People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria lies on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa. 90% of the country is desert with a total land area of 23.82 lakhs sq km. Energy export being the backbone of the economy, it exports natural gas to Europe in large quantity. World Bank classified Algeria as the upper middle income country. It is a member of OPEC and hydrocarbon industry contributes 95% of export revenue. The growth on the non-hydrocarbon sector is yet to boom and paves a big opportunity for foreign investment. It is yet to join WTO and negotiations are on. Transportation infrastructure is good and tourism industry is fast growing. The resource potentials of this country is yet to be reaped. There is a brilliant background of culture; music, literature, theatre.
With 12.47 lakhs sq kms area Angola is the seventeenth largest country in Southern Africa. Population 16.94 million. Angola is a member state of the UN, African Union, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, the Latin Union and the Southern African Development Community. The economic growth is uneven and majority of wealth is concentrated on few. It attained independence from Portugal in 1975. With that, half a million skilled Portuguese people left the country making a big vacuum on growth and development.
Angola is rich in oil, diamonds, copper, gold, wildlife and many more to make the country rich. Its economy is now on the booming side. There is ample opportunities awaiting for investors. Diamonds and oil alone contribute 60% of the economy. The civil war from 1975 to 2002 made the country ravaged on its rich agricultural production. The once breadbasket of Southern Africa is now importing food from South Africa. The vast fertile farming land is now open for cultivation and growth. The stake-holders of green revolution of India have a big opportunity here to play.
The Republic of Benin is a country in the West Africa with a population of 10 million and area of 1.15 lakh sq km. An agro-based economy dependent on cotton production needs foreign intervention drastically. Literacy rate is very low. Recent economic reforms envisage foreign investment in the field of agro-industry, tourism and information and communication technology. Reformation in the land tenure system becomes conducive to the improvement of business climate. Country’s only seaport and airport is located in Cotonou. Benin is connected by road to the neighbouring countries; togo, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria. Benin’s trade and commerce fields are occupied by Indian and Lebanese presence. Investors and experts in the field of education, health, agriculture, industry and commerce have great opportunity in this country.
Republic of Botswana is a land-locked nation of 5.8 lakhs sq km area in Southern Africa with 2.16 million population. It is a member of the UN, Common Wealth of Nations, African Union and Southern African Development Community. Its political and socio-economic strength is quite high. It has varied geographical features with Kalahari Desert covering 70% of land area, Okavango inland delta in the north-west and a large salt pan in north. The country is adorned with grasslands and savannas with rich flora and fauna. There are several National Parks to boast. Botswana has one of the fastest growth rates in terms of per capita income. It has quickly transformed into one of the middle-income country from among world’s poorest nations. Compared to other African nations, Botswana can boast of having high level economic freedom. Nationalisation of private property is banned as per constitution. Gemstones and precious metals are largely excavated and contribute to 40% of all government revenues. The Orapa mine is the world’s largest diamond mine. 70% of population is Christians. Many Indians work in higher positions in the government and Universities and many in trade and commerce.The literacy rate is also fast increasing.
Burkina Faso is a land-locked country in West Africa with a land area of 2.74 sq km. Its former name of Republic of Upper Volta. 60% practice Islam, 23% Christians and 15% indigenous religions. Politically unstable country is now in a transition stage of electing a new President after the 17 years rule of the previous President who tried to change the constitution to assure his continued power.
Agriculture is the predominant factor of the economy with 80% of working population into it and represents 32% of GDP. Many minerals including gold is mined here. It is the fourth largest gold producing country in Africa.
Republic of Burundi is in East Africa in the African Great Lakes Region. It is a very small country of 27,834 sq km; less than the area of Kerala State. Country is land-locked and enjoy an equatorial climate.
In 1962 it gained independence from Belgium. After having lots of civil wars, now the country is passing through a peaceful era with new constitution and democratic government. The reconstruction work is in progress. More than 90% of the population is in the agriculture sector which contributes 30% of GDP. Coffee makes 93% of the total export. Telecommunications infrastructure needs to be developed to lift the country from the bottom level of world ranking. Ample opportunities are awaiting in various fields of economy; transportation, industry, telecommunication, agro-processing, financing, education, etc.
80 to 90% of the population is Christians. Burundi struggles quite a large and seeks help from world over. There shall be a forum to help Burundi grow and those who help right now can reap enough later. That is Africa.
