Facts about Sub Saharan Africa.

African enterprise

Photo: IDRC, Brendan Baker, Sénégal. This innovative solution, developed on the workshop floor, recycles discarded plastic buckets by cutting them up, melting them down and moulding them into new pistons. The pistons are replacement parts for hand-driven rope pumps that provide local residents with clean water for drinking and irrigation.

The World Bank has published a list of statistics on Sub Saharan Africa. Here are some of them (numbered as per WB website);

1. The country with the highest GNI per capita for 2003 in Africa is Seychelles ($7,350). It is followed by Mauritius ($4,100), Botswana ($3,530), Gabon ($3,400), and South Africa ($2,920).

2. The country with the largest population is Nigeria, with 136.5 million people. It is followed by Ethiopia, with 68.6 million people, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, with 53.2 million.

5. The country with the greatest land area is Sudan, 2.37 million sq. km. The second largest is the Democratic Republic of Congo, with an area of 2.26 million sq. km.

6. The countries with the highest life expectancy are the Seychelles and Mauritius, 73 years (2003).

7. The country with the lowest total life expectancy, 36 years (2003), is Zambia, followed by Lesotho and Sierra Leone with 37 years.

8. The country that has made the greatest gains in life expectancy in the past decade is Somalia – from 42 (1990) to 47 (2003) years. This is followed by Sudan from 52 (1990) to 59 (2003).

9. The countries with the greatest reduction in life expectancy over the past decade in SSA are Lesotho (-20 years), Botswana (-19 years), and Zimbabwe (-18 years).

12. Nearly half the population of Uganda (49.8) and Niger (48.9) are under 14 years old (2002).

13. The country with the highest fertility rate is Niger, 7.1 (2003).

14. The country with the lowest fertility rate is Mauritius, 2 (2003).

15. During the past two decades fertility rates have dropped in every African country.

23. The country with the highest adult literacy is Zimbabwe (90 percent).

24. The country with the lowest adult literacy is Niger (17 percent).

25. The country with the lowest female literacy rate is Niger at 9 percent.

26. The country with the highest female literacy rate is Zimbabwe at 86 percent.

34. The country with the highest rate of child labor (as percentage of population age 10-14) is Mali, at 49.8 percent. The lowest is found in South Africa, with zero.

37. In 81 percent of SSA countries, there are more mobile phones per 1,000 people than mainlines per 1,000 people.

38. The country using the most electric power per person is South Africa (3,860.1 kwh per capita).

39. The country using the least electric power per person is Ethiopia (25.3 kwh. per capita).

40. The country with the most urbanized population is Djibouti, at 84.6 percent.

41. The country with the least urbanized population is Rwanda, at 6.6 percent.

Click here for the complete list.

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14 Responses to Facts about Sub Saharan Africa.

  1. neath says:

    Nigeria, pop.136.5 million people, 17% adult literacy rate. That is horrible. Thanks for opening my eyes!


  2. matt says:

    Happy to have opened your eyes Neath. That’s what blogging is all about.


  3. earthpal says:

    Zambia’s life expectancy figures are sad to see. Those figures would be a direct result of the HIV/Aids crisis, I guess? Their Literacy figures will also feel an impact as would the economy of course. The Aids crisis really is crippling on so many levels.

    Yes, the list is quite an eye opener.

  4. matt says:

    There are a number of major trends holding many countries back;

    1. Dictatorship
    2. Corruption
    3. Lack of infrastructure investment & maintenance
    4. Emmigration of key workers (eg. nurses & doctors)
    5. Aids, malaria & malnutrition
    6. Desertification
    7. Civil war
    8. Squandering of mineral wealth by warlords & western companies
    9. Poor IMF/World Bank policies, especially from past decades

    Enough to poison anyone’s soul really.

  5. Pete Smith says:

    I hate to tell you this Matt, but the data in the list you published is now out of date. If you follow this link you get to a World Bank page called “Statistics in Africa: 50 Factoids about Sub-Saharan Africa” which is hot off the press, last night there were only 49 items!
    I thought it was a bit odd that a lot of the stats on your list didn’t match the latest World Bank figures. I wish they’d provide proper references!

  6. Pete Smith says:

    “Nigeria, pop.136.5 million people, 17% adult literacy rate.”

    Actually it was Niger with the 17% adult literacy, not Nigeria. The prize for lowest adult literacy now goes to Mali with 19%.

  7. matt says:

    I did see that link you mention. However, it looks like my link feeds off the other link you mention, if you look at the site. The trends causing the deprivation (as per my 9 points above) are the same which ever list you choose Pete, which is what we’re meant to be discussing.

  8. Pete Smith says:

    Sorry, I didn’t know we were MEANT to be discussing anything in particular. The original post is just a list, I was simply pointing out that the figures you quoted have been superceded. I agree with your nine points, but they are really independent of the ‘best and worst’ statistics, aren’t they? In fact, if you genuinely want to discuss trends, you need at least two sets of figures, which is why it’s so handy the World Bank has updated its “Factoids”. Even handier if they gave chapter and verse on where the figures come from. For instance, why has Zimbabwe gone from class leader on literacy to an also-ran? Perhaps because they didn’t publish any figures in the latest round of data gathering. Which leads me to wonder how reliable and consistent these statistics are anyway.

  9. matt says:

    Yes, it will be difficult to gather such statistics from countries that have very little organised structure. Guess one would have to delve deeper into that part of the WB website to find out how they gather their stats.

    Yes, I doubt current stats are available from Zimbabwe. News reports, although not about stats, indicate a country plunging into the abyss thanks to an old man of 82/3. Ok to intervene in Iraq apparently but not Zimbabwe.

  10. Pete Smith says:

    I spent a while in Zimbabwe in the mid-80s. It was a beautiful country with no shortage of confidence, optimism and tolerance. Mugabe was just starting to go off the rails then. I’d really like to go back, but I’m not brave enough. And of course I can’t possibly justify the emissions from the flight.

  11. matt says:

    Wow! You kept that one quiet Pete. It’s appalling what has been done to the people of Zimbabwe. Were you there on business or pleasure?

  12. keithsc says:

    It’s striking that fertility rates are declining in all the countries – even those with declining life expectations. Why is the Seychelles so comparatively wealthy? Is that to do with tourism?

  13. matt says:

    Yes, for me the declining fertility rates across the whole of sub saharan Africa was the unexpected statistic.

    I would say that tourism does it for the Seychelles and possibly fisheries. In fact https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/print/se.html confirms this. Main fishing is for tuna. Aids btw is non-existent.

    Maybe the Coffee House should do their first overseas report in the Seychelles (plant a fair few trees). 🙂

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