Interesting Facts You should Know about Africa:Vol 2
- Did you know that the Republic of Cameroon got its name from the Portuguese word ‘camaroes’ which literally means prawns? The name apparently was used by Portuguese explorers who were the first foreigners to arrive the Cameroon coast on their way to Asia in the 15th century.
- In 1884, Cameroon became a German protectorate but Germany lost Cameroon during World War 1 (1914-18) this led to the country dividing into two parts, one ruled by Britain and the other by France.
- Paul Biya, the current President of Cameroon has been in power for 22 years since 1993 but his 2004 election he won was marred by widespread fraud as alleged by opposition parties which Commonwealth observers accepted the result otherwise.
- Cameroon is one of the few Africa regions that have active Volcanoes. On 21 August 1986, a volcano that occurred on Mount Cameroon (the highest point in the country) created a crater lake called Lake Nyos which belched carbon dioxide and killed between 1,700 and 2,000 people. As a result the area has been delineated by the World Wildlife Fund as the Cameroonian Highlands forests eco-region.
- If you are invited to a Cameroonian’s home, it would be nice to bring fruit, whiskey, or wine to the host and believe in good table manners and behave respectfully and cordially.
- The famous dance Makossa which became very popular dance in Africa in the early 2000’s originated from Cameroon. The country is well known for its native styles of music including bikutsi.
- In Cameroon, the quality of healthcare is generally low as there is only one doctor for every 5,000 people, according to the World Health Organization and Life expectancy at birth is estimated to be 54.71 years in 2012, among the lowest in the world.
Central African Republic
- Did you know that 6% of the lands in Central African Republic (CAR) is protected in national parks and reserves because the country has many forest and savannah animals, such as buffalos, leopards, lions and elephants?
- CAR as she is popularly known, landlocked and located in the Central Africa is the world’s 45th largest country at 622,941 square kilometers (240,519 sq mi) as it is comparable in size to Ukraine. It has been estimated that up to 8% of the country is covered by forest, with the densest parts generally located in the southern regions.
- Despite its significant mineral deposits and other resources, such as uranium reserves, crude oil, gold, diamonds, lumber and hydropower as well as significant quantities of arable land, the Central African Republic is among the ten poorest countries in the world. The country was ranked 185th out of 187 countries according to the 2013 statistics by Human Development Index (HDI).
- The Central African As at 2008, CAR was the world's least light pollution affected country and is the focal point of the Bangui Magnetic Anomaly, one of the largest magnetic anomalies on Earth.
- Sangho which is a creole developed as an inter-ethnic lingua franca based on the local Ngbandi language, is also one of the official languages (together with French) making CAR to be one of the few African countries to have an African language as their official language.
- In the Central African Republic, Public education is free and compulsory for ages 6 to 14 years but ironically approximately half of the adult populations of the country are illiterate.
- As of 2010, the country had the 4th highest maternal mortality rate in the world, as the total fertility rate in 2014 stood at 4.46 children born per woman. Many births in the country are guided by traditional birth attendants, who often have little or no formal training and as a result about 25% of women had undergone female genital mutilation.
Do you think Africa has lots of untapped potentials?
The country was named after the famous Lake Chad, which are the largest waterbody in Chad and the second-largest in Africa.
Chad is located in north central Africa and is the 21st largest country in the world with 1,284,000 square kilometers (496,000 sq mi)
For more than 2,000 years, the Chadian Basin was first and majorly inhabited by agricultural and sedentary people, and the earliest of these were the legendary Sao, known for artifacts and oral histories.
In Chad, there were at least 134 species of mammals, 509 species of birds (354 species of residents and 155 migrants), and over 1,600 species of plants since 2002. Today, the small group of surviving West African Crocodiles in the Ennedi Plateau represents one of the last colonies known in the Sahara.
- It is recorded that in 2003, over 230,000 refugees from the neighbouring war-troubled Darfur in Sudan fled to eastern Chad and a as result over 172,600 Chadians was displaced by the war.
