Africa

How many countries in Africa: 49, 54, or 55? What to know

Africa is a continent, but how many countries? We have been asked. The answer to the question is more complex than you may think, but, in simple terms, 55 states are recognized by the AU or the UN or both.

Africa – black continent – is the second-largest continent in the world in terms of area and population. Africa covers an area of more than 3 million square kilometers, which includes independent island states and many other countries. It is separated from Europe by the Mediterranean Sea and joined to Asia by the Suez Isthmus.

How many countries in Africa: 49, 54, or 55? What to know

It is a 120-kilometer strip of land that lies between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. The Suez Rift passes under the Suez Isthmus, which separates mainland Egypt and Africa from the Sinai Peninsula. The black continent is surrounded by the Red Sea and the Suez Canal to the northeast.

On the southeast with the warm Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the cold and icy Atlantic Ocean to the west. But how many countries are in Africa? Some have said that Africa comprises 49 countries, while others claimed 54 states, and the rest accepted 55 nations! Here is what you need to know about how many countries in Africa.

Why 55 countries in Africa?

The African Union (AU) is composed of 55 member states representing all countries on the African continent. AU member states are divided into five geographical regions. The OAU defined these in 1976. There fore, AU recognized 55 countries in Africa.

Members of the African Union (AU): 55 countries as of (September 2018);

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

According to the United Nations (UN), 54 countries in Africa are recognized. The complete list is shown below. However, only 54 countries in Africa are members of the UN. Though the UN recognizes not all members of AU, this is the case of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic.

Members of the United Nations (UN): 54 States which include;

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

Not a member of the United Nations (UN) But recognized by AU: Western Sahara (Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic)

Why 49 countries in Africa

Some individual opined that there are only 49 countries on the African continent, including the disputed territory of Western Sahara.

However, they excluding the islands off the coast – these island nations they excluded are Cape Verde, Sao Tomé and Príncipe, Madagascar, Comoros, Seychelles, and Mauritius. But funny enough not to include them to any continent in the world or regard them as a nation. On their belief and according to their definitions, only 49 countries exist in Africa for the time being.

Territories but not recognized by both AU and UN: Swaziland, Saint Helenam (still depend on the UK), Réunion (depend on France), and Mayotte (Depend on France)

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a country is a nation with its government, occupying a particular territory, which this African country “Somaliland” does, after declaring independence from Somalia in 1991, established a government and controlled its area from its capital Hargeisa.

More than two decades after its declaration, it is treated by many nations and organizations as a country in its own right, but not recognized by its neighbors. The same is true of other territories that have a less de facto claim to nationhood.

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Not only in Africa

Although it may seem strange not to be able to say, with certainty, how many countries in Africa. The disagreement over the numbers of the states is not limited to Africa.

In Asia, there is disagreement over whether Taiwan, which broke away from China in 1949, is an independent nation or not. Concerned about threats of reprisals from Beijing, if it were to declare independence officially, it has not done so.

Looking from its capital, Taipei, it maintains its own democratically elected government and currency and runs itself independently of China; a country except for its name.

And in Europe, while most powers recognize Kosovo as an independent state, its neighbor Serbia does not consider such. So in the European continent, too, there is uncertainty about the number of countries existing there.

Conclusion

The best answer to the question: How many countries in Africa? It’s 55 countries. The 55 internationally recognized states that are members of the AU or the UN or both. Fifty-four of them belong to both the AU and UN lists. The Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic is a member of only the AU.

In addition, although there are various other territories other than they claim to independence, there is also a state of affairs, as described under the standard definitions of what makes a country, which is Somaliland. It is not, however, a recognized State.

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