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Top 20 Largest Countries In Africa By Population (2024)

The largest countries in Africa often have the biggest and most diverse economies, hence the importance of this particular topic. Nevertheless, Africa is a continent that produces surprises in many aspects as this list will show.

To maintain huge populations countries have to strain the land to produce adequate food. While most of sub-Saharan Africa still practices subsistence agriculture; there is much to be done to assure food sufficiency.

Much of Africa’s large population remains vulnerable; food aid remains an important aspect to their survival. The information below may therefore be interpreted to show some of Africa’s most vulnerable populations, or the countries with the most potential on the continent.

Top 20 Largest Countries In Africa By Population

1. Nigeria

Population: 231,625,385

Nigeria is the biggest country in Africa by population; the official estimate is 200 million, but other sources quote figures as high as 231 million. The country is quite large in terms of land areas; it measures, 923,769 km2.

The land is quite diverse; there is Sahel Savannah in the north, mountainous high ground in the middle, and mangrove forests and swamps in the south. Much of the south also meets the Atlantic Ocean; the country is therefore blessed with an extensive coastline.

Nigeria has over 250 distinct ethnic groups speaking about 450 different languages. However, there are regional languages, and Pidgin English is widely understood in the country. English is the official language of the country.

2. Ethiopia      

Population: 126,922,416

Ethiopia has moved up to second place with a population of 126 million; although official estimates are below that. Ethiopia is landlocked; the surrounded by Djibouti, Kenya, Eritrea, south Sudan, and Somalia.

The country is located in east Africa, but has some of the elements of North Africa including a dry, arid land and climate.

Ethiopia has 12 major ethnic groups, ad several regional languages. The country is peopled by ancient tribes who know and are proud of their history. This is one of the few African countries whose peoples have remained in their land through ancient times, until now.

The Ethiopian empire is a highlight of African history; and although there are still many unsolved ethnic tensions, this is one of Africa’s greatest countries.

3. Egypt          

Population: 114,981,048

Egypt is unique because it is located in North Africa as well as southwest Asia. At the same time it is a Mediterranean country, and still has a large coast on the red sea. The country is one of the most important in Africa with a population of 114 million people.

Egypt is the site of an ancient civilization with the same name; and the pyramids represent something everlasting. This is a place where the cultures and civilizations of Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome are superimposed to produce a unique filter through which to see the world.

Egypt of today has around 114 million people; and they are mostly Arab Muslims; although there is some diversity. The land is mostly arid; the desert makes up the majority of Egyptian land, although there are oasis scattered around.

Agriculture in Egypt is a matter of national importance; without appreciable rainfall it would be a serious problem to feed this large population. However, extensive irrigation works exist to provide water from the river Nile to meet the country’s agricultural needs.

4. Democratic Republic Of The Congo       

Population: 96,511,548

The democratic republic of Congo is the most populous country in the central African sub region with over 95 million people, although some sources quote figures as high as 112 million. The country is also quite large in terms of land area; it occupies about 2.3 million km2.

Thankfully, the land is very good for farming, and although most of the people still practice subsistence agriculture, the society has come of age for investments in agriculture on a bigger scale.

Congo DR is also making investments in infrastructure to enhance the efficiency of transportation, thus making it possible for agricultural produce to reach consumers in quick time.

5. Tanzania    

Population: 67,931,876

Tanzania is a country in east Africa; in the African Great lakes region. This is a country that is unique in many ways; it has a temperate climate, a large population, and its own way of politics and government.

Tanzania has a population of around 67 million people, and a land area of 947,303 km2. Tanzania has a very good land for agriculture; however, the country remains quite vulnerable to food and nutritional crises despite the fact that most of the people are engaged in subsistence agriculture.

Tanzania is making progress in improving nutrition for its people; and mechanized farming to improve food production. Tanzania will play an important role in providing food for the people of agriculture.

