Benin

Area
112,662 km²

Population
11,423,000 (2018)

 

 

Captial
Porto Novo

Official language
French, Fon, Yoruba

Currency
CFA-Franc BCEAO

Benin is a small country located in West Africa that shares borders with Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Togo. To the south is the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Guinea. The climate can be divided into two geographical areas: The north has a predominantly dry south-Sahelian climate, and the south has mainly a tropical, humid climate.

In Cotonou, the main town on Benin’s coast and the country’s economic centre, the trade in used cars is booming. But the impression of a thriving economy in the bustling city does not show the whole truth. According to the Human Development Index, Benin is one of the poorest countries in the world: It is ranked 167th out of 187 countries. Almost half of the population lives in extreme poverty, meaning they live on less than USD 1.98 per day. The country is heavily in debt and struggles with its poor economic infrastructure. As a result, governmental policy focuses mainly on fighting poverty and promoting economic development.

Half of Benin’s population is employed in agriculture. Farmers primarily grow corn, cassava, yams, sweet potatoes, and legumes both for their own consumption and for the local market. Cashew nuts and pineapples are major export products, but Benin’s biggest export is cotton. The dependence on agriculture, and especially on cotton exports, which account for up to three-quarters of Benin’s export revenue, renders the country highly sensitive to the impact of the regional climatic conditions and global market prices. It also means the agricultural sector plays a key role in the fight against poverty in Benin. CmiA’s goal is therefore to boost Benin’s agricultural output in order to ensure food security for the population and support economic development, thereby combatting poverty more effectively.Apart from the agricultural sector, the fashion and celebrity photographer Albert Watson was commissioned by the Aid by Trade Foundation to visit the country to photograph the people at the heart of CmiA, free from stereotyping. The images were then shown as part of a large retrospective exhibition at the Hamburg Deichtorhallen in Hamburg, Germany. They have also been featured at the “Albert Watson: 14 days in Benin” exhibition in the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum in Cologne, Germany.

Sources: Human Development Report 2017 (UNDP), LIPortal 2018, Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung 2017, LAENDERDATEN 2018, Wirtschaftskammer Österreich 2019, OEC: Das Observatorium für Wirtschaftliche Komplexität 2019

Burkina Faso

Area
274,000 km²

Population
19,742,715 (2018)

Captial
Ouagadougou

Official language
French

Currency
CFA – Franc BCEAO

The “Land of Upright People” (the direct English translation of the country’s name), is located in the middle of West Africa bordering Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. It has a tropical climate with alternating wet and dry seasons. About one-quarter of the country, in the desert areas of the Sahel, is dominated by extreme drought. Extreme climate phenomena, such as severe droughts and floods, have increased greatly in recent years. This affects poor people in the country particularly badly, up to 90 percent of whom practise subsistence agriculture, surviving by growing enough food to feed themselves and their families.

Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world: the country is ranked 183rd out of 189 in the Human Development Index of the United Nations, with 44.6 percent, almost half the population, living below the extreme poverty level defined as less than USD 1.25 per day. The level of education is low, with an illiteracy rate of over 70 percent. The entire country has also been weakened by the widespread transmission of HIV and AIDS, and significant development of the national economy and industrialisation will be hindered for the foreseeable future by the high number of infections among the productive population. The national budget consists almost entirely of development aid.
Cotton is currently the driving force of the Burkinabé economy. The sector accounts for up to 39 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, with about 18 percent of people earning their living from cotton cultivation. In the second half of the 1990s, there was a massive boom in cotton production in Burkina Faso, with annual growth rates of over 20 percent. While high foreign exchange earnings from cotton exports have increased the value of cotton production for Burkina Faso’s economic development, it has also made it more dependent on a single export product and on the climate in the region.
Sources: Human Development Report 2017 (UN), The World Fact Book 2014, Auswärtiges Amt 2013, World Development Indicators 2014, 2010-2014 Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ) Digitale Kommunikation Referat L 5., Wirtschaftskammer Österreich 2019, OEC: Das Observatorium für Wirtschaftliche Komplexität 2019, LIPortal 2018, Laenderdaten.info 2017

Chad

Area
1,284,000 km²

Population
16,877,357 (2020)

