While listening to NPR‘s “Talk of the Nation,” I was reminded how small the world is becoming. Just yesterday, according to the U.S. State Department there were 193 countries, the U.N. reported 192 and now I’m hearing we’re down to 139 recognized countries. What happened to those 43 countries? Where did they go? Oh, wait, they’re still here…they’re just in Africa.
Does anyone else find it strange 99.5% of Americans call any country in the African Continent, Africa? On the show a lady called in to rave about her recent education vacation on a university sailboat, that, as it turns out made port in Africa. They then helped build a school in Africa, and see “the” culture of Africa. The African continent has 54 sovereign nations, colors ranging from dark black to bright white, hundreds of unique cultures, and thousands of languages and dialects. Grouping these 54 countries into one is akin to grouping North and South America, Europe, and the Middle East. It would be like me saying, “oh, I just got back from Norsamereuromiddast…it was great! The people are so nice, and the culture so interesting.” And it’s not just little kids, the uneducated, or leaders of the African Union, it’s college students, professors and educators, NGO employees, government officials, movie stars, and old ladies who call radio talk shows.
The following is a list of all 54 distinct African nations with links (the ones I could find) to their official websites listed alphabetically. Let’s all aim for a little more specificity when referring to “Africa,” if not by nation then at least by region. Few African countries share the same cultures, landscapes, environmental and health issues, government styles, or even physical appearance so it makes little sense grouping them all into one. With a little practice and patience we can help redefine how the world views Africa and its many nations.
Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Rep, Chad, Congo, Dem. Rep. Congo (Zaire), Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Reunion, Rwanda , São Tomé and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zanzibar, Zimbabwe
(If you know of an official country link not listed please leave it in a comment and I will update it.)