The Republic of Cameroon is a Central African country. Thanks to country’s relatively high political and social stability for the development of different sections of economy. Cameroon has an 18 million population, living in 4.75 lakhs sq km. Present day Cameroon is union of earlier French and British colonies. President Paul Biyan is ruling the country since 1982. He, along with Chad President, declared war against Boko Haram and deployed troops to the Nigerian border. Literacy rate is 72% with most children have access to government run schools. British and French systems prevail in education field. Child labour exists in good strength. Breast ironing is wide-spread in Cameroon. Cameroon is aiming to become an emerging country in 2035. Its economy is somewhat better with a growth rate of 4%. Privatisation is in progress, tourism flourishes. 70% of the population is engaged in farming activities. Many foreign owned firms hold logging business with least control. Anyway, Cameroonian economy is progressing.
Cape Verde or Cabo Verde is officially named Republic of Cabo Verde. This is an island country in the Atlantic Ocean, comprising 10 volcanic islands, 570 km off the western African coast. It was colonised by the Portuguese in the 15th Century and was a centre of slave trade. The English version of Cape Verde has been replaced by the Portuguese version of Cabo Verde in 2013 for all official purpose. Cape Verdean international relations is excellent with good diplomatic relations with major countries of the world.
Cape Verde’s economic development is well acclaimed. It is a service oriented economy with meagre agricultural or production activities. With privatization drive and open market, foreign investors are most welcome in this country, with a membership in WTO. It is one of the top countries for renewable energy. Wind turbines work in many places. With predominant Christian population .5 million people live in Cape Verde. Portuguese still has great influence over this country in all walk of life.
As the name indicates, this is a Central African country. Land-locked with 6.2 lakhs sq km area CAR contains a 4.7 million population. Attained independence from France in 1960. Underwent administration by many autocratic rulers and in 1993 first multi-party elections settled down to peaceful democratic process. The country is in rich minerals and large quantity of cultivable land. But the resources are not exploited properly and hence CAR remains one of the ten poorest countries in the world. With its savannas, national parks and wildlife, tourism alone can bring in wealth if it is managed scientifically.
Around 40% of the diamonds produced leaves the country without knowledge and still diamond export constitute 40% of total export value. Country’s roads are connected to neighbouring countries. Public education up to the age of 14 is free and compulsory.
Chad is a land-locked country in north of Central Africa. It is the fifth largest country in Africa having a population of above ten million. At 12.84 lakhs sq km Chad is world’s 21st largest country. The rich forests and savannas can boast of varied wild life. Some famous archaeological sites are located in Chad. Chad is submerged in Political unrest. Chad is the seventh poorest country in the world according to HDI published by UN.
Chad has a rich and varied culture. Devoid of civil war and other political unrest Chad can flourish and come up well in all economic parameters.
Union of the Comoros is an island nation in the Indian Ocean. It was a French colony till 1975. The island, Mayotte is still in French occupation. Comoros is one of world’s poorest countries. Unemployment is very high. Agriculture is predominant which include fishing, hunting and related activities. Closeness to Madagascar shows that crops like vanilla are copied here also. But when international prices on cash crops drop, countries like Comoros suffer a lot. High density of population and declining GDP growth rate pull the country towards under-development. Still foreign investment is welcome towards agriculture sector. Low investment can reap high returns if management is done scrupulously. Sunni Muslim is the dominant religion with 98%.
DRC should not be confused with the Republic of the Congo. This Central African country with a 75 million population DR Congo is the most populated Francophone (French speaking) country. The richness of natural resources are beyond imagination but corruption, lack of infrastructure, political instability, etc are driving the nation under-developed. Paradox is that the people are sitting on a bench of gold and starving to death. US $ 24 Trillion worth of untapped minerals are hidden in the soils of this country. DRC has 70% of world’s coltan, 30% of its cobalt, more than 30% of its diamond reserves and a tenth of its copper. See, how rich the country should be with these reserves. Yet, its citizens are among the poorest people on earth. In the world corruption perception index DRC is one of the twenty lowest ranked countries. Investors have lot to do in many sectors including health, education, transportation and many more.
Located in the horn of Africa, Djibouti (Republic of Djibouti) is on the eastern African region on the southern entry of Red Sea. Population is nearly one million with an area of 23,200 sq km. With free trade policy, commercial activities are centred around and the economy is mostly service oriented. 5% annual growth in GDP is a good indication in comparison to other African nations. Port of Djibouti occupies a major role in the country’s economic activities. Djibouti is an investor friendly country with proven track records. Funds are mainly used for building essential infrastructure facilities. Chinese companies are highly exploiting the opportunities available in this country. Government gives high priority to education. 94% are Muslims and rest Christians.
