5 things you may not know about Africa

5 things you may not know about Africa

Last year’s Ebola outbreak provided media outlets an opportunity to report on Africa in a fair and considerate way. Unfortunately, the media did not seize this opportunity and instead distorted Africa’s image.


To work against such misunderstandings requires taking small steps. The list below entails some facts about five African countries, which are included in AnswersAfrica’s list of the top five most technologically advanced countries in Africa.


1. Nobel Peace Prize winners Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu hail from the same street in South Africa — Vilakazi in Soweto. Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk were awarded the prize in 1993 “for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundation for a new democratic South Africa.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu was also awarded the prize for a firm opposition to the country’s apartheid regime.


Sidewalk shot of Vilakazi in Soweto

Soweto’s Vilakazi street is home to two South African Nobel Peace Prize winners. (commondatastorage.googleapis.com)

2. Egypt, the largest Arab country, was inspired to embrace the Arab Spring by Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation, which served to protest corruption within the police force in Tunisia. The protests began in early 2011 and resulted in the country’s first democratically elected president, Mogamed Morsi, though he was removed from power two years later. Technology largely shaped the way that the protests worked, and Egypt’s efforts changed the way we discuss surveillance and the relationship of the Internet to governments.


3. With over 160 million inhabitants, Nigeria in West Africa is the continent’s most heavily populated country. With over 250 different ethnic groups and the planet’s largest variety of butterflies, Nigeria is diverse in more ways than one. Much of their economy is supported by crude oil and petroleum exports — in fact, petroleum accounts for over 85 percent of Nigeria’s entire revenue.


4. Kenya’s economy has been emerging in recent years as a breeding ground for technological startups and increasing investments in the IT sector. This has reshaped the nation’s socio-economic dynamics and renewed its sense of innovation. Among the recent innovations developed in Kenya include a solar-powered refrigerator and a drone that can fly for two hours in a single trip.


5. Ghana was the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence and stands today as a constitutional democracy. The Global Peace Index recently released a report that named Ghana as Africa’s most peaceful country. Like Kenya, Ghana has also experienced recent growth in the technology sector. The country’s economy is predicted to double by 2019.


What do you think can be done to overcome the misunderstanding and under representation of the African continent? Share your responses below or on Twitter @ryanlawlessness.

Ryan Lawless

Ryan Lawless is an undergraduate student at Fordham University. He studies English and Spanish as majors, and philosophy as a minor. He won the Margaret Lamb Writing to the Right-Hand Margin award for creative fictional writing, and has been published in Fordham's literary magazine The Ampersand, and its newspaper, The Observer. Ryan grew up in New York, but is also an Irish citizen. He enjoys fiddles, coffee, and music.

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