- The United Nations’ Human Development Index (HDI) ranks Chad as the seventh poorest country in the world, with 80% of the population living below the poverty line and the country’s GDP estimated as US $1,651 in 2009.
- Food in Chad in unique and diverse, Carcaje is a popular sweet red tea extracted from hibiscus leaves. Alcoholic beverages are mostly made from millet but are absent in the Muslim dominated north due to religion. Alcohol is popular in the south, where people drink local beer made from millet, known as billi-billi when brewed from red millet, and as coshate when fro white millet.
- In Chad only 14,000 fixed telephones lines serves about 15 million total population of the country, one of the lowest telephone density rates in the world.
- Brazzaville is the capital and largest city of Congo located at River Congo was founded in 1880 and became capital in 1910, it was used as a base for Free French Forces in World War II.
- The Loango and Bakongo kingdoms were the first to settle in Congo before the Portuguese arrived its coast in the 15th century and made the area a trading region, the main commodities being slaves and ivory.
- The River Congo (formerly the River Zaire) extending to central and West Africa, is the second longest river in Africa and its rate of flow and size of drainage basin makes it Africa’s largest untapped source of hydroelectric power.
Since they got independence in 1960, Congo under President pledged allegiance to Russia and China and adopted Marxism-Leninism as the state ideology
The current president of Congo, Denis Sassou Nguesso has played both a positive and negative role in his 26 years as the president of the country from 1979-1992 and then again from 2002-2015.
Public education is theoretically free and mandatory for under-16-year-olds but in practice, expenses exist and so education between ages of six and sixteen are compulsory and free.
- Officially called Democratic Republic of Congo, it is the third largest country in Africa with the size at 2,344,858 sq km (905,350 sq mi) and vast part of the country is dominated by the River Congo.
- The great Bantu kingdom settled and emerged from the 14th century before a Portuguese navigator became the first European to arrive the coast of River Congo in 1482 which led to slave and ivory trading.
- The World Bank classifies DR Congo as a low-income developing country even though she is the world’s leading producer of cobalt and the second largest producer of diamond.
- DR Congo is notorious as a War Zone country in Africa and perhaps in the whole world as it has witnessed two bloody civil wars in 1964 and also in 1998. The Civil War of 1998 which was fought between the government of Congo and Tutsi-dominated Congolese Rally for Democracy ( RCD) claimed more than 2.5 million lives which infamously included the assassination of her president, Joseph Kabila in 2001.
- Kinshasa which is the capital of DR Congo is separated by just a bridge from Brazzaville the capital of Congo making them the world’s closest capitals of two different nations, except of course for Vatican City and Rome.
- Before being called the Democratic Republic of Congo, it was formerly known as Belgian Congo, Congo-Kinshasa, Congo Free State, Congo-Leopoldville, and Zaire. But since the country received its independence from Belgium on June 30, 1960, so the date of June 30 every year is decided as the “Independence Day” of it.
- The Republic of Djibouti is the third smallest country in Africa located on the north-eastern part of Africa, which is after Swaziland (second smallest) and Gambia (smallest).
- The country is home to the lowest point on the African continent called Lake Assal, at 155m (509 ft) below sea level, the third lowest in the world, after the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea, both found in Israel.
- The Lake Assal is very unique as it is called the saltiest lake outside of Antarctica, even saltier than the famous Dead Sea, and the only way water goes out of the lake is through evaporation after which salt left behind is extracted for personal use and commercial trade by people living nearby.
- Nearly 90% of the land in the country is semi-desert and thus the shortage of pasture and water makes farming very difficult.
- Taxi fares in Djibouti increase 50% after sunset and Christmas in the country is celebrated on January 7 not on December 25 simply because it is the practice of the dominant Orthodox Christian churches.
- Qat, a medicinal plant with mild narcotic properties is widely the favourite plant eaten in most homes of Djibouti and it is done by chewing but is banned in many European countries (but – as of 2011 – not in the United Kingdom)