Sub-Saharan Africa is argued to be the poorest part of the world in terms of demographics. The region consists of all nations that are located south of the Sahara desert, which typically includes all African nations, excluding countries in North Africa.
There are over one billion people living in Sub-Saharan Africa, with over 65% of that population living below the poverty line. The region has been pulled down by corruption, civil conflicts, communal wars, an increasing population and a low life expectancy.
Sub-saharan Africa is also the least migrated region in the world. The region’s economy stands at $1.92 trillion as of 2021, with Nigeria and South Africa claiming over 50% of the sum. Sub-Saharan Africa has a GDP per capita income of $1,645 with nine of the top ten poorest countries situated in the region. The region’s biggest economy is agriculture, which is also the regions largest employer of labour, employing over 60% of the entire population of the region. Also, Sub-Saharan Africa has strong reserves of natural resources and is the richest region on the planet in terms of mineral resources.
The region is the world’s lowest emitter of CO2 emissions having only 0.7% with South Africa being the continent’s largest emitter.
This article details all there is to know about the various countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
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List of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and population
|Central African Republic||5,633,412||Bangui|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||99,010,000||Kinshasa|
|Republic of the Congo||5,970,000||Brazzaville|
|São Tomé and Príncipe||223,364||Sao Tome|
10 Largest economies in Sub-Saharan Africa
|9.||Democratic Republic of the Congo||53,958,573.69|
Nigeria and South Africa are by far the biggest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa.
10 Smallest economies in Sub-Saharan Africa
|1.||Sao Tome and Principe||$547,092.92|
|8.||Central African Republic||$2,516,498.30|
Sao Tome and Principe have the smallest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa.
10 Richest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa
Here are the richest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa by GDP per capita
|Rank||Country||GDP per capita|
Seychelles is the richest country in Sub-Saharan Africa when you consider GDP per capita.
10 Poorest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa
Here are the poorest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa based on GDP per capita
|Rank||Countries||GDP per capita|
|4.||Central African Republic||$511.5|
|7.||Democratic Republic of the Congo||$584.1|
Burundi is the poorest country in Sub-Saharan Africa when you consider GDP per capita.
This is the Southern region of Sub-Saharan Africa consists of plateaus, islands, coastal mountains and escarpments that stretch down to the Indian ocean. The region bothers the Atlantic Ocean to its west and the Indian Ocean to its east.
Southern Africa’s climate is seasonal, ranging from arid to semiarid and from temperate to tropical. Drought is very common in this region.
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Economically the region is the most developed in the Sub-Saharan region having a strong development index of 5.0. South Africa is the region’s biggest economy and population size. The countries in the Southern Africa Sub-Sahara are:
|South Africa||Pretoria||60,604,992||English, Afrikaans, Sotho, Xhosa and Zulu|
Central Africa is the central region of Sub-Saharan Africa. Central Africa has had one of the world’s highest reserves of archaeological findings since history.
It provides evidence of human settlements that date back to over thousands of years like the iron smelting and extensive wall site that dates back to over 3000 years have been discovered in this region.
Agriculture remains the influence of the Central African economy accounting for over 70% of the country’s labour force. The Democratic Republic of Congo is the largest country in the region and also possesses the largest reserve of any other country on the continent.
Eight countries make up the Central African region, these countries are the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Congo Republic, Cameroon, São Tomé and Príncipe, Chad and Gabon.
|Central African Republic||Bangui||5,633,412||Sango, French|
|Democratic Republic of Congo||Kinshasa||13,171,000||French|
|Equatorial Guinea||Malabo||1,505,588||Spanish, Portuguese, French|
|Republic of the Congo||Brazzaville||5,970,000||French|
|São Tomé and Príncipe||Sao Tome||223,364||Portuguese|
West Africa is known for having a major migration movement known as Bantu Expansion around 2300 BCE.
Some areas are based on the Trans-Saharan trade, and some areas are also built on stone-like structures, but mainly constructed in adobe. West Africa has a significantly strong economic block not comparable to any other region on the continent, except that of East Africa. The region is made up of over 15 countries with some having strong economies and others being small nations.
The largest economy in west Africa is Nigeria, which also holds over 70% of the entire west African economy. The West African region also produces 80% of the world’s total cocoa, cassava, and yams
The Eastern region of Sub-Saharan Africa is mostly influenced by agriculture. It often is Africa’s gateway to trading with India and the Mediterranean.
Economically, the East African region has the most powerful and most united block than any other region. Ethiopia is the region’s largest economy and also the region’s most populated with over 100 million people.
The Kenyan capital is a financial powerhouse on the African continent. Ethiopia is also home to the African Union Headquarters. Nonetheless, the region is marked with strong inequalities and is home to a majority of the world’s poorest nations.
The table below contains the country, capital, population and language of the Eastern Sub-Saharan countries.
|Burundi||Bujumbura||12,574,571||Kirundi, French, English|
|Eritrea||Asmera||896,000||Tigrinya, Tigre, Saho, Kunama, Rashaida, Bilen, Afar, Beni, Amir, Nera.|
|Ethiopia||Addis Ababa||105,163,988||Oromo, Amharic, Somali, Tigrinya, Afar|
|Rwanda||Kigali||13,722,415||Kinyarwanda, English, French, Swahili|
|Seychelles||Victoria||100,447||Creole, English, French|
|Zimbabwe||Harare||15,178,979||English, Chewa, Chibarwe, Kalanga, Koisan, Nambya, Ndau, Ndebele, Shangani, Shona, Sign Language, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa|
The Sub-Saharan countries are 48 out of the 54 African countries in Africa. The region is known for a particular way of life that differs from other regions of the world, including North Africa.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Burundi is the poorest country in Sub-Saharan Africa, followed by Somalia, Mozambique, Central African Republic, and Madagascar.
Geographically, Sudan is in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is also important to note that Sudan is not a North African country as it is often mistaken. The country is located in North and East Africa.
The largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa remains Nigeria with a GDP ofover 440 billion dollars. South Africa is second with a GDP of over 400 billion dollars.