Eastern Africa is the eastern subregion of the African continent comprising two traditionally recognized regions: East Africa, made up of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda; and the Horn of Africa, made up of Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, and Ethiopia.
The region is home to the two tallest peaks on the continent, Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, and the Great Rift Valley, a deep gorge shaped by tectonic forces. East Africa is also famous for its bodies of water and boasts both Lake Victoria, the world’s second largest freshwater lake, and Lake Tanganyika the world’s second deepest lake.
East Africa has been the continent’s fastest-growing region in recent years. It is home to several of the fastest-growing economies, including Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Number of Countries in East Africa
East Africa commonly refers to Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, and Ethiopia. whereas “Eastern Africa”, a scheme of geographic regions arranged by the African Development Bank Group and the African Union, refers to 19 territories and one defacto country throughout the eastern part of Africa and they include:
Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Comoros, Malawi, Seychelles, Djibouti, Madagascar, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Somaliland (de facto country)
Countries in East Africa, their Capitals and Population
Capital: Gitega (political) Bujumbura (economic)
Population: 11.90 Million
Burundi is a landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley where the African Great Lakes region and East Africa converge. It is bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and southeast, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. The capital cities are Gitega and Bujumbura, the latter of which is the country’s largest city.
Burundi is one of the smallest countries in Africa, Burundi’s land is used mostly for subsistence agriculture and grazing.
Comoros is an independent state comprising three of the Comoro Islands in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of East Africa. It shares maritime borders with Madagascar to the east, Mozambique to the west, and the Seychelles to the northeast. The country has an estimated population of 907,000 and a land area of 1,861km2 making it the fourth smallest African nation by area. Its capital and largest city is Moroni. The country has three official languages: Comorian, French and Arabic.
Population: 1.2 million
Djibouti is a country in the Horn of Africa that’s bordered by Somalia to the south, Ethiopia to the southwest, Eritrea in the north, and the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden to the east. The country has an area of 23,200 km2. Djibouti’s economy is largely concentrated in the service sector. Commercial activities revolve around the country’s free trade policies and strategic location as a Red Sea transit point.
Population: 3.5 – 6 million
The State of Eritrea is a country in the Horn of Africa region of Eastern Africa, with its capital and largest city at Asmara. It is bordered by Ethiopia in the south, Sudan in the west, and Djibouti in the southeast. The nation has a total area of approximately 117,600 km2 making it one of the smallest country in Africa.
Capital: Addis Ababa
Population: 121 million
Ethiopia is a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa that shares borders with Eritrea to the north, Djibouti to the northeast, Somalia to the east and northeast, Kenya to the south, South Sudan to the west, and Sudan to the northwest. Ethiopia has a total area of 1,100,000 square kilometres and is home to an estimated 121 million inhabitants, making it the 12th-most populous country in the world and the 2nd-most populous country in Africa after Nigeria.
The national capital and largest city is Addis Ababa.
Population: 56 million
Kenya is a country in Eastern Africa that is bordered by South Sudan to the northwest, Ethiopia to the north, Somalia to the east, Uganda to the west, Tanzania to the south, and the Indian Ocean to the southeast. With a population of more than 50 million, Kenya is one of the most populous country in the East Africa. Kenya’s capital and largest city is Nairobi, while its oldest, currently second largest city, and first capital is the coastal city of Mombasa.
As of 2022, Kenya has one of the largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa.
Population: 29.1 million
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country in the Indian Ocean, approximately 400 kilometres off the coast of East Africa across the Mozambique Channel. At 592,800 square kilometres, Madagascar is the world’s second-largest country that consists primarily of islands, after Indonesia. Approximately 42.5 percent of the population is younger than 15 years of age, while 54.5 percent are between the ages of 15 and 64.
Population: 20.1 million
Malawi is a landlocked country in Southeastern Africa that was formerly known as Nyasaland. It is bordered by Zambia to the west, Tanzania to the north and northeast, and Mozambique to the east, south and southwest. Malawi spans over 118,484 km2 and has an estimated population of 20.1 million inhabitants (as of August 2022). Malawi’s capital (and largest city) is Lilongwe. The country is nicknamed “The Warm Heart of Africa” because of the friendliness of its people.
Capital: Port Louis
Population: 1.25 million
The Republic of Mauritius, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 kilometres off the southeast coast of the African continent, east of Madagascar. Mauritius is ranked high in terms of economic competitiveness, a friendly investment climate, good governance and a free economy. The Gross Domestic Product (PPP) was estimated at US$29.187 billion in 2018, and GDP (PPP) per capita was over US$22,909, the second highest in Africa.
