAPITAL TV-ACCRA

    I am a journalist and I want to learn a lot about Africa. Please, I strongly believe that things are not all that good in Africa, but, there are a lot of things too that we can boast ourselves with that you did not talk about at all.
    Secondly, it is a great lesson for our leaders to watch. We are saying that Africans are capable of managing our own affairs, is that how to manage affairs and are we doing it properly? Let us arise.
    But please, Nat Geo, do us favour small and let the world know that even though we are poor due to bad management, corruption and selfishness, AFRICA is the most blessed continent filled with every rich natural resources given to us by the creator of the universe. Talk of gold, manganese, bauxite, oil, timber, grass, iron, rich land, etc. I LOVE AFRICA. WO SE AKYI NNYE WO DE A, EHO ARA NA WOTAFERE. LONG LIVE AFRICA.

  • ODEHYEEBA KAAKYIRE, CAPITAL TV-ACCRA

    I am a journalist from Ghana and I want to learn a lot about Africa. Please, I strongly believe that things are not all that good in Africa, but, there are a lot of things too that we can boast ourselves with that you did not talk about at all.
    Secondly, it is a great lesson for our leaders to watch. We are saying that Africans are capable of managing our own affairs, is that how to manage affairs and are we doing it properly? Let us arise.
    But please, Nat Geo, do us favour small and let the world know that even though we are poor due to bad management, corruption and selfishness, AFRICA is the most blessed continent filled with every rich natural resources given to us by the creator of the universe. Talk of gold, manganese, bauxite, oil, timber, grass, iron, rich land, etc. I LOVE AFRICA. WO SE AKYI NNYE WO DE A, EHO ARA NA WOTAFERE. LONG LIVE AFRICA.

  • najaah

    this was very helpful for me

  • courtney

    This was good for my homework

  • courtney

    Thx u for this

  • Muhammad Saleem

    It is true

  • shadrick mwasika

    I wish our president knew some of these depressing facts.

  • imani

    this is such great info.

  • Dace

    This website was the best facts I ever heard.

  • Gabriel Sackitey

    Africa is a land, blessed with all kinds of minerals but our leaders have taken it for granted.So, are we going to seat down and watch them.Let us all unite and drive away these evil ambitions that will lead us to destructuon.Let us all unite as one and fight against bribery and corruption and in fact we will see a great out come.Coming together is the beginning,staying together is progress,but working together is success.Amen.

  • D.k.w

    I think a lot of focus has been placed on the negative things in Africa. Even most of the photos are just negative. I don’t think those facts are a true picture of my continent.
    Though some true.

  • sachin tyagi

    these facts amazed me a lot. total population of Africa is less than total population of India…it just contributes 2.4% in world GDP despite having rich mineral resources, many countries and etc. it does not sound good… there should be a good growth… and healthy competition between countries to be developed. 🙂

  • susan

    this website has a bunch of helpful facts and helped me on my project report including ppt. and paper this is a go to website for me!

  • Lungile

    As expected all the photos are of dusty streets, villages and wildlife – there is more to our continent than that…

  • Koech Eman

    The information is good though but next time you potray a good image of our lovely continent,tell us!

  • Bankole

    Africa is also the most beautiful place on the surface of the earth. Your report of abject poverty is scary but I would have love you to talk about places like Johannesburg in South Africa, Lagos, Ibadan, Port Harcourt and Abuja in Nigeria.

  • kim

    I doubt if you are from Africa coz most of your comments are -ve. That’s not what is expected of you. next Time try to portray a better image of our continent. starting from my country Kenya, we are moving ahead in terms of development and I hope it’s the same with the other countries in Africa.
    People of Africa needs to be encouraged not to be demoralized. We can do even better if we belive in our selves. we have the potential to do something. all that is remaining is to make changes and harness that potential for better tomorrow.

  • siphokazi

    Africa is Beautiful. (full stop) and if it was not for Africa
    A lot of other countries would not have had anything to eat, or fuel for that matter. Get out of your negative minds towards Africa

  • SYLVESTER KRUAH

    steve u have said it all i enjoy ur deliberation on Africa.

  • k uday

    I loved this very muchhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh……..

  • k uday

    I love this vry muchhhhhhhhhhhhhh…….

