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
270,764 km²

Population
20,835,401 (2020)

Captial
Ouagadougou

Official language
French

Currency
CFA (Communauté Financière Africaine) Franc

Burkina Faso is a West African landlocked state bordering on the countries of Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger and Togo. It is divided into three climatic zones, including the southern part with a hot tropical savannah and a short rainy season, a tropical hot semi-arid steppe typical of the Sahel in the northern half of the country and a small area in the far north with a hot desert that borders the Sahara. The three main rivers in the country are the Mouhoun (Black Volta), the Nazinon (Red Volta) and the Nakambé (White Volta).

Burkina Faso is characterised by high population growth. Almost 65% of the population is under 25 years of age. The country’s largest city and capital is Ouagadougou with 1.8 million inhabitants. Despite internal problems, such as temporary food shortages and violent conflicts in some parts of the country, Burkina Faso has taken in over 33,500 refugees from its neighbour Mali since May 2017. At the same time, labour migration to and from neighbouring states and increasingly beyond the borders of West Africa, is an established part of working life. Almost 1.5 million, or one-third of the working-age population, work temporarily across national borders. Almost two-thirds of the population live in rural areas, mostly subsistence farmers, i.e. farmers who farm and raise livestock primarily for their own livelihood.
A little less than half of the country’s area is used for agriculture (like farming, cattle breeding). Recurring droughts, overgrazing and deforestation, which lead to desertification, are increasingly challenging for farmers. The country generates three quarters of its export revenues from gold exports. This is followed by cotton, the most important agricultural product, that is not produced for domestic consumption but for export. At times, Burkina Faso was one of the largest cotton exporting countries with cotton of the highest quality from Africa. Following a slump in harvests caused by pests and droughts, genetically modified cotton was introduced in 2008 and then again banned in 2018. Reasons for this decision were the low cotton quality and the correspondingly lower cotton prices. Burkina Faso is now one of the largest producers of organic cotton in Africa.Sources:
Bavier, Joe (2017) . When America’s biotech giant tried to export its know-how to small cotton farmers in Burkina Faso, there was a problem: The quality sank. URL <https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/monsanto-burkina-cotton/>
Central Intelligence Agency (2020). Burkina Faso, In: The world factbook. CIA (Hrsg.), URL <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/uv.html>

Guiguemde, Pierre H. et.al. (2019) Burkina Faso, In: Encyclopædia Britannica (Hrsg.), URL <https://www.britannica.com/place/Burkina-Faso >

Krinninger, Theresa (2016), Burkina Faso abandons GM cotton, URL <https://www.dw.com/en/burkina-faso-abandons-gm-cotton/a-19362330>

Textile Exchange (2019) Africa – Organic cotton production 2018/2019, In: 2019 Organic Cotton Market Report, Textile Exchange (Hrsg.); URL https://textileexchange.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/OCMR_Africa_Overview_2019.png

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
1,063,652 km²

Population
108,000,000 (2020)

 

Capital
Addis Abeba (also called Addis Ababa)

Official language
Amharic (additionally Afar, Oromo, Somali and Tigrinya are official working languages of the respective regions)

 

Currency
Ethiopian Birr (Br)

 

Ethiopia (officially: Federal Republic of Ethiopia) is the second largest country in Africa in terms of population. At the same time, it is also the most populous country in the world without direct access to the sea.

This access Ethiopia ceded to Eritrea in 1993. Lake Tana is the largest lake in the country and feeds one of Ethiopia’s main rivers, the Blue Nile. The Blue Nile does not only have its source in Ethiopia but is also the main tributary of the Nile and of correspondingly high importance for its riparian states. These include Southern Sudan and Sudan, which, along with Djibouti, Eritrea, Kenya and Somalia, are among Ethiopia’s neighbouring states.Despite many internal conflicts, Ethiopia is the country of destination for over 342,000 refugees from Southern Sudan, over 199,000 people from Somalia, slightly less than 173,000 from Eritrea and 42,000 refugees from Sudan (as of 2020) despite the fact that Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world. Ethiopia has the lowest level of income inequality in Africa and one of the lowest in the world. At the same time, Ethiopia is characterised by a very young population and continuous population growth. Over 80% of the population lives in rural areas. A large part of the rural population is concentrated on the plateaus in the north and centre of the country, especially around the capital Addis Abeba.Almost 36% of the country’s land is used for agriculture. Coffee, which originates in Ethiopia, is the country’s most important export commodity. Cotton is an established agricultural product as well. Ethiopia has been growing cotton for centuries and maintains a traditional weaving and hand weaving sector. Cotton cultivation as well as subsequent processing play an increasingly important role in the government’s vision for economic recovery. According to the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, some 57,000 Ethiopian smallholder farmers grow cotton. In addition, almost 150,000 workers are employed in the cotton cultivation on more than 1,000 large-scale farms and 2,000 in ginning operations. The cotton and clothing industry is the second most important growth sector for the Ethiopian government. In this context, the Ethiopian government has set itself the goal of becoming the centre of Africa’s textile and clothing production by 2025, with annual exports worth 30 billion US dollars.

