Africa Day formerly known as African Freedom Day is the annual commemoration of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity on 25 May 1963.
The day is celebrated in various countries on the African continent, as well as around the world. Although the organisation was transformed into the African Union on 9 July 2002 in Durban, South Africa, the holiday continues to be celebrated on 25 May.
Africa Day continues to be celebrated both in Africa and around the world, themes are set for each year’s Africa Day.
This year’s theme for Africa Day “Silencing the Guns in the context of the COVID19” corresponds with the African Union theme of the year – ‘Silencing the Guns: creating conducive conditions for Africa’s development’.
The celebration of Africa Day provides an opportunity to promote African unity, deeper regional integration and recommit Africa to a common destiny.
This year’s celebration is also an opportunity to educate the people of the continent on the African Union’s initiatives to fight the pandemic.
Below are some interesting Facts about Africa to commemorate the Africa day celebration.
Africa Day: Interesting Facts About Africa
- There are 54 countries and one “non-self governing territory”, the Western Sahara, in Africa.
- All of Africa was colonized by foreign powers during the “scramble for Africa”, except Ethiopia and Liberia.
- Before colonial rule Africa comprised up to 10,000 different states and autonomous groups with distinct languages and customs.
- One of the oldest universities in the world is in Timbuktu, Mali. By the 12th century Timbuktu was home to three universities. Over 25,000 students attended one of the Timbuktu universities in the 12th century.
- The Fish River Canyon in Namibia is the second largest canyon in the world.
- The Pharaonic civilization of ancient Egypt is one of the world’s oldest and longest-lasting civilizations.
- African continent is the world’s oldest populated area.
- Arabic is spoken by over 170 million people on the continent, followed in popularity by English (130 million), Swahili (100), French (115), Berber (50), Hausa (50), Portuguese (20) and Spanish (10).
- Hundreds of fossilized human footprints made between 5,760 and 19,100 years ago have been discovered in Tanzania. This represents the largest collection of fossilized footprints found in Africa to date.
- Over 25% all languages are spoken only in Africa with over 2,000 recognised languages spoken on the continent.
- Africa is the second most populous continent with about 1.1 billion people or 16% of the world’s population. Over 50% of Africans are under the age of 25.
- Most of the fastest runners in the world come from a single tribe in Kenya known as the “Kalenjins”
- The continent’s population will more than double to 2.3 billion people by 2050.
- With 200 million people aged between 15 and 24 (the youth bracket), Africa has the youngest population in the world.
- Dallol Pools in Ethiopia is the Only Place on Earth Where No Life Can Exist.
- Africa is the world’s second largest continent covering about over 30 million square kilometers
- The Sahara is the largest desert in the world and is bigger than the continental USA.
- Africa has the highest number of female entrepreneurs in the world
- Africa is the world’s hottest continent with deserts and drylands covering 60% of land surface area (e.g. Kalahari, Sahara and Namib).
- Africa is the world’s second driest continent (after Australia).
- Africa has approximately 30% of the earth’s remaining mineral resources.
- The continent has the largest reserves of precious metals with over 40% of the gold reserves, over 60% of the cobalt, and 90% of the platinum reserves.
- Over 1,270 large dams have been built along the continent’s many rivers.
- Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the second-largest freshwater lake in the world.
- Africa has the most extensive biomass burning in the world, yet only emits about 4% of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions.
- Africa has eight of the 11 major biomes and the largest-remaining populations of lion, elephant, rhinoceros, cheetah, hyena, leopard and hundreds of other species.
- Megafauna like giraffe, zebra, gorilla, hippopotamus, chimpanzee and wildebeest are unique to the continent and only found here.
- Lake Malawi has more fish species than any other freshwater system on earth.
- The Nile River is the longest river in the world with a total length of 6,650 kilometres.
- Africa has over 85% of the world’s elephants and over 99% of the remaining lions are on the African continent.
- Eight of Conservation International’s 34 biodiversity hotspots are in Africa.
- The Serengeti (Tanzania) hosts the world’s largest wildlife migration on Earth with over 750,000 zebra marching ahead of 1.2 million wildebeest as they cross this amazing landscape.
- There are over 3,000 protected areas in Africa, including 198 Marine Protected Areas, 50 Biosphere Reserves, 129 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and 80 RAMSAR “Wetlands of International Importance”.
- Africa is home to the world’s largest living land animal, the African elephant, which can weigh up to 7 tons.
- Africa has over 25% of the world’s bird species.