  • nweke solomon

    africans shoud not depend on other continent rather than ourselves we have to start frm nw to plan on hw to meet up to the worlds standards with this those who think that nothing good wil evr come frm us will be shamed..longlive nigeria’longlive africa.

  • milla I love you

    I was here
    Danny boy

  • Jrod Rodriguez

    What they didn’t write in this article was woman’s in Africa are treat like a second class citizen , as man they don’t help their females mate at all.
    That is a real problem in Africa , in my view women as men has to have the same right . Other wise they still living in slavely !

  • Shannon Brown

    I’m currently attending college I’m taking an African diversity class and I love it this point in the semester wish that people would stay out of Africa and stop robbing my motherland of all the materials and quit raping my homeland !!!

  • hezron

    Africa is better than this, there is much good to talk about Africa but not much negatives as Steve potrays. Africa is a great continent. the information is though enlightening and i would love to
    read more.

  • Jocelyn

    Africa is my research subject!

  • Mainuddin

    I want to about HOW THE AFRICA LOSS THEIR CIVILIZATION, MINERAL,FOREST AND EVERY THING.

    AFRICAN CAN,T UNDERSTANDING WORLD MOST SIGNIFICANT THIEVES AGAIN READY TO STOL REST OF THEIR RESOURCES !

    BE CAREFUL AND PROTEST STRONGLY AND UNITED YOUR SELVES .

    GOD SAVE AFRICA.

  • Mainuddin

    I want to know about HOW THE AFRICA LOSS THEIR CIVILIZATION, MINERAL,FOREST AND EVERY THING.

    AFRICAN CAN,T UNDERSTANDING WORLD MOST SIGNIFICANT THIEVES AGAIN READY TO STOL REST OF THEIR RESOURCES !

    BE CAREFUL AND PROTEST STRONGLY AND UNITED YOUR SELVES .

    GOD SAVE AFRICA.

  • What

    Great for my homework

  • Danielle

    This helped on my social studies HW

  • josh

    its a bit to swag

  • chanelle

    thanks for this. this really helped me with my project

    :):):):):):):):):)

  • benjamin

    This is legit

  • benjamin

    This is 2 legit 2 quit

  • Julia

    Thanks this helped my write my presentation that is due in 5 minutes

  • Kally Rauch

    extremely useful

  • Ashwin Regmi

    Thanks Steve Boyes for this presentation. It just helped me a lot
    for my social project work..

  • Albet

    I have not been to Africa yet but it would be great for me when i’ll find the chance to try something like this. Bytheway right now going to take the, and so damn sure that will have marvelous time there.

  • Arsala

    Nice article. National Geographic is one of my most favorite TV channels and I enjoy many serials and stories on it. Man VS Wild and Science of Stupid are my most favorite programs on it.

  • faith

    i agree with every thing on here but i think it needs more info on Africa.

  • Njambi

    This further reinforces a colonial outlook on Africa. In the last decade Africa has had the fastest growing economies in the world but Europe is massively on decline.I would like to see similar of Europe and America, stating America has the highest maternal and infant mortality in the developed world and over 1 million people in Britain rely on handouts for food. Many people sleep rough i.e. homeless in Britain today.

  • SPENCER COLEMAN

    I want to learn about Africa very bad. Can you please help me?

  • broadbabd speed test

    Thanks for the beautiful post…

  • Sam Gauri

    Hey guys it’s me. Having fun?

  • Sam Gauri

    This is a great post. It was very helpful to my understanding of African Culture. I can’t wait to read more!!!!

  • victoria

    i love Africa and its homed to all these cool animals

  • Gaurav rao

    Hello sir
    I want a complete ppt about basic facts of african continent..
    Can you help
    Its like that i can give presentation infront of peoples….

  • Jerome

    Wonderful piece of collection. i d like to have more of these especially on biological facts sent to my email.
    Thank You

  • Farhan

    Thanks for this knoledge

  • Chris

    Wow, could you find any more negative things to write about Africa? Seriously? the only “positive” things you have written is information about why foreigners should come exploit Africa. Hey look.. they have 30% of mineral resources, let’s go steal some more. Need oil? Africa is your answer. They are all too poor and stupid than to know better than let you exploit them. After all we colonized them successfully before. And if you need pet animals they have those too! Total BS. I should write an article about your continent too.

