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Interesting facts about Africa in 2014

Jun 25, 2014, 10:04 AM

As African Union leaders meet this week for another summit meeting, and with all the talk about “Africa Rising” and hype about the high growth rates scored by countries in Africa compared to the rest of the world, a just-released document about Africa provided very interesting information.

We believe our readers should have the following facts and figures, to update their knowledge about Africa:

Africa is one continental union with 8 RECs (so-called Regional Economic Communities such as ECOWAS – the Economic Community of West African States).

Trucks have to negotiate 47 roadblocks between Kigali capital of Rwanda and Mombasa in Kenya.

28 countries belong to 3 or more regional communities or groupings.

Only COMESA and EAC (East African Community) have established regional customs unions.

The distance between Casablanca in Morocco and Johannesburg in South Africa is almost 10 times the distancebetween Paris capital of France and Berlin capital of Germany.

The 8 RECs have GDPs ranging from $98 billion to $974 billion.

In COMESA, the most populous country is 993 times larger than the leastpopulous country.

Only 5 out of the 54 African countries offer visa-free access or visas on arrival to other African citizens.

Total intra-African trade amounts to only 11.3% of Africa’s total trade with the world.

Non-African airlines account for 80% of the intra-continental market share.

Informal cross-border trade is estimated at 43% of Africa’s official GDP.

The GDP of the richest African REC, CEN-SAD, only amounts to ½ of Russia’s GDP.

It took 35 years to transform the European Economic Community into the EU.

Informal trade between Algeria and Morocco is estimated at $2 billion.

The average cost of exporting a container overseas from Africa is twice ashigh than if exporting from Asia.

The population of the smallest African REC, AMU (Arab Maghreb Union on north Africa), only amounts to½ of the population of Brazil.

14 African countries have a common currency, the CFA franc.

The distance between Lagos in Nigeria and Nairobi capital of Kenya is more than 10 times the distancebetween London the UK capital and Brussels capital of Belgium.

The EPAs (economic partnership agreements) exclude North African members of AMU.

The 2014 EU budget is around 520 times larger than the AU’s (that is, that of the African Union budget).

“I dream of the realization of the unity of Africa, whereby its leaders combine in their efforts to solve the problems of this continent. I dream of our vast deserts, of our forests, of all our great wildernesses.”

Nelson Mandela