The Arab Republic of Egypt. It is the world’s only contiguous Eurafrasian, having borders with Africa, Europe and Asia. It is a Mediterranean country sharing borders with Israel, Gaza strip, Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea, Sudan and Libya. About 90 million people inhabitants make this country the most populous in North Africa and the Arab World. After Nigeria and Ethiopia it ranks the third. About 10 lakhs sq km area lies within the Nile valley. Egypt has a proud and one of the longest histories of any modern country.
2011 onwards political turmoils appear in this country. Long term President, Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down and later the Muslim Brotherhood came to power which was then replaced by the army.
IMF in its report has acclaimed Egypt for adopting economic reforms. Egypt’s economy is mainly dependent up on agriculture, petroleum, natural gas, tourism and media. Coal mines in Sinai area helps the economy a lot. External remittance of overseas employees and Suez Canal contribute much to the economy. Foreign Direct Investment also went high during the reign of Hosni Mubarak. More than 10 million people visit Egypt every year which is an impetus to the economy.
The Republic of Equatorial Guinea is located in the west of Central Africa with 1.6 million population in 28000 sq km area. It is the only county in Africa having Spanish as the official language. The country has two regions geographically consisting few islands and mainland which is called Rio Muni. This is the richest per capita GDP country in Africa, ranking 69th in the world. The uneven distribution of wealth, however, keeps the nation in the rank of 144th in terms of HDI. It attained independence in the year 1968 and till 1975 Nguema was in power with his authoritarian constitution and mode of operation. Teodoro Obiang took power in 1975 and now he is the longest ruling dictator of Africa. 93% of population are Christians, 2% Muslims and rest belong to different religions.
Before independence, Equatorial Guinea’s main exports were cocoa, coffee and timber but after discovering huge oil reserve in 1996, the country started producing huge quantity of oil to make it the third largest oil producer in sub-Saharan region.
The State of Eritrea lies in the horn of Africa, bordered by Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti. Eritrea is the Greek name for Red Sea which is the eastern border across Saudi and Yemen. Eritrea declared independence in the year 1993. Eritrea has got a rich wildlife and avifauna to boost tourism industry. The olive-baboon and elephant relationship is very famous wildlife story of interesting reciprocity. Eritrea is a single party nation with poor human rights. An unclear border with Ethiopia kindles lots of border issues and unrest.
Due to the recent hike in gold and silver mining and also of hiked cement production have resulted in considerable growth in the economy. Roads have been asphalted, ports reconstructed and various other developments occurred in the infrastructure arena. Christian and Islam faiths share almost 50-50. Unlike many other under-developed countries in Africa, Eritrea has some good vision over its health aspects. The implementation of various projects and rules is finding results.
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia borders with Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya and Djibouti is in the horn of Africa. With 90 million population it ranks second in Africa. 11 lakhs sq km area makes it the 27th largest country in the world. The great diversity of terrain determines varied situations across this country and ecological diversity is prominent due to that. The rich wildlife with endemic species has a major attraction. Avian diversity is brilliant.
It is one of the fastest growing economy of Africa and non-oil dependent nation. Agriculture shares 41% of GDP. Ethiopia’s coffee production ranks first in Africa and it is the 10th largest producer of livestock in the world. Country is also experiencing growth of private sector which is a boon to foreign investors. Chinese and Turkish companies are greatly involved in building infrastructure facilities including railway reconstruction. It has 52 airports. Christianity, Islam and ethnic religions have almost equal presence in Ethiopia.
Gabonese Republic is in the west coast of Central Africa bordering with Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Republic of Congo and Gulf of Guinea. 1.5 million people live here on 2,70,000 sq km area. Gained independence from France in 1960 and enjoys a multi-party system. Gabon stands high in terms of prosperity due to petroleum income, low population density and foreign private investment. It has the 4th highest HDI, 3rd highest per capita GDP and many more to boast of. But the income distribution is poor, making 20% of the population with 90% income. Before oil, logging was backbone of economy. Now logging and manganese mining also support the economy considerably. Gabon requires further infrastructure development to reap the potentialities in tourism and processing industries. Agriculture sector needs furtherance with technology and other scientific methods. Gabon can be converted into an investors’ paradise with the given conditions; especially that of minimal political unrest, unlike other neighbouring States. Investors can mark by putting their flag on Gabon while rummaging on selection of country for investment.