Population: 32.8 million
Mozambique is a country located in Southeastern Africa. The country is separated from the Comoros, Mayotte and Madagascar by the Mozambique Channel to the east. The capital and largest city of Mozambique is Maputo. Malawi spans over 801,590 km2 and has an estimated population of 32.8 million inhabitants (as of August 2022).
Mozambique was ruled by Portugal, and they share a main language (Portuguese) and main religion (Roman Catholicism).
Population: 13.6 million
Rwanda is a landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley of Central Africa, where the African Great Lakes region and Southeast Africa converge. Located a few degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Rwanda has a population of over 12.6 million living on 26,338 km2 of land, and is the most densely populated mainland African country. The country also has one of the youngest populations in the world.
Seychelles is an archipelagic island country consisting of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean at the eastern edge of the Somali Sea. Its capital and largest city is Victoria. It is the least populated sovereign African country, with an estimated 2022 population of 107,100.
Today, Seychelles boasts the highest nominal per capita GDP of any African nation. It has the second-highest Human Development Index of any African country after Mauritius. It is one of only two African countries classified as a high-income economy by the World Bank (the other being Mauritius).
Population: 16.8 million
Somalia is a country in the Horn of Africa that’s bordered by Ethiopia to the west, Djibouti to the northwest, the Gulf of Aden to the north, the Indian Ocean to the east, and Kenya to the southwest. Somalia has an estimated population of around 16.8 million, of which over 2 million live in the capital and largest city Mogadishu. Agriculture is the most important economic sector of Somalia. It accounts for about 65% of the GDP and employs over 50% of the workforce.
Population: 11.4 million
South Sudan is a landlocked country that’s bordered by Ethiopia, Sudan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Kenya. Its population was estimated at 11.4 million inhabitants in 2022. Juba is the capital and largest city.
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011, making it the youngest country in Africa.
Population: 45.7 million
Sudan is a country in Northeast Africa. It shares borders with the Central African Republic to the southwest, Chad to the west, Egypt to the north, Eritrea to the northeast, Ethiopia to the southeast, Libya to the northwest, South Sudan to the south and the Red Sea. It has a population of over 45.70 million people as of 2022 and occupies a land area of 1,886,068 square kilometres, making it Africa’s third-largest country by area. Its capital is Khartoum.
Population: 63.2 million
Tanzania is a country in East Africa within the African Great Lakes region. At 947,303 square kilometres Tanzania is the second largest country in East Africa and the 31st largest in the world, ranked between the larger Egypt and smaller Nigeria. It borders Kenya and Uganda to the north; Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west; and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south.
The country is the site of Africa’s highest and lowest points: Mount Kilimanjaro, at 19,341 ft above sea level, and the floor of Lake Tanganyika, at 4,826 ft below sea level, respectively.
Population: 48.9 million
Uganda is another landlocked country in East Africa that’s bordered to the East by Kenya, to the North by South Sudan, to the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the south-west by Rwanda, and to the south by Tanzania. Uganda has a population of over 48 million, of which around 8.5 million live in the capital and largest city of Kampala. The Southern part of Uganda includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, shared with Kenya and Tanzania.
Population: 19.2 million
Zambia is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central, Southern and East Africa, and also is typically referred to as being in South-Central Africa. The capital city of Zambia is Lusaka, located in the south-central part of Zambia. The country has an estimated population of 19.2 million many of whom are concentrated around the capital city of Lusaka.
Population: 15.1 million
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in Southeast Africa. The country is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the south-west, Zambia to the north, and Mozambique to the east. The capital and largest city is Harare. Victoria Falls, one of the world’s largest and most spectacular waterfalls, is located in the country’s extreme northwest and is part of the Zambezi river.
De facto state
Population: 5 million
Somaliland is a de facto state in the Horn of Africa, considered internationally to be part of Somalia. Somaliland lies in the Horn of Africa, on the southern coast of the Gulf of Aden. Its claimed territory has an area of 176,120 square kilometres, with approximately 5 million residents as of 2022. The capital and largest city is Hargeisa.
The government of Somaliland regards itself as the successor state to British Somaliland, which, as the briefly independent State of Somaliland, united in 1960 with the Trust Territory of Somaliland (the former Italian Somaliland) to form the Somali Republic.
|Burundi||Gitega (political) Bujumbura (economic)||11.90 Million|
|Eritrea||Asmara||3.5 – 6 million|
|Ethiopia||Addis Ababa||121 Million|
|Mauritius||Port Louis||1.25 Million|
|South Sudan||Juba||11.4 million|