9 Interesting Facts About Sub Saharan Africa

Sub Saharan Africa Facts

The sub-Saharan Africa region is a diverse group of countries that have been affected by colonization, slavery and civil wars. From the fertile green lands of Ethiopia to the dry desert plains in Somalia, sub Saharan Africa has many secrets to share with those who are willing to listen. Here are nine interesting facts about sub Saharan African countries.

1. Sub Saharan Africa is home to 54 sovereign states

A bird flying in the sky

Sub Saharan Africa is home to 54 sovereign states. These countries are a diverse mix of cultures, languages and religions. The subcontinent is a vast area with many different climates, from the tropics of the south to the arid deserts in the north. It also contains one third of all fertile land on earth – which has been used for centuries as grazing land for cattle or as farmland by farmers who grow maize, groundnuts and other crops. In recent years sub Saharan Africa has become known as a country that needs help because it’s plagued by poverty and hunger despite its natural abundance. However there have also been some pretty amazing things happening in sub Saharan Africa, including inventions like the mobile phone and advances in education thanks to investment from countries like China. We bet you didn’t know there were this many sub Saharan African countries!

2. Sub Saharan Africa has a population of over 1.1 billion

A pile of wood

It is the second most populous region in the world, with about 1.1 billion people, and by far the poorest place on earth according to average income per person (US $2,500). The sub-region’s share of global GDP falls below 2%. It is also one of sub-Saharan Africa’s least developed regions, as measured by life expectancy which averages 52 years for men and 54 years for women.

The sub-region includes some 30 countries spread across North Africa to Southern Africa. They are all marked by extreme poverty levels that have made it difficult to eradicate diseases such as malaria or HIV/AIDS or provide education for children. Sub Saharan Africa is defined as sub-Saharan African countries plus the island nation of Madagascar off the southeastern coast of Africa, located 400 kilometers east of Mozambique.

3. The sub-Saharan region has seen a steady growth in its population

In sub Saharan Africa, the population has been steadily growing. This is a result of improved healthcare and agricultural development in the region.

In sub-Saharan Africa, there has been a steady growth in its population for many reasons. One reason being that their population saw an increase because of better medical care and more food to feed themselves with from agricultural developments. The sub-Saharan region had a slow start but now they have seen an increase in their population due to these two factors improving over time. With this increased growth rate it should be expected that sub-Saharan Africa will soon surpass other regions as one of the most populated areas on Earth by 2050.

4. HIV/AIDS is a major health concern in sub Saharan Africa.

HIV/AIDS is a major health concern in sub Saharan Africa.

This disease is transmitted via unprotected sex, dirty needles and mother to child transmission. It has caused devastation in sub Saharan African populations that are already struggling with poverty, malnutrition and violence. HIV has taken many lives as well as the economic potential of sub Saharan Africans. The epidemic also continues to be a challenge for sub Saharan Africa’s healthcare systems which are not equipped to handle such an overwhelming problem on their own. However, sub saharans have banded together in prevention efforts to reduce the rate of HIV infection rates among adults and children by 50%. These efforts include promoting safe sexual practices, using clean needles when injecting drugs or taking medicine, breastfeeding babies and the use of condoms.

Sub Saharan Africa experiences much higher rates of HIV than anywhere else in the world. However, sub Saharan Africans are challenging the epidemic by taking steps to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS through awareness campaigns, counseling services and educational programs.

As many as 1 in every 25 sub-Saharans is currently living with HIV/AIDS (WHO).

5. Smoking rates are high in sub-Saharan Africa

The sub Saharan Africa region has one of the highest smoking rates in the world.

The sub Saharan African population smokes about 2-3 times more than their counterparts in Europe and North America do, with close to 40% of adults having smoked at some point in their lives. This is not only because it’s a social activity that people partake in together, but also because it provides relief from stress. Additionally, there are many sub Saharan Africans who believe that tobacco can offer protection against evil spirits or bad luck. Some sub Saharan Africans have even gone so far as to say they rely on cigarettes for good luck, since they believe it will bring them money or success or love–whatever they want most at the time. In sub Saharan Africa, smoking is reported to be less of a habit and more of a crutch.

6. Alcohol consumption rates are high in sub-Saharan Africa

Alcohol consumption rates are high in sub-Saharan Africa. It is estimated that sub saharan african people consume about 5 liters of alcohol per person, per year. Alcohol consumption varies among sub Saharan African countries with the highest being found in Ghana and Nigeria where they consume an average of 12 liters of alcohol per person, per year. The lowest levels are seen in Mali and Niger where they drink less than 1 liter each. There are many factors which contribute to the high levels of alcohol consumption in sub Saharan Africans including poverty, unemployment, lack of recreational activities for youth, availability and affordability as well as cultural acceptance due to its traditional use by some ethnic groups such as Swahili speaking coastal populations who have a long history of brewing their own alcoholic drinks.

7. Sub Saharan Africa is the poorest subcontinent in the world

Sub Saharan Africa is the poorest subcontinent in the world. The region is home to over 1 billion people and nearly one-third of them live in extreme poverty, earning less than $1.25 a day. Despite this, Sub Saharan Africa’s population will double by 2050 and it will be among the most populous regions on Earth. Based on United Nations’ projections, Sub Saharan Africa will account for more than half of global population growth between now and 2050. What can we do to help?

The UN has put forth some solutions: invest in education; reduce fertility rates; promote economic development; improve infrastructure; make health care universally available; foster peace and reconciliation across sub-Saharan nations that have been at war with each other; and reduce trade barriers, especially among sub-Saharan nations.

8. South Africa is sub Saharan Africa’s largest economy and the biggest sub-Saharan exporter of coal

South Africa is sub Saharan Africa’s largest economy and the biggest sub-Saharan exporter of coal. It has a GDP (PPP) of $344,140 per capita and an unemployment rate of 25%. The country ranks as one of the most developed in sub Saharan Africa by UNDP. South Africa was ranked first on the World Bank’s ease of doing business index for sub-Saharan African countries in 2018, but it also had a score below 50 on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index from 2012 to 2016. South Africa is home to more than 2 million millionaires out of a population of just over 55 million people. In 2017, about 40% were living under the poverty line which amounted to approximately 842,000 people living in extreme poverty.

9. In sub Saharan Africa, women earn 27% less than men

Women earn 27% less than men in sub Saharan Africa.

In sub Saharan Africa, women earn 27% less than men. This is a huge disparity and it’s even worse when you consider that most of the money is earned by those with more education (men). Women who work as farmers or sell goods at markets make up an average of 70%. The problem starts early on; girls are often married off as children and they’re not allowed to go to school. If they do attend, there is a lack of female teachers and higher tuition rates for girls which discourage them from continuing their education. It’s hard enough for adults to find jobs, but for kids it’s nearly impossible because many employers refuse to hire under-18’s. Between the combination of these factors, sub Saharan Africa has one of the lowest rates of women in any paid work.


Sub Saharan Africa is a region that has been historically marginalized and disenfranchised. It contains some of the poorest countries in the world, such as Eritrea which ranks 182 out of 187 on the UNDP Human Development Index. Despite this sub Saharan Africa also boasts many successes including Mali’s former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta who was elected with 86% of votes casted in 2013, making him one of only two democratically-elected leaders to serve their full term since 1960. The sub Saharan African population is booming at an estimated rate 1.7%. With so much success happening despite these conditions it shows just how resilient these people are. If you’re interested in learning more about sub saharan africa or want to get involved feel free to contact us.

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