Most Asked Questions and Answers about Africa

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Africa is a largely misunderstood continent and there are so many misconceptions of Africa and Africans by foreigners. This article lists the top questions asked about Africa online and gives concise answers to each of them.

  • What is Africa?

Africa is the second largest continent in the world and is typically known as the continent of blacks as the majority of black people in the world originate from and reside there.

  • Why is Africa so poor/ Reasons for African poverty?

Africa is so poor because of so many reasons and factors, some are:

  1. Its natural and human resources have not been properly utilized by its governments.
  2. Very high level of corruption in all levels of government and the private sector which causes the meager resources available not to reach the poor masses.
  3. Low level of education of its citizens which makes them oblivious of things which can better their standards of living.
  • Is Africa a country/nation?

Africa is not a country or nation; It is a continent with 54 countries and over 3000 ethnic groups and 2000 languages.

  • Which are the poorest African countries?

The poorest countries in Africa according to the United Nation’s 2011 Human Development Report are: 1.Democratic Republic of Congo, 2.Niger, 3.Burundi, 4.Mozambique, 5.Chad, 6.Liberia, 7. Burkina Faso, 8. Sierra Leone, 9.Central Africa Republic and 10.Guinea

  • Is Africa poor?

Poverty according to the United Nations is when a person lives on less than 1.25 US dollar daily. As per this definition, Africa can be considered a poor continent because over 70 percent of its inhabitants live on less than a dollar daily.

  • Why is Africa so underdeveloped/not developed?

Africa is not developed or underdeveloped because its leaders generally do not embark on developmental projects due to the high level of corruption and greediness which has eaten deep into the continent.

  • Is all of Africa poor?

No, not all of Africa is poor, North African countries such as Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Algeria  and some sub-Saharan Africa countries such as South Africa have a good standard of living.

  • Why is Africa still poor?

As earlier stated, Africa is still poor because it has not gotten selfless leaders who will embark on massive poverty eradication and education projects.

  • How many countries are in Africa?

Africa has 54 countries which are: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

  • Why is Africa starving?

Africa is starving because of many different reasons, some are:

  1. High level of illiteracy: Majority of Africans are farmers and a very high percentage of them are illiterates. This lack of education causes them to remain stagnant at a subsistence level of agriculture as they are not exposed to modern agricultural practices and equipment.
  2. Inadequate storage and Agricultural produce processing factories: There are very few agricultural produce storage and processing plants in Africa which results in wastage and spoilage of farm produce which then results in scarcity of food and then starvation.
  3. Inadequate funds for farmers: Most African farmers practice agriculture at subsistence level because they do not have access to the large capital required to expand and produce food in large quantities.
  • Where is Africa located?

Africa is located between the continents of Europe and South America on the world map with the Mediterranean Sea bordering it to the north, Atlantic ocean to the south and west and the Indian ocean to the east.

  • Why is Africa so backward/behind?

Africa is very backward because a huge majority of its citizens are still uneducated and the standard of education is very low.

  • Why is Africa not developing?

Africa is not developing mainly because its rulers have not taken definite measures to address several developmental issues plaguing the continent.

  • What is the smallest country in Africa?

Seychelles: The smallest country in Africa is Seychelles which is a group of islands on the east coast of the continent. The smallest country on Africa mainland is The Gambia.

  • What is the percentage of Africa in poverty?

According to World Bank, as at 2012, Africa had over 330 million people living in poverty which accounts for about 43 percent of the continent’s population.

  • What is the biggest country in Africa?

The largest country in Africa is Algeria with an area of 919,595 square miles.

  • Was Africa always poor?

No, Africa was not always poor. Before the colonization of Africa by the Europeans, Africans lived a relatively good life, they were farmers and hunter-gatherers who were able to feed themselves to a large extent.

The Europeans made Africans pay taxes and introduced the cash/market economy which forced Africans to produce cash crops instead of food for their families. This exploitation impoverished the Africans since then and their successive governments have increased the poverty level with so much corruption in play.

  • Why has Africa not developed?

Africa has not developed because its people have not taken definite actions to do so. There is also the issue of a very high level of corruption which hampers development.

  • What is the meaning of Africa?

Africa is a short form of Africa-terra which means “Land of the Afri”, Afri is the plural form of the word Afer which historians interprete as either “dust” in Phoenician, the name of a tribe which dwelt in North Africa in the Carthage area, “aphrike” which is the Greek word  for “no cold” and Latin word “aprica”, meaning sunny.