Republic of the Gambia, the smallest country (10,689 sq km) in the mainland Africa is bordered mostly with Senegal and a small strip with Atlantic Ocean. Independence in 1965 from United Kingdom. Tourism, fishing and farming are major economic activities and the population is known for its poverty ridden status. In 2013 Gambia went out of Commonwealth of Nations.
Gambia has a market-based liberal economy. Tourism sector is prominent. GDP growth is around 5%. Gambia is famous for its peanut production. Major imports are from US, China and Denmark. Urbanisation is fast growing. English is the official language. 90% observe Islam but people can adhere to any religion they want.
Republic of Ghana is a multi-national State like India. In 1957 it declared independence from Britain and started the de-colonisation process in Africa, assumed the name Ghana from Gold Coast. Ghana lies in the Western Africa with Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Togo and Atlantic Ocean as borders. 2.39 lakhs sq km area comprises 27 million people. The river system in Ghana is quite good with plenty of tributaries. Wildlife is exemplary. Ghana has a rich political background and diplomatic relations with international acclaim. Former Secretary General of UN, Kofi Annan is a Ghanaian.
Ghana possesses rich industrial minerals, hydrocarbons and precious metals. It has a considerable GDP growth rate of 8%. The economic plan target, Ghana Vision 2020 will lead Ghana to become a developed country between 2020 and 2030. Chinese Yuan RMB is the second currency in the country along with national currency Ghana cedi. Ghana Stock Exchange is the 5th largest in Africa. Its high quality cocoa production with a 2nd global ranking, growing manufacturing sector, planned economy, etc keeps the investors inquisitive towards this country. Ghana can be the future Golden Gate to Africa.
Republic of Guinea was a French colony in the Gulf of Guinea coast. It is a predominantly Islam state with 85% Muslims out of 10.5 million population. Since independence in 1958 till 2010 Presidential election, Guinea was under autocratic rulers.
Guinea has a rich mineral deposit, especially with regard to first rank in bauxite. Diamonds, gold and other metals are in abundance. Hydroelectric power potentiality is quite high. Processing plants for beer, juices, soft drinks and tobacco make considerable presence in the manufacturing sector. Its role as major exporter of pineapple, peanuts, coffee and palm oil has deteriorated during post-independence period. There are immense possibilities for irrigated farming and agro-industry.
The 2014 Ebola virus outbreak virtually shook the world. It spread to the neighbouring countries, Sierra Leone and Algeria. Now the borders to these countries have been closed to contain the disease. In addition, Malaria disables Guinea largely.
Republic of Guinea-Bissau, about the size of Kerala, lies in the West Africa along the Atlantic coast with a population of 14 lakhs. Official language is Portuguese, being a Portuguese colony once it was, but only 14% speak the language. Guinea-Bissau is a member of almost all related organisations like African Union, United Nations, ECWAS, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Latin Union, La Francophonie, etc. It proclaimed independence from Portugal in 1973. Political unrest prevails after the independence.
GDP per capita is one of the lowest in the world due to depressed economic activity with an unstable political scenario. But progress is being observed in change of attitude. After 2012 drug trafficking is also on the increase. Health and education sector needs more attention.
Republic of Cote d’lvoire (prounce – cot devoire)was a power house in West-African economy with the production of cocoa and coffee in abundance. Ivory coast is predominantly an a gricultural country. 24 million population within 3.22 lakhs sq km attained independence from France in 1960. Official language hence is French. Political unrest is prevalent as in most of the African nations.
Many land-locked neighbouring countries depend Ivory Coast for transit trade. It is the largest economy in the West African Monetary Union. It is the largest exporter of cocoa beans and 4th in general goods in the sub-saharan region. There are about one lakh rubber farmers. The main reasons for the success of economic growth is attributed to foreign investment, diversification of agriculture for export, continued ties with France. There are almost equal number of Christians and Muslims and about 25% are of ethnic religion. Ivory Coast played football during the last three consecutive times in World cup.
Republic of Kenya is a founding member of the East African Community comprising 5.81 lakh sq km area with 45 million population. It is bordered with Indian Ocean, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia. Nairobi, the capital city is surrounded by savannah which attracts millions of tourists, especially to watch the migration of millions of wildebeest. Lake Victoria, the largest tropical fresh water lake in the world is in Kenya. Many of its beaches are famous for yachting competitions. Kenya attained independence from Britain during 1963.
It has the largest economy in East and Central Africa. Agriculture being major employment provider, Kenya exports coffee, tea, flowers, etc. Service industry also provides a good role in economic development. Even with all advanced parameters of an advanced economy, Kenya’s HDI is very poor, ranked 145 in a list of 186 countries.