Sources:
Central Intelligence Agency (2020). Ethiopia, In: The world factbook. CIA (Hrsg.), URL <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/et.html>

Crummey, Donald Edward et.al. (2019) Ethiopia, In: Encyclopædia Britannica (Hrsg.), URL <https://www.britannica.com/place/Ethiopia>

Roser, Max (2014/2019). Human Development Index (HDI) – The Human Development Index around the world. UN (Hrsg.), URL <https://ourworldindata.org/human-development-index>

Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research – EIAR (2017). Cotton Research Strategy (2016-2030). Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (Hrsg.) URL <http://publication.eiar.gov.et:8080/xmlui/handle/123456789/1482>

Côte d’Ivoire

Area
322.463 km²

Population
27.481.086 (2020)

 

Capital
Yamoussoukro (de jure), Abidjan (de facto)

Official language
French

 

Currency
CFA Franc (Communauté Financière Africaine)

 

Côte d’Ivoire is a coastal state in West Africa, bordering on the countries of Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia and Mali. Yamoussoukro is the official capital of the country since 1983. However, the seat of government is in the coastal city of Abidjan, which at the same time is the nation’s economic centre and with over 5 million inhabitants the largest city in the country.

The majority of the population is also concentrated in and around Abidjan and other coastal towns in the tropical south, while the north of the country, which is characterised by savannah, is comparatively sparsely populated.
Almost 60% of the population is under the age of 25 while slightly less than half of the population lives in rural areas. Côte d’Ivoire thus has a relatively high degree of urbanization for Sub-Saharan Africa, i.e. a comparatively high proportion of the population lives in urban areas.
Until the early 1980s, Côte d’Ivoire was a prime example of stability and economic success in Africa. The labour-intensive cocoa and coffee industry in the southwest of the country attracted many migrants from other parts and neighbouring countries, especially from Burkina Faso, but also from Europe and Lebanon. Still today, migrants make up about a fifth of the total population. With the return of a relative stability in 2012 and the end of political unrest, the country’s economic growth in 2015-2020 will be one of the highest in the world.
Almost half of the working-age population is employed in the agricultural sector. Côte d’Ivoire is the world’s largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans. Coffee and palm oil are major agricultural exports. Cotton, another export commodity, is grown in the southwest as well as in the north of the country.

Sources:
Central Intelligence Agency (2020). Côte d’Ivoire, In: The world factbook. CIA (Hrsg.), URL <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/iv.html>

Mundt, Robert John et al (2020) Côte d’Ivoire, In: Encyclopædia Britannica (Hrsg.), URL <https://www.britannica.com/place/Cote-dIvoire>

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
241,038 km²

Population
43,252,966 (2020)

 

 

Captial
Kampala

Official language
English, Swahili

Currency
Ugandan Shilling 

Uganda is a landlocked state in Central East Africa bordering on the neighbouring countries of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan and Tanzania. Uganda shares a border with Tanzania and Kenya through Lake Victoria, the largest tropical and second largest drinking water lake in the world. The Victoria Nile and Albert Nile are the largest rivers in the country.

The 32 native languages in Uganda additionally bear witness to the country’s ethnic and cultural diversity. At the same time, Uganda has one of the fastest growing populations in the world. Nearly half of the population is under 14 years of age. Despite economic and social challenges, Uganda is meanwhile the host country of over more than 1.4 million refugees and asylum seekers (as of 2020) from other African countries, such as South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Somalia, Rwanda and Eritrea. With officially just under 3.3 million inhabitants, the capital Kampala is the largest city in the country.

Three-quarters of the population live in rural areas. Agriculture is the central economic sector. It employs 72% of the working population, a significant part of them are subsistence farmers who produce primarily for their own needs. Oil production and its export play an increasing role in the Ugandan economy. In addition to coffee and tea, cotton is particularly of significance as the third most important agricultural export commodity. Cotton sales are the main source of income for an estimated 250,000 households. It is generally grown by small-holder farmers through rain-fed agriculture. On average, no more than half a hectare is cultivated. While a substantial part of the cotton is exported, Uganda has a small domestic textile industry. After ginning, cotton is processed by spinning and weaving mills, dyeing works and local tailors from the raw material to the finished product, and textiles are thus manufactured to a small extent ‘from field to fashion’ in Uganda.

Sources:
Central Intelligence Agency (2020). Uganda, In: The world factbook. CIA (Hrsg.), URL <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/the-world-factbook/geos/ug.html>

Cotton Development Organisation – CDO (2015) Overview of Cotton Industry in Uganda, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry & Fisheries (Hrsg.); URL <http://www.cdouga.org/>

Khisa, Isaac (2017, 31 Oktober) Uganda’s textile industry picking up the threads, In: The Independent, URL: <https://www.independent.co.ug/ugandas-textile-industry-picking-threads/>

Kokole, Omari H. et al (2020) Uganda, In: Encyclopædia Britannica (Hrsg.), URL <https://www.britannica.com/place/Uganda/Land#ref37598>

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