 

Capital
N’Djamena

Official Languages
Arabic, French

Currency
CFA franc (CFAF)

Chad (officially: Republique du Tchad also called Jumhuriyat Tshad) is the 5th largest country in Africa. Its name is originates from Lake Chad in the west of the country. Lake Chad is being fed by two large watercourses, the Chali and the Logone. As the largest of the 16 landlocked African states, Chad shares borders with Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Libya, Niger, Nigeria and Sudan. Compared to other countries, Chad is said to have a particularly high diversity of languages ​​and cultures and therefore retains a special importance/position in terms of social and cultural exchanges in Africa. Presently, Chad is in third last place in the ranking of the Human Development Index with rank 187.

More than 40% of the total population live below the poverty line. Even so, Chad is a willing host country for many refugees from neighbouring countries. In the years 2019/2020, Chad received over 330,000 people from Sudan (especially Darfur), over 93,000 people from the Central African Republic and 13,900 people from Nigeria. In 2003 Chad became an oil producing country, which resulted in a considerable increase in expectations of an economic and social development. The larger part of the population still continuous to be employed in agricultural areas. Cotton, which is cultivated between the Chali and Logone rivers as a tributary to Lake Chad, is one of the main sources of export income, while the processing of raw cotton represents a significant proportion of the few industrial jobs in the country.

Sources:Central Intelligence Agency (2020). Chad, In: The world factbook. CIA (Hrsg.) URL https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cd.html, 03.06.2020,Jones, Douglas Henry & Grove, Alfred Thomas (2019). Chad, In: Encyclopædia Britannica (Hrsg.), URL https://www.britannica.com/place/Chad/Settlement-patterns 03.06.2020

Ethiopia

Area
1,104,300 km²

Population
111,238,354 (2020)

 

Capital
Addis Abeba

Official language
Amharic

 

Currency
Ethiopian Birr

 

Ethiopia is the tenth biggest country in Africa and shares borders with Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Somalia, and Djibouti. Addis Ababa, the capital city, has about three million inhabitants and is the political and economic centre of the country. Half of Ethiopia is at an altitude above 1,200 metres. The main rainy season lasts from June to September.
Although this sub-Saharan nation possesses huge water resources—14 rivers altogether, including the Blue Nile—these are only partly used. After Nigeria, Ethiopia is the second-most populous country in Africa and has about 94 million inhabitants. A large proportion of the population lives below the national poverty line. Ethiopia is ranked 173rd out of 189 in the Human Development Index (HDI). In recent years, the government has made great efforts to support the country’s development and to improve living conditions.

Economic growth has enabled progress to be made on issues such as education, health and poverty. 80 per cent of people live in in the country-side. The multi-ethnic nation is split into 80 different languages and ethnic groups, which all have a strong attachment to their traditions. In the last few years, Ethiopia has become a popular tourist destination, and it was named one of the ten most popular travel destinations worldwide in 2013.

Sources: Human Development Report 2017 (UN), Auswärtiges Amt 2015, Liportal/GIZ, Wirtschaftskammer Österreich 2019, OEC: Das Observatorium für Wirtschaftliche Komplexität 2019, Laenderdaten.info 2017

Côte d’Ivoire

Area
322.463 km²

Population
25.609.000 (2018)

 

Capital
Yamoussoukro

Official language
French

 

Currency
CFA-Franc BCEAO

 

Côte d’Ivoire (official name: République de Côte d’Ivoire) is a country in West Africa with a 500-kilometre-long coastline along the Gulf of Guinea. The country is divided into three climatic zones: an equatorial zone in the south, the moist savannah climate zone that begins about 200 kilometres north of the coastline, and a dry savannah climate in the northern savannah regions. The wildlife of Côte d’Ivoire is particularly diverse, and the trade in ivory from the tusks of elephants gave the country its name.
The ethnic and linguistic diversity of Côte d’Ivoire is vast. In addition to the official language of French, over 70 languages are spoken, and there are about 60 ethnic groups who have lived together peacefully for a long time. Marriages between members of different ethnic groups are not uncommon, particularly in the cities.

