Africa is the second largest continent in the world after Asia with an area of about 30.3 million square kilometres or 11.7 square miles covering 20.4% of the surface area of the earth. Africa is surrounded by water in all directions. It is bordered in the north by the Mediterranean Sea, the Suez Canal and the Red Sea in the northeast, the Indian Ocean in the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean in the west. Africa has about 9 per cent, or 4 050 km3/yr of the earth fresh water resources. The average water availability per person in Africa is 5 720 m3/capita/year compared to a global average of 7 600 m3/capita/year.
According to Africa Economic Outlook 2016, Africa’s growth in real GDP was estimated at 3.6%, higher than the 3.1% for the global economy and 1.5% for the euro area. Africa remained the world’s second fastest growing economy after East Asia. In 2015, sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) grew faster than the continental average of at 4.2%. East Africa grew by 6.3%. Central, North and West Africa were above 3%, and while Southern Africa grew by an average of 2.2%. Average economic growth in Africa is expected to be about 4.5% in 2017.
Climate of Africa
Africa climatic zones include Savannah, rain forests, dry lands or semi-arid, deserts and snow capped mountains despite standing across the Equator.
Africa countries highlights are as follows;
World Population Review estimates the population of Africa to be 1.2 billion people in 2016 with five countries that include Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Africa contributing 1/3 of the African population. The population of Africa has been growing by an average of at least 2.5% per year since 2010. In 2012, Africa Development Bank projected the population of Africa will be in excess of 1.6 billion people in 2020 and the urban population would be equal to rural population from 2030.
According to United Nations World Population Prospects Africa population will be 2.4 billion in 2050 and will hit a level of 4. 4 billion by 2100. Therefore by 2100 a 1/3 of the world population will be in Africa. The Africa population by region in millions in 2016 is as follows;
Eastern Africa 417
Western Africa 372
Northern Africa 232
Middle Africa 161
Southern Africa 63
Africa is gifted by nature and is endowed with abundant and unexploited resources that can be used for the economic development of Africa. The long list of Africa endowments is as follows;
- African population stands at 1.2 billion in 2016 with 50% of the population projected to live in urban areas by 2030.
- Africa has 4,050 km 3/yr of renewable water resources or 9 per cent of the world’s total freshwater resources although not evenly distributed.
- Africa has around 600 million hectares of uncultivated arable land about 60% of the world total of arable land
- Africa has a rich diversity of wildlife because of its different climatic conditions.
- Africa with 30 million km² of land has the potential of large quantities of mineral resources that are still unexplored.
- Africa has over 130 billion barrels of proven oil reserves.
- Africa has gas reserves estimated at 441 trillion cubic ft.
- Africa has about 22% of forest and woodland but a small percentage is protected.
- Africa is the only continent with Mountain gorillas in Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.
- Africa has three exploding lakes namely Lake Nyos and Lake Monoun, in Cameroon, and Lake Kivu on the boarder of Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Economic blocks in Africa
Africa has a number of economic blocks created with the aim of promoting the economic community of Africa. The major blocks are as follows;
- AMU/UMA- The Arab Maghreb Union
- CEN-SAD- The Community of Sahel-Saharan States
- COMESA-Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
- EAC- East African Community
- CEEAC-ECCAS- Economic Community of Central Africa States
- CEDEAO-ECOWAS- The Economic Community of West African States
- IGAD – The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)
- SADC-South African Development Community