Monday, 2 November 2009

Things you might not know about Africa

The africapractice team had emails flying round in response to the question: What do people not know about Africa?

There are plenty of preconceptions and misconceptions about the continent, but here are a few of the facts and figures that came up last week:

• Seven countries in Africa account for more than fifty per cent of the population (Nigeria, Ethiopia, DRC, SA, Tanzania, Kenya, Sudan)
• Africa holds about 10% of the world's proven oil reserves
• There are up to 100 million members of the African Diaspora
• The longest cable car in the world is in Nigeria
• South Africa sold $1.8 billion worth of cars to the US last year, putting us ahead of Sweden and Italy as suppliers to the US market
• Africa is most affected by climate change but only produces 3% of global emissions
• Approximately half the population of Africa is under the age of 18
• Kenya is one of only five countries in the world that generates more than 15% of their electricity from geothermal sources
• Africa is the fastest growing telecoms market in the world
• Nigeria has a population the sum of the thirty one smallest countries in Africa
• Only 4% of Africa's hydropower potential is utilised currently
• Rwanda is ranked first by the Inter-Parliamentary Union in terms of the percentage of female politicians in its lower chamber, with 56.3 percent.
• The largest cement plant in the world is being built in Nigeria
• South Africa is the first, and to date only, country to build nuclear weapons and then voluntarily dismantle its entire nuclear weapons programme
• Almost 50% of all African immigrants in the United States hold a college diploma
• In the mid 1990s, there were more phones in New York City than the whole of Africa. But if the growth curve in mobile devices in Africa continues, it is likely to surpass the United States in number of mobile consumers
• The city of Pretoria, in South Africa, has the second largest number of embassies in the world after Washington, D.C.

A list of facts won't change people's image of Africa in one go, but it's all part of a far richer picture then a lot of people realise exists.

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