  • What is the area of Africa?

Africa is the second biggest continent in the world with an area of 30.3 million square kilometers and covers 6 percent of the earth’s surface and 20.4 percent of the earth’s land mass.

  • What is the population of Africa?

Africa is the second most populous continent in the world with a population of 1.221 billion as at 2016.

  • How many states are in Africa?

Africa is not a country, it is a continent and hence has countries and not states. There are 54 countries in Africa.

  • Will Africa always be poor?

I do not believe Africa will always be poor, Africa has great potentials with a lot of natural and human resources which when utilized properly will make Africa a rich continent.

  • How poor is Africa?/ How many poor people are in Africa?

Africa has 330 million, approximately 43 percent of its population living below the poverty line i.e. below 1.25 US dollars daily which is very huge. This means about half of Africans are poor.

  • Why is Africa important?

Africa is important because of so many reasons. Africa has huge human resources which are currently benefiting the world on several levels and their number can only increase as more and more Africans get education.

Africa also currently has the largest deposits of natural resources in the world which are needed now and more in the future to for the production of materials for use all over the world as the resources in the rest of the world have almost depleted.

Africa is currently an underrated continent but has the potentials to be a force to reckon with in the world if its human and natural resources are used efficiently.

  • Who named Africa?

Africa was named by the Romans.

  • Why is Africa so violent?

Africa has many issues of violence mainly due to many political, ethnic, tribal and religious differences. These differences usually result in clashes which when not curtailed blow up to much larger crises.

  • What is the original name of Africa?

The original name of Africa is a subject of argument among philosophers but the area known currently as Africa was formerly referred to as Carthage.

  • Are there jungles in Africa?

Yes, there are jungles in Africa but not as many as people are made to believe.

  • How was Africa divided into countries?

Africa was divided into countries by the Europeans at the Berlin conference of 1884 and 1885.

  • How old is Africa?

Scholars have stated that the oldest known remains of humans were discovered in Africa and were dated 195,000 years and that the human race originated from Africa. Therefore Africa is as old as or older than the above number.

  • Why does Africa have so many problems?

Africa is plagued with many problems which started with the colonization of the continent by the Europeans and has deteriorated into the present state due to the high level of greed and corruption present in the continent.

  • Which part of Africa is poor?

The part of Africa which is poor is mainly the sub-Saharan Africa region which is exclusive of North African countries such as Morocco, Libya, Tunisia and Egypt.

  • Why is Africa called Africa?

It is called so because that was the name the ancient Romans gave it which originated from the word “Africa-terra” meaning “The land of the Afri” with afri meaning either dust or sunny .

  • Is everyone in Africa poor?

No, not everyone is poor. As a matter of fact, Africa has many millionaires and even billionaires. Only about half of Africa’s population is poor.

  • Why is Africa so unstable?

Not all countries in Africa are unstable. Countries which experience instability usually do so due to several factors ranging from refusal of a President to relinquish power to economic hardship.

  • Who is an African?

An African is a person who has one or both parents as citizens of Africa, was born In Africa or is a naturalized citizen of an African country.

  • Are African Americans from Africa?

African Americans are people whose ancestors were originally from Africa who then moved to America and became citizens there so they are from Africa.

  • Do all black people originate/come from Africa?

Most black people originate from Africa but there are blacks who come from other countries and continents such as Native Filipinos (Negrito), Andamanese Indians, Thailand’s Manis, the Semang people from Malay Peninsula,  the Australian Aborigines and the Mafulu people of New Guinea.

  • Why are Africans black?

That question is an unsolved mystery but evolutionists believe that all people were originally black and that white people’s skin colour changed as a result of adaptation to the climate of areas they migrated to.

  • What do Africans look like?

North Africans are generally light in complexion with pointed noses like Asians and Europeans while Sub Saharan Africans are generally dark in complexion with flat noses.

  • Why is there such wide ethnic diversity within African nations?

Africa has a wide ethnic diversity mainly due to the fact that in pre-colonial Africa, men usually moved out of their ethnic groups and inter married with women from other ethnic groups and then settled on a previously unoccupied land and overtime this gave rise to a new ethnic group.

  • What is African identity?

African Identity is something which is mainly talked about by non-Africans who do not understand the way Africa is, African countries are each distinct entities and have their own respective identities. There is not really anything like African Identity, the most important characteristic which gives Africans an identity is the black color of their skin, their body build, voice and some similar cultural practices.

