Today is Africa Day. Africa Day is the annual commemoration of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity on 25 May 1963 This year, Africa Day marks 60 years since the establishment of the OAU in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This 60th anniversary is being celebrated under the slogan: “Our Africa Our Future”, while shaping the narrative and journey of the continent towards achieving its socio-economic and political development for “ The Africa We Want ”.
The OAU was established to promote unity and solidarity among African countries and to work towards the eradication of colonialism and apartheid. Today, the African Union (AU) has taken over the OAU’s mission and expanded its efforts to include economic development, peace, and security on the continent.
Africa Day is celebrated in many African countries and communities around the world. With events that include music, dance, food, and cultural displays, Africa Day is a celebration of the rich cultural heritage and diversity of the African continent.
This year’s Africa Day theme is “Acceleration of AfCFTA implementation,” highlighting the importance of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in promoting economic growth and development in Africa. The AfCFTA aims to create a single market for goods and services, with the goal of boosting intra-African trade and creating more opportunities for African businesses and entrepreneurs.
As we celebrate 60 years of unity and progress, here are 25 quick facts about the celebrated continent.
1. Africa is the second-largest continent in the world.
2. Over half of the population of Africa is under 25 years old, which makes it the youngest population in the world.
3. Africa has over 25% of the world’s bird species.
4. Over one thousand languages are spoken in Africa, and some scholars place this number closer to two thousand.
5. All of Africa, except for Ethiopia and Liberia, were colonized by foreign powers.
6. Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the second-largest freshwater lake in the world.
7. Egypt is the most popular tourist destination in Africa, attracting around 10 million visitors per year.
8. Four of the five fastest land animals reside in Africa: the cheetah, the wildebeest, the lion, and the Thomson’s gazelle.
9. Africa is home to the world’s largest living land animal, the African elephant.
10. Islam is currently the largest religion in Africa, with Christianity following closely behind. These two religions make up 85% of the continent’s population, while just 15% of the population are nonreligious or follow traditional African religions.
11. The deadliest animal in all of Africa is the hippo.
12. The world’s largest frog, the Goliath frog, is found in Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon.
13. Ethiopia is the only country in Africa with its own alphabet, Ethiopic.
14. Benin, in West Africa, holds the the record for the country with the most twin births, at 27.0 twins per 1,000 births. The world average is 13.6 twins per 1,000 births.
15. Nearly half of all the gold ever mined in history has come from Witwatersrand, South Africa.
16. The Sahara Desert is the world’s largest hot desert in the world, and the third largest in the world after Antarctica and the Arctic. Located in North Africa, it is slightly larger than the continental USA.
17. The ancient Egyptian city of Kahun was the first planned city in the world.
18. Common English words with African origins include, aardvark, banjo, chigger, chimpanzee, cola, coffee, gumbo, jamboree, jazz, jumbo, impala, safari, tango, voodoo, yam, zebra, and zombie.
19. The oldest known mathematical object is the Lebombo bone, which was discovered in the Lebombo Mountains of Swaziland. It dates to approximately 35,000 B.C.
20. Scholars describe West African city of Timbuktu as “the Paris of the Medieval World” because of its ancient intellectual culture. It is the home of thousands of medieval manuscripts, including poetry by women, legal reflections, and innovative scientific discussions.
21. Africa makes 70% of the world’s cocoa beans.
22. There are 54 countries in Africa.
23. Ancient Egypt is one of the world’s earliest civilizations, with records going all the way back to 3300 BC.
24. Located 250 miles off the east coast of Africa, the island of Madagascar is the only place wild lemurs naturally call home in the world.
25. Africa is home to over 20% of the world’s animal species.