You must have heard the term Sub-Saharan Africa and wondered what it meant? Questions like where is it located? Is it a country? Or how many countries make up this African region and why the tag- ‘Sub-Saharan Africa? etc., must have ran through your mind. Well, this article aims to do justice to those questions for clarity sake.
What is Sub-Saharan Africa
Simply put, Sub-Saharan Africa refers to a geographical location of those African countries located towards the south of the Sahara desert. According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), out of the 54 countries that make up the African continent, 46 of them are referred to as Sub-Saharan. The countries excluded are; Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Somalia, Sudan and Tunisia.
It is also important to state the fact that while the United Nations geoscheme for Africa do not recognize Sudan as one of the countries in the region, the African Union on the other hand recognizes Sudan as one but refuse to accept Mauritania as Sub-Saharan.
A List of Sub-Saharan African Countries
Note: Somalia and Sudan are excluded based on the United Nations’ recognition. There are 46 African countries recognized by the United Nations (UN) as Sub-Saharan and they are:
- Burkina Faso
- Cabo Verde
- Central African Republic
- Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
- Congo, Republic (Republic of Congo)
- Republic of Cote d’Ivoire
- Equatorial Guinea
- Eswatini (Formerly Known as Swaziland)
- Sao Tome and Principe
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- South Sudan
Fun Facts About Sub-Saharan Africa
- Sub-Saharan Africa is not a single entity or country. It comprises of 46 different countries who speak different languages and have different cultures and traditions.
- It has the fastest growth in the world with a teeming population of over 1 billion people.
- According to Euro Monitor, Sub-Saharan Africa is the world’s least urbanized region with about 61.8% of its population living in rural areas.
- It is part of the top 10 fastest growing economies of the world behind Asia
- Consumer expenditure have exceeded $1 trillion USD since 2014.
- According to the world bank, the region ranks number 7 among the top 10 regions in the world to conduct business.
- Mobile and Internet connectivity is on the increase as it is fast becoming a necessity than perceived as a luxury.
- Access to finance remains a key constraint to conducting business in the region.
- Road networks seem to be a challenge in this region.
- It is relatively hot with high temperature climates
- The region comprises of tropical and subtropical Savannahs and Grasslands
- Despite the abundance of natural resources, most countries in the region are impoverished. It is worthy to mention that there is a mixed progress towards the alleviation of poverty.
- In the region, the main food crops are cassava, yams, corn, sorghum, beans, rice, sweet potatoes, guavas, bananas, and coconuts.
- According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), this region remains underdeveloped because of “obstacles to international trade; overvalued exchange rates; poor infrastructure; bad governance and corruption; and insufficient competition and monopolistic structures in many sectors, notably agriculture.”
- There are over 2500 languages spoken in the region.