  • Are Africans lazy?

No, Africans are not lazy, they are very hardworking people who engage in various physical and mental jobs to cater for themselves, their families and their nation.

  • Is Africa a race?

Race according to Wikipedia, is a group of people who share similar and distinct physical characteristics, therefore Africa can be said to be a race, there are however many different ethnic groups in Africa

  • Are all Africans black?

No, not all Africans are black. The North Africans are light in complexion and even some Sub-Saharan Africans are light in complexion.

  • Why do black people have flat noses?

Not every African has a flat nose but majority do. Evolutionists believe that the flat noses are as a result of adaptation to the heat in Africa as the wider your nose is, the better the air will circulate and the cooler it will get.  The flat nose prevents them from breathing in hot air.

  • What kind of people live in Africa?

Different kinds of people live in Africa, there are over 3000 ethnic groups in the continent and each have their own distinct characteristics.

  • What do people do in Africa?

People in Africa do a variety of things, most are farmers, some are hunters. There are also many educated people who work in companies and industries just like in the developed world.

  • Why do African Americans look different from Africans?

There are many reasons for this. Some are: 1. The climate of America is very different from Africa and hence Africans who have stayed there have evolved over the years to adjust to that climate. 2. Intermarriage between white Americans and Africans has given rise to a different complexion and body build of African Americans.

  • Is Africa an Island?

No, Africa is not an island but there are many islands in it and surrounding it.

  • Is Africa the largest continent?

No, Asia is, Africa is second largest continent.

  • Can Africa feed itself?

Yes it can, but some African countries face famine and drought from time to time which gives rise to hunger and starvation.

  • Do Africans eat dirt?

Hell No, they don’t! They eat good food like the rest of the world’s people.

  • What do Africans eat?

Africans have several varieties of foods made with different food items, you can find a list here.

  • What do poor Africans eat?

Poor Africans eat foods derived from cheap foodstuff such as maize, beans, cassava. etc. and they do so most times without sources of protein and other essential classes of foods and hence they do not always eat a balanced diet.

  • How can I help in Africa?

You can help in Africa by donating money, drugs, clothes, food etc. to humanitarian agencies present in Africa. You can also visit the continent and do it physically.

  • Why should I go to Africa/ why should I visit Africa?

You should visit Africa because it is a beautiful continent with a rich culture, amazing people and also to help the needy who are many.

  • What work do most Africans do?

Most Africans are involved in one form of agriculture or another, either crop farming or animal farming.

  • What is Africa best known for?

Africa is best known for been the most populous black continent, having some of the hottest places on earth, home to the famous ancient Egyptian pyramids and having over 1500 different languages.

  • How does Africa make money?

Africa makes money through many ways including but not limited to: Selling natural resources such as crude oil, gold, diamonds etc., through taxes paid by companies operating in the continent, etc.

  • What do African people wear?

Africans wear the type of clothes we all wear, they also have traditional clothes which vary from one ethnic group to another.

  • What is Africa like?

Africa is a fun place to be with a lot of interesting sights and sounds.

  • What do Africans do for fun?

Africans have native games, they also like to party and have fun. They also have colorful cultural festivals from time to time.

  • Does Africa have other names?

No, Not really.

  • Why is there so much war in Africa?

There is a lot of political struggle in Africa mainly caused by leaders who do not want to relinquish power, militants and terrorists and many other factors.

  • Why does Africa have so many countries?

The Europeans who colonized Africa shared the continent among themselves and that is why it has many countries.

  • Who is the Richest man in Africa?

The richest African and black man in the world is Alhaji Aliko Dangote, a Nigerian with vast interests in the sugar, cement, flour and oil industries in Nigeria. His net worth tumbled from $25 billion in February 2014 to about 10 billion dollars in August 2016 as a result of a rapidly declining Nigerian currency and economic recession.

  • When was Africa divided into countries?

Africa was divided into countries at the Berlin conference of 1884-1885.

  • Is Africa safe?

Africa is generally safe however there are some areas which are currently experiencing crises.

  • What is the most popular food in Africa?

The most popular food in Africa is Jollof Rice which is eaten in almost all West African countries and many other African countries.

  • What kind of houses do Africans live in?

Most Africans used to live in thatched huts before they were colonized. In this modern day, Africans live in modern houses similar to those in the developed world.

  • What is the most spoken language in Africa?

The most spoken language in Africa is Arabic but the most spoken indigenous African language is Swahili which is spoken mainly by East Africans in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

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