How Well Do You Know Africa? PDF Print E-mail

Look at the FieldsAfricas Evangelicals-Zones of religious conflict0001

"Behold I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!" John 4:35 


At 30,244,000 square kilometres, 20% of the worlds land surface, Africa is the second largest continent. 


The total population of Africa now exceeds one billion people (15% of the worlds population), growing at 2.3% per annum. 41% of Africa are under the age of 15. Average life expectancy in Africa: 54 years. 


There are 52 cities in Africa with more than one million people. Two cities exceed 10 million. 40% of Africa are urbanised. 


There are 2,500 ethno-linguistic people groups in Africa, 67% of which are in sub-Saharan Africa and 19% in the Arab world. Whites make up only 0.8% of the total population of Africa. There are 2,110 languages in Africa. 


Literacy is officially: 61%. 

Bible Translations

Full Bibles are available in 373 African languages, New Testaments in 335 other languages and a further 223 languages have Gospels, or other portions of the Scriptures translated. There are 693 African languages with Bible translation work in progress. 


Approximately 150 million Africans are living in the Diaspora, outside the continent. Africa's population growth rate is the highest in the world; 2.3% a year, compared to the global rate of 1.2% a year. 

Brain Drain

Each year more than 20,000 university educated professionals emigrate from Africa. 

Food Crisis

50 Years ago Africa was a net food exporter. Today it is dependent on imports and foreign aid. 80% of Africa's farmland is severely degraded. 

Foreign Debt

Despite many billions of Dollars of debt having been forgiven by the World Bank, Africa remains shackled in debt. 

The Chinese Connection

China is now Africa's largest economic partner, extracting vast amounts of Africa's natural resources for its economy.  


Much of Africa's transportation, communications and power infrastructure has deteriorated. 


More than 25% of Africa's combined national income is lost through corruption, amounting to over US$150 billion per year. 


Each year Malaria kills twice as many people as AIDS and TB combined. Malaria kills a person on average every 30 seconds in Africa. More than twice as many as HIV AIDS claim. 


HIV afflicts 23 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, officially. In some parts of Southern Africa, life expectancy has fallen by half. An estimated 14 million children have lost one, or both, parents to AIDS. 


15 Countries in Africa are afflicted by wars at this time. 

Human Development Index

Of the 33 lowest ranking countries on the UN Human Development Index, 32 are in Africa. 

Church Growth

From 1900 to 2010, Christians grew from 9.1% of the population to 48.8%. From 7.5 million to 504 million church members. 

Religious Affiliations in Africa

The official statistics in Operation World for 2010, are:

pray for africaChristians
- 48.77% of the population, numbering 503,742,508 (2.6% growth rate per annum).

Protestants - 14% of the population, numbering 150,105,310 (3.2% growth rate).

Independents – 9.63% of the population, numbering 99,447,070 (2.6% growth rate).

Anglicans – 4.77% of the population, numbering 49,273,112 (3.1% growth rate).

Catholics – 15.95% of the population, numbering 164,794,368 (2.5% growth rate).

Orthodox – 4.5% of the population, numbering 46,462,739 (1.9% growth rate).

Evangelicals – 17.7% of the population, numbering 182,442,247 (3.6% growth rate).

Charismatics – 13.7% of the population, numbering 141,357,535 (4.2% growth rate).

Pentecostals – 5.8% of the population, numbering 59,803,540 (3.6% growth rate).

Muslims – 41.47% of the population, numbering 428,349,774 (2.4% growth rate).

Animists – 8.32% of the population, numbering 85,963,109 (0.2% growth rate).


Evangelical Growth

In 1900, Evangelicals numbered only 1.6 million (1.5% of the total population of Africa). However by 2010, Evangelicals numbered over 182 million (17.7%). This amounts to the largest Evangelical population of any continent. African Evangelicals are also increasing at a faster rate than any other continent. Countries in Africa experiencing the fastest Church growth include: Ethiopia, Sudan, Benin, Nigeria, Algeria, Mozambique and Angola. 


Africa's urban population has rapidly risen from 130 million in 1990, to over 390 million in 2010. 

Least Reached

13 of the worlds 20 least Evangelised countries are in Africa. The vast majority of these are Muslim groups. These include the 210 million Arabs in North Africa, the 18 million Berbers in North Africa, the 2.5 million Tuareg in North Africa, the 17 million Wolof, Malinke, Julia and Susu tribal groupings in West Africa. The Fulani number 31 million, in 50 ethnic groups spread across Senegal and Niger to Sudan. The Hausa number 32 million, most in Niger and Northern Nigeria. 

The Challenge of Islam

Islam is the greatest challenge for Christianity in Africa today. 182 million Muslims live North of the Sahara and 246 million live in sub-Saharan Africa. 11 Countries have less than 1% Evangelicals: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Guinea, Niger, Djibouti, Somalia, Mayotte and the Comoros Islands. 

"The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few." Matthew 9:37


Dr. Peter Hammond

Frontline Fellowship
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
Tel: 021-689-4480
Fax: 021-685-5884
Email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The Future of the Global Church by Patrick Johnstone, 2011.
Operation World edited by Jason Mandryk, 2010. 

See also:
Africa's Greatest Need – Discipleship

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