  • jayden prescott

    where is the niger river located in africa

  • Z

    was very helpful and they do talk about the animals

  • Z

    was helpful and they do talk about the animals

  • jack

    this has helped me with my geography hlp, WHY IS AFRICA NOT A COUNTRY?

  • abdou

    Although most of these remarks are true, in reality, these are the negative images that have been painted by the media in the the minds of lot of non Africans and people that have never visited the continent .That Africa is nothing but a backward continent….

    How about:
    South African surgeons carrying out the world’s first human heart transplant in 1967.

    the Lebombo bone found in Swaziland and the Ishango bone, discovered on the border between Uganda and Zaire, both baboon fibulas, are the world’s two oldest mathematical objects – The Ishango bone may be the oldest table of prime numbers.

    Africans living on the western shore of Lake Victoria 1500-2000 years ago smelted iron ore and produced usable carbon steel at a temperature of about 1800°C and did it with fuel-conserving techniques. A 2nd century A. D. experimental Roman furnace reached the European record for the period, only 1600°C

    For about 700 years, the Dogon people of Mali in West Africa recorded the path of the star Sitius A, which they called “sigi tolo”; then they discovered Sirius B, the tiniest and densest companion of Sirius A, which they called “po tolo” (Adams, 1991). All that the Dogon people said about Sirius A and B has been confirmed by recent scientific Revalations…..

    This is just to name a few there is a lot more, so who so ever whats to learn anything about Africa, i recomend the person to make more research and stop relying on a sole documents….

  • SATVIK.K

    IT IS VERY VERY HORRIBBLE HORRIBBLE HORRIBBLE

  • SATVIK.K

    IT IS VERY HORRIBBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Liza

    Well, this is quite nice and amazing kinds of article and surely people will love to read massive stuff. So thanks for it.

  • aj rodriguez

    cccoooollllllllllllllllll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dka

    Thanks for the info cause my class( I am not a teacher) is doing a report on Africa and Egypt and I just got done with my essay on the place. And so my art teacher and science now is saying all year and last year;) we will learn about Egypt is both classes.
    So thank you for the help and the quick head start in front of everyone else…..HA Them RightΩ☤

    Do you think you made or will do one about Greece or Roma?

  • dstar

    this just finished my homework

  • Ruby Marjory

    We should join hands and make Africa a better place. All this ludicrous things going on should stop

  • adelize

    This is really helpful to my african report it’s really good research.

  • john

    54 states or countries

  • Alma

    Waaaw thankks this was so helpful to me ! My project is done 🙂

  • Christopher

    This is good information about Africa

  • juan

    hi

  • juan

    I love Africa. I used to live there.