Kingdom of Lesotho, 30,000 sq km area, surrounded by South Africa, is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. 40% of the population of two million lives below the poverty line. Lesotho government is a constitutional monarchy. The King has only ceremonial functions whereas the Prime Minister holds all the executive powers. The constitution protects basic civil liberties like freedom of speech, association, press, religion, etc. Since it is a very small country by geographical area and surrounded fully by South Africa, the latter’s economic and political development influences strongly.
The economy is based on farming, livestock, mining and heavily depended on workers’ remittances. HDI is very low. Adult literacy is 82%, one of the highest literacy rate in Africa. It is the largest exporter of Garments to US from sub-Saharan Africa. Water and Diamond are the major natural resources earning substantial income. 90% of the population is Christian. About 20% of population are HIV afflicted.
Republic of Liberia lies on the West African coast and also called little America. Home to 4.4 million people it covers a land area of 1.1 lakh sq km. English as official language but only 15% speak that. Equatorial climate provides significant rainfall during May-October and remainder of the period experiences harsh winds. 40% of the Upper Guinean rain forests lies in Liberia. By gaining independence from America in the year 1862, it became the first nation to attain independence in Africa. It is the oldest republic in Africa and second oldest black republic in the world after Haiti. Political instability began in 1980 and country experienced two civil wars resulting in a loss of half a million lives and devastation of the economy. 85% live below poverty line. Though the virus Ebola struck in 2014, now there is no reported case.
Liberian economy is dependent on export of iron ore, timber, rubber and foreign investment and aids. The GDP per capita is the third-lowest in the world.
The State of Libya lies in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by Mediterranean Sea, Egypt, Sudan, Chad, Niger, Algeria and Tunisia. It is the fourth largest country in Africa with 1.8 million sq km area and 17th largest in the world. 90% of land is desert. It has the 10th largest oil reserve in the world. One million out of total 6 million population stays in Capital Tripoli. In 1969 Col Muammar Gaddafi captured power from King Idris. He was overthrown in 2011 after the civil war which saw loss of 30,000 civilians. Political unrest now prevails. 80% of GDP and 97% of exports, oil sector is a significant contributor to the economy. It is an upper middle income economy. It imports 90% of its cereal consumption requirements. After the civil war in 2011, the reconstruction of infrastructure is now underway. 97% of the population are Muslims and Arabic is widely spoken. Adulty literacy rate is 89.2%.
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Southeast Africa. It is the fourth largest island in the world with 5,92,800 sq kms . Until 1960 it was a French colony. 90% of the 2 million population is under poverty line. The socialistic and Marxian oriented approach of the government deteriorated the economy much. Later privatisation and liberalisation were considered when state became bankrupt in 1982. Coffee, cattle, vanilla, cloves, silk, plam oil, etc are major products. It has a good reserve of ilmenite, chromite, coal, iron, cobalt, copper and nickel. In the mining, oil and gas sectors, major projects are underway which will surely boost the economy. Half of the world supply of sapphire is from Madagascar. 28% of GDP is covered by exports which include textiles, vanilla, cloves, fish, foodstuffs, etc. Half of the population are Christians and mostly integrated with traditional practices.
The Republic of Malawi, once known as Nyasaland, lies landlocked in the Southeast Africa bordered by Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique. 1,18,000 sq km in area with 17 million population, Malawi is one of the world’s least developed countries. One third of the country is occupied by Lake Malawi. After having many regional inter-ethnic conflicts, the country settled down to national feelings. It has low HDI index and dependent on foreign aids. Malawi is a democratic party government system. Many developed countries of the world help Malawi in various ways.
The economy is based on agriculture. There are several investment barriers to foreign investments such as low infrastructure facility; water, power, telecommunications. In spite of strong economic growth, it holds a low per capita income. Over the years, the percentage of poor under poverty line is drastically diminishing. Growth potentialities are welcoming to foreign investors.
The Republic of Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa bordering Algeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Mauritania, attained freedom from France in 1960. Northern part of the country lies on the Sahara Desert. French Sudan and Senegal joined together to form Mali Federation but Senegal later withdrew from the Federation and allowed the Sudanese Republic to become Republic of Mali. Protests during 1991 saw democratic transition of the country.
Natural resources such as gold, uranium, phosphates, kaolinite, salt and limestone are in abundance. It is in the French zone using CFA franc. Mali is exporting cotton along with gold, livestock, etc.