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Surface area

  • 30.370.000 km² (almost 3 times bigger than Europe)
  • The area of the Sahara desert alone (9,2 mln km²) is comparable to the surface area of the United States (9.8 mln km²)!
  • The African continent is divided into 54 states


  • Population: 1,112,948,000
  • Average age of African population: 19,5 years.
  • The forecasts predict that Africa will represent 25 % of the world population by 2050, compared to 13 % in 1995 and 16 % in 2014.


  • In 2014, the life expectancy in Africa was 60.3 years, compared to 80.6 years in the EU.
  • All the 10 less developed countries of the world are in sub-Saharan Africa. 
  • Among the 20 less developed countries of the world, 19 are in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Among the 43 countries indicated as countries with “low human development”, 36 are in sub-Saharan Africa. 
  • An estimated 55% of the working Africans earn less than 1 US per day. In 1970 the percentage was only 36.
  • According to estimations of the World Bank, in 2030 two thirds of the poorest 10 per cent of the world will live in sub Saharan region. Today it is already half of them. 

Social challenges


  • Between 2010 and 2025, the child population of sub-Saharan Africa will rise by 130 million.
  • By 2050, 1in every 3births and almost 1in every 3 children under 18 will be African
  • In Africa, mortality rates among children under five have decreased by 45 per cent from 162 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 90 in 2012, but still half of the world's 6.6 million under-five deaths occur in Africa.
  • At least 1 in 3 children under five in Africa were stunted (too short for their age; physically not well developed) in 2011.
  • Over half of the world’s out-of-school children (33 million) live in Africa.
  • In 2012, there were an estimated 2.9 million children under 15 years living with HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa. 
  • In 2012, around 230,000 children were newly infected with HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Across Africa, about 3% of all under-five deaths are caused by HIV/AIDS, and in Southern Africa, an estimated 11% of under-five deaths are attributed to HIV/AIDS.
  • 40% of all under-five deaths in Africa are caused by pneumonia, malaria and diarrhea.
  • There are 34 million orphans in Africa.
  • More than 11 million of them are orphaned by AIDS


  • Nearly four in ten young women in Africa are married or in union before age 18
  • Africa has the highest number of maternal deaths, despite steady declines since 1990.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 62 per cent of all maternal deaths in the world in 2013, largely due to limited access to emergency obstetric care and insufficient maternal care during pregnancy and delivery. 


  • Sub-Saharan Africa hosts more than 26 per cent of the world’s refugee population.
  • About 18 million displaced persons in Africa.

    Out of these: 12.5 million are internally displaced persons (IDPs)


  • Over 31 million Africans live outside the country of their birth, the majority within the African continent.