6. South Africa          

Population: 60,081,076

South Africa is a country in southern Africa; it is the country on the southernmost tip of the continent. South Africa has a population of around 60 million people; and its land area is 1,221,037 km2.

South Africa is a unique place indeed; it is where you find white, black, colored, and Asian people all living happily together. South Africa has 12 official languages; and the cultural diversity is actually a thing of pride.

South Africa is the most advanced country on the continent; it is head and shoulders above everyone else in terms of technology, diversity of economy, and quality of education and research. South Africa practices the best kind of agriculture in Africa; some of South Africa’ major crops include maize, rice wheat, and sorghum. Cattle ranching is also widely practiced in South Africa.

7. Kenya         

Population: 55,645,588

Kenya is located in east Africa; it has been described as the most important country in the sub region. Kenya has a population of about 47 million, and has a land area of 580,367 km2. The land is excellent; it falls into the Rift Valley area which is very fertile, and also has a coastline facing the Atlantic Ocean.

Kenya’s people are come from diverse ethnicity; there are at least 9 distinct peoples and languages in the country; and people from other countries have also been welcomed to become part of Kenyan society.

Agriculture is one of the most important sectors in Kenya; both subsistence agriculture and large scale farming are widely practiced.

8. Uganda       

Population: 50,333,704

Uganda is a country in east Africa; if population is what makes a great nation then Uganda is by all means one of the greatest on the continent with over 50 million people calling it home. The country covers a land area of 241,038 km2.

That land falls into the great lakes region; which is quite cool and fertile. Much of Uganda practices subsistence agriculture, and tourism is also quite important to the country because people come in large numbers to see the Lake Victoria, and also the Rwenzori Mountain range.

Uganda still suffers from a high rate of food insufficiency; and although much has been done about it, the problem refuses to go away.

9. Sudan         

Population: 50,331,103

Sudan is a country in northeast Africa; the country is near Libya, Chad, Egypt and Ethiopia. Sudan has so much potential, but unfortunately the country has not made much progress. The potential lies in its advantageous location, and in its population which numbers around 50 million.

That population lives in a land area of 1,886,068 square kilometers, although much of that land is desert or semi-arid; sandstorms are a major concern in those areas.

Sudan practices agriculture quite extensively; although irrigation is mostly necessary to practice this agriculture.

10. Algeria      

Population: 49,753,509

Algeria is a country in North Africa; its neighbors are Tunisia, Libya, morocco, Niger, as well as mail and Mauritania. Algeria is one of the most important countries in North Africa; it has a population of around 44 million by official estimates, although other sources quote higher figures.

The population is contained in quite an expansive country; Algeria is Africa’s biggest country with a land area of 2,381,741 square kilometers.

Algeria is quite a developed and self-sufficient country; agriculture and fishing are both important to the country.

The following is a more extensive list of the largest countries in Africa by population.

Rank Country Population Location
1 Nigeria 231,625,385 West Africa
2 Ethiopia 126,922,416 East Africa
3 Egypt 114,981,048 North Africa
4 Democratic Republic of the Congo 96,511,548 Central Africa
5 Tanzania 67,931,876 East Africa
6 South Africa 60,081,076 Southern Africa
7 Kenya 55,645,588 East Africa
8 Uganda 50,333,704 East Africa
9 Sudan 50,331,103 North Africa
10 Algeria 49,753,509 North Africa
11 Morocco 45,945,593 North Africa
12 Angola 35,405,823 Southern Africa
13 Mozambique 34,413,232 East Africa
14 Ghana 33,642,373 West Africa
15 Madagascar 30,434,823 East Africa
16 Cameroon 29,161,144 Central Africa
17 Ivory Coast 28,974,485 West Africa
18 Niger 27,412,604 West Africa
19 Burkina Faso 25,313,534 West Africa
20 Mali 24,691,072 West Africa



The largest countries in Africa by population are spread all over the continent; however north and west Africa both populate this list ahead of others, and so it seems that these regions have the most potential for growth in population.

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