Until the early 1980s, Côte d’Ivoire was a model of stability and economic success in Africa. For many years, export earnings from cocoa and coffee guaranteed a degree of relative prosperity. The country is now ranked 170th out of 189 in the United Nations Human Development Index. About 24 percent of the population live in extreme poverty which means that they live on less than USD 1.25 per day. The majority of households have no access to clean water, which creates a breeding ground for the spread of diseases such as cholera, typhoid, tuberculosis, yellow fever, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B. Despite mandatory elementary school attendance, the illiteracy rate is still very high at over 40 percent.
The agricultural sector, in which nearly half of the people work, is still the dominant economic industry in Côte d’Ivoire, a country which benefits from large deposits of raw materials and fertile soil. Cocoa has long been the main source of export revenue, but its importance has recently been overtaken by oil. Another important agricultural product is coffee. Other major products are palm oil, coconuts, sugar cane, tropical fruits, and cotton.
Sources: Human Development Report 2013 (UN), The World Fact Book 2014, Auswärtiges Amt 2012, World Development Indicators 2014, 2010-2014 Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ) Digitale Kommunikation Referat L 5., Wirtschaftskammer Österreich 2019, Laenderdaten.info 2017, liportal.de 2019

Cameroon

Area
475,442 km²

Population
25,640,965 (2018)

Captial
Yaoundé

Official languages
French, English

 

Currency
CFA-Franc BEAC

Cameroon is also referred to as “Africa in miniature” because of its diversity. The climate and landscape of Cameroon’s west coast can be divided into two zones. Its location near the rainy equatorial climate zone means southern Cameroon is very humid and receives high precipitation. Dense tropical rainforests dominate the landscape, covering about 40 percent of the country with their innumerable tree species including oil palm, bamboo, mahogany, teak, ebony, and rubber. Cameroon’s forests are therefore an important source of income and food. To the north, it becomes increasingly dry, and much of the Sahel extends over the northern part of the country. Cameroon shares a border with six other countries: Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo. Cameroon’s cultural life is influenced by more than 240 different ethnic groups and it is also linguistically diverse with more than 230 languages, which give this country its unique charm.

Due to favourable agricultural conditions, Cameroon has one of the most valuable commodity export economies in Africa south of the Sahara. 61.6 percent of all employed persons worked in agriculture in 2018. In addition to wood, key products from the agricultural sector include cocoa, coffee, cotton, and rice. Nevertheless, the country faces serious problems, such as stagnating per capita income, a relatively inequitable distribution of income, lack of infrastructure, and corruption. Cameroon ranks 151st out of 189 countries surveyed for the Human Development Index (HDI). One of the biggest challenges it faces is the rapid spread of HIV and AIDS.
Sources: Human Development Report 2017, The World Factbook 2014, 2010-2014 Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ) Digitale Kommunikation Referat L 5., Wirtschaftskammer Österreich 2019, liportal.de 2019, laenderdaten.info 2017, The Observatory of Economic Complexity 2019, Auswärtiges Amt 2019

Mozambique

Area
801,590 km²

Population
29,500,000 (2018)

Captial
Maputo

Official language
Portugues

Currency
Metical

Mozambique has a predominantly rural society that is made up of many population groups. However, although the majority of the population lives in rural areas, the capital, Maputo, is one of the fastest growing cities in Africa. It has a thriving, lively cultural scene and an urban lifestyle is evolving there, in which European and African influences mix widely.
Located on the south-eastern coast of Africa, Mozambique stretches from Tanzania, through Maputo, to the border with South Africa and Swaziland. It also has borders with Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi to the west. The east coast faces towards the island of Madagascar. The largest river in the region, the Zambezi, flows into the Mozambique Channel in the Indian Ocean.