  • Daniel

    After reading some of the comments made by fellow Africans about the FACTS in this article, it’s a damn shame that your attitude towards the article’s contents is nothing less of counterintuitive if not shortcoming. Do most of you seriously think, with all your intellectual might, that the article heavily leans on the “negative” (whatever that means in this context) side of Africa? Facts DON’T have a positive or negative side! They exist unconditionally, and it’s up to you to let your senses filter or perceive them. The fact that there are more adverse things going on here than any other continent should alert your thinking that something is clearly wrong!! Those “negative” sides you speak of OUTWEIGH the “positive” sides that you’re so quick to jump to because you can’t stand being the last in the world. And I get it. I honestly do. You should be mad! But you’re mad about the wrong thing here. Africa does have a load of economic potential, I mean 90% of all the platinum in the world!!! Come on! Africans should be swimming in the middle-class bliss of classical economics; a land where clean water isn’t a continental issue. But nope, that isn’t the case. My God! Some of you are even dismissing the facts, referring to them as silly or ludicrous, undermining realities like there are 240 million severely undernourished Africans! Sure, we’re the cradle land of mankind, eat foods healthier than the popular cringe-worthy Big Macs of the US, and have the most beautiful animals or cultures, WHILE we simultaneously export all our best medicine and engineering graduate talents to the developed world, don’t grow enough of those healthy foods to cover the whole starving demographic, and allow foreigners, particularly the Chinese, to poach the hell out of our wildlife to the point of near extinction!!! Seriously??? And you’re going to sit there and type something like “the media is oversaturated with negative depictions of Africa because…the media hates us? The west thinks we have poor cultures?? The same west that pours billions of dollars into nearly all African economies through their tourism sectors?
    But why should I berate you when I can show you how this is a big problem. Of course something CAN be done to change all this. The biggest hurdles that curb such progression are almost always political. The political scenery in Africa is a freaking disaster compared to Europe or Australia. My God, even Brazil and India have been getting their political and state affairs in order since the mid-2000s despite being in developing continents too, where nineteenth and twentieth century Europe notably spent tones of resources trying to steal their tones of resources! Politics, particularly in Africa, determines the continent’s economic and sociocultural dynamics and stability. It’s also the source of the real and looming neo-colonial doom awaiting this continent’s future. The same politics is the reason why the continent exports and imports almost everything, right down to measly matchsticks! Yup, it’s this bad whether you like it or not and pampering ourselves with the crumbs that we enjoy or own, on a large scale, is highly regressive. Political leaders have to stop letting behemoth western corporations from running through our resources, whether natural or labour-oriented, without anything in return for Africa en masse. The same corporations that pry on the pathetic weak points of leaders like those in Kenya, and communities’ weaknesses of greed, close-minded, xenophobic, and even paranoid cultural subtexts through tribal media coverage, toxic corruption, bought-out, administrative law enforcement personnel, and favouritism in the assignment of senior government positions during and even after elections! On the other hand, we really need to start making our own commodities and planting foods for Africans much much more than for commercial reasons or at least making them easily available and very cheap, starting with strictly capping our over-reliance on foreign aid when we have more than we need to sustain ourselves. This kind of neo-colonialism only feeds the greed of the very political leaders we “elect.” it’s a disease that can only be stopped fully through, you guessed it, EDUCATION! Stop teaching African children that greed is an accepted vice or collateral damage for “conducting political affairs.” Most African nations are democratic republics, but unfortunately it’s often just on paper. No practical measures are taken for allowing more equal distributions of public resources, and that’s not even the saddest part. It’s that the “educated” demographic of Africa, you know, the one that can actually do something about this, the ones who are “well-off” enough to afford Internet to comment on this (I’m talking to you other African commenters), have accepted the trickle-down economics perpetuated by our largely moronic political leaders, and it’s eating (if not already completely eaten) through our very social fabric. Even sadder is the religious-aspect tied to this weirdly accepted ideology that always brings back the masses to supporting the same leaders who are ruining the future of their children. And those who don’t? Well, Jesus’ll come back and even things out right? Right.
    The point of the article is not to put down Africans. Instead, it’s, to me, to open Africa’s eyes to its grim future if nothing is done to counter this behaviour using self-critical thinking. You can’t turn a blind eye to a gangrenous leg just because you have a pretty face. Check your ways of thinking brothers and sisters.

  • pollock

    ????????????????????????????????????

  • Marshy Brown

    Atleast, something good comes from Africa

    #ILoveAfrica
    #ILoveNigeria

  • TONY

    Though there are better things in Africa than what has been writen in the article. Technically speaking this is soooooo horrible! Africans, do something about the image of your continent. You can do better for yourselves.

  • Saloni

    Really helpful to write my facts on Africa for the class.

  • Saloni

    Most helpful

  • My name

    I like jello and meerkats

  • Jaden Smith

    This information is very helpful. I get to to learn more about Africa and these are most of the informations that ar needed. Thank..☺️☺️

  • Tanya

    you left the Victoria falls…I luv Africa ….I luv Zimabbwe

  • Athens

    Love to say that this is a useful information which shared here. I like to tell you that never got a chance to spend a good time iN Africa in my life but like to be there soon.

  • Food

    This is helpful I guess

  • Andrew Desenior

    why is it that most of the facts are -ve ?,ok then ,in your research to find out these facts did u happen to find +ve things also,or may be you only focused on -ve things only?.
    But our continent is good ,actually it is the home of geographical features.
    It was only continental drift which made us apart otherwise we r one, so u MDCs encourage us instead of demoralizing us.
    “This is where I was born and will die”.

  • Michael

    I’m quite disappointed that this article only depicts the rather objectionable complexion of the African continent. It leaves out so many of the better, more intersting facts about this beautiful continent and I implore all those who aided in its publishing to review and change many of the facts that make Africa seem like hell because truly speaking, it is not.

About the Blog

Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

Opinions are those of the blogger and/or the blogger’s organization, and not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. Posters of blogs and comments are required to observe National Geographic’s community rules and other terms of service.

Voices director: David Braun (dbraun@ngs.org)

Social Media