Despite attempts to achieve economic stability in the late 1980s, it ranked 180th out of 189 countries in the Human Development Index (HDI) published in the Human Development Report (HDR) of the United Nations. Approximately 60 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty. HIV/AIDS (which affects eleven percent of the population), frequent droughts, and crop failures are the main factors that explain why the country languishes near the bottom of the prosperity index.
Thanks to a high rate of enrolment, Mozambique has recorded substantial improvements in educational attainment; nevertheless, the education sector is insufficiently developed and the proportion of students who earn a degree is low, which means that nearly half of Mozambicans cannot read, write, or count.
About 73 percent of the population of Mozambique works in agriculture and they mainly practise subsistence farming to meet their needs for basic foodstuffs. The main agricultural products are cotton, cashew nuts, sugar, sisal, copra, and tea, as well as shrimp and crayfish. The agricultural sector accounts for about 30 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Mozambique is heavily dependent on development aid, and only half of the population has access to adequate drinking water. This is where CmiA and its partners from the public and private sector play a role: Boreholes are built to improve the water supply and hygiene in remote cotton-producing areas of the country.
Sources: Human Development Report 2017 (UN), The World Fact Book 2014, Auswärtiges Amt 2013, World Development Indicators 2014, 2010-2014 Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ) Digitale Kommunikation Referat L 5., Wirtschaftskammer Österreich 2019, liportal.de 2019, laenderdaten.info 2017, The Observatory of Economic Complexity 2019

Nigeria

Area
923,770 km²

Population
193,900,000 (2018)

Capital
Abuja

Official language
English

 

Currency
Naira

Often described as the “Giant of Africa”, Nigeria is a regional power in West Africa. With around 194 million inhabitants, not only is it the most populous country in Africa, it is also one of the eight largest petroleum exporters in the world. Nigeria lies on the western coast of Africa and has only one natural border: the Atlantic Ocean to its south. Its other borders are with Benin in the west, Niger in the north, Chad in the north-east, and Cameroon in the east. In terms of total land area, Nigeria is two and a half times as the size of Germany.
Although Nigeria enjoys great biodiversity, some of its fauna is endangered. National parks were established to protect these animals while promoting tourism, and these are now home to more than 50 species of mammals and over 300 species of birds.

Nigeria is the largest petroleum producer in Africa and the tenth-largest in the world. However, its concentration on petroleum and petroleum gas has left the country facing massive environmental problems. Nigeria now suffers from significant environmental pollution, the destruction of farms and forests, the contamination of fishing waters, and an increase in air pollution. These issues have already cost many people their lives and, in total, 90 percent of all groundwater has been contaminated by petroleum. In 2018, the government of Nigeria began cleaning the Niger Delta, the area that faces the most environmental problems. However, at the current pace, decontaminating the region of the worst of its pollution could take up to 25 years.
In the second quarter of 2017, Nigeria’s economy slowly recovered from the worst recession in 25 years. This recovery can be traced back to the increase of petroleum production, an upswing of petroleum prices, and better performance in the agricultural and services sectors. Approximately 70 percent of the population works in the agricultural sector that accounted for around 26 percent of gross domestic product in 2016.
Nigeria is a multi-ethnic state, with more than 400 different linguistic and ethnic groups. There is a strong attachment to ethnic identities, with most residents identifying more closely with their ethnicity than their nationality. Nigeria is as linguistically diverse as it is ethnically, with over 400 languages spoken in the country. Rates of extreme poverty have continued to rise in recent years and Nigeria is ranked 157th out of 189 countries for this variable in the UN Human Development Report, with nearly half of the population now living below the poverty line.
Sources: Auswärtiges Amt, Statistisches Bundesamt, LIPortal, wko.at, Human Development Report 2017 (UN)

Tanzania

Area
945,087 km²

Population
56,318,348 (2018)

 

Captial
Dodoma

Official language
English, Swahili

 

Currency
Tanzanian Shilling

Tanzania is a country in southern Africa next to the Indian Ocean. It has borders with: Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west; Uganda to the north; and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the south. Even though Dar es Salam is the country’s largest city and the seat of government, Dodoma is the official capital city. About 56 million people live in this sparsely-populated country. Its climate is tropical, and it is hot and humid all year round, especially along the coast. The country possesses some of the most breathtaking natural landscapes in the world. With its diversity of ethnic groups, about 100 languages are spoken nationwide.
Agriculture is the main source of income for most of the population. About one third of the population lives below the national poverty line. Tanzania ranks 154th out of 189 countries in the Human Development Index (HDI).

Important export goods are coffee, tea, cotton and cashew nuts, which are sold to the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, South Africa, China, or Germany. The national dish named “Ugali” is a kind of porridge and is the staple food for many Tanzanian inhabitants. There are a variety of different religions in Tanzania, including Protestant Christianity, Catholicism and Islam, that reflect the diversity of its ethnic groups. The country is well known for extensive ebony carvings by the Makonde tribe as well as for its flora and fauna.
Sources: Human Development Report 2017 (UN), Auswärtiges Amt 2013, 2010-2015 Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ), Tansania.de, Liportal/GIZ, h-age.net Tansania, Wirtschaftskammer Österreich 2019, laenderdaten.info 2017, The Observatory of Economic Complexity 2019, Welt in Zahlen 2019

Uganda

Area
241,037 km²

Population
42,720,000 (2018)

 

 

Captial
Kampala

Official language
English, Swahili

Currency
Ugandan Shilling 

Uganda is situated in East Africa and borders the countries of Kenya, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania. It is located on a plateau 100 metres above sea level. About one-fifth of the country is covered by seas and swamps. Because of its high altitude, the normally tropical climate cools down to 25-30 degrees. Uganda is a multi-ethnic society, like many other African countries. The 40 ethnic groups with their various languages and cultures form two main groups: the Bantu tribes in the south and the Nilotics and NiloHamitics in the north. Uganda’s population growth rate is one of the highest in the world and it ranks 9th for this variable in the Human Development Index (HDI). Many Ugandans live below the poverty line as war and terror have left their mark and still strain the nation. According to HDI figures, Uganda ranks 162nd out of 189 nations and is one of the least developed countries in the world. However, since Yoweri Museveni became president in 1986, Uganda has implemented some successful poverty-reduction measures. After many years of violent conflicts, Uganda has stabilised and is promoting peace and security, as well as integration in southern Africa.

The country enjoys very good conditions for agriculture, and nearly every farmer can make a living from his or her own production. Additional important natural resources are copper, crude oil and cobalt. Christianity is the most popular religion and is followed by 77 percent of the population. Local cultural life is marked by ethnic and linguistic diversity, and the most important cultural pursuits are music, dance, theatre, and arts and crafts.
Sources: Human Development Report 2017 (UN), Auswärtiges Amt 2015, Liportal/GIZ, 2010-2015 Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ), Wirtschaftskammer Österreich 2019, laenderdaten.info 2017, Welt in Zahlen 2019

Zambia

Area
752,612 km²

Population
17,351,822 (2018)

 

Captial
Lusaka

Official language
English

Currency
Zambian Kwacha

Zambia is a landlocked country in southern Africa and is situated on the central African plateau. The capital, Lusaka, is in the south, and it lies at an altitude of about 1,300 meters. Due to its altitude, Zambia has a temperate, tropical climate.
Zambia is about the same size as the state of Texas and has over 17 million inhabitants. The average life expectancy of people is just under 62 years, partly due to high mortality as a result of the immune deficiency disease AIDS; in fact, the HIV infection rate is extremely high by world standards. The government of Zambia, however, invests heavily in the country’s health sector, in particular in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

Despite the temperate climate, sufficient water resources, good soil, and abundant mineral resources such as copper, cobalt, and precious stones, Zambia is one of the poorest countries in the world. It ranks 144th out of 189 countries in the Human Development Index, and 68.5 percent of the population lives on less than USD 1.25 per day. One reason for this is the country’s very one-sided economic development that, for a long time, focused almost exclusively on copper mining.
Zambians now place their hopes on tourism. Although mass tourism has not yet gained a foothold due to lack of infrastructure, natural attractions such as the numerous national parks and the Victoria Falls hold great potential. The falls are probably the most famous Zambian sight, and it is fed by the Zambezi River, the river that gave the land its name. Thanks to its geographical diversity, Zambia is also particularly rich in animal and plant species.
Sources: Human Development Report 2017 (UN), Auswärtiges Amt 2014, World Development Indicators 2014, 2010-2014 Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ) Digitale Kommunikation Referat L 5., Wirtschaftskammer Österreich 2019, liportal.de 2019, laenderdaten.info 2017, The Observatory of Economic Complexity 2019, Welt in Zahlen 2019