12:12 pm
28 October 2016

Africa Unusual: 15 facts that will mess with your head

AFRICA has its fair share of quirks and surprises. That is not what makes it different from other places – it is partly what makes it similar to other continents. From the highest twin birth rates, to the power to control the world’s most advanced technologies – here we give you a run down of 15 of Africa’s most surprising facts:

•Ethiopia is landlocked, but the state-owned shipping company has 17 ships. It close ally and neighbour Kenya is a coastal country, with a national shipping company, but not a single ship.

•Five African countries were represented in the just-ended Brazil World Cup, fielding 115 players all together. That is less than 50% of the 234 African league players in Europe.

•Even though donations of used clothing from the West are intended to help, they  are responsible for roughly 40% of the decline in apparel production in an average African country.

•There are only seven countries in Africa whose flag doesn’t have red or black; Rwanda, Somalia, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire.

king mswati

•Cleopatra lived closer to the Arab Spring revolutions than she did to the building of the Great Pyramid. She missed the completion of the pyramids by 2,491 years, and the Arab Spring by 2,040 years.

•Elizabeth was crowned the Queen of Great Britain in 1953. The population of Africa in that year was approximately 230million. In the time she has been queen, she has seen it grow to 1 billion.

•Swaziland’s King Sobhuza II had 70 wives when he died. His son Mswati III, took over and in the last 28 years he has been king has accumulated 15 wives. At this rate, if he lives to be his father’s age of 83 when he died, and continues marrying at his current rate, he won’t even get to half his father’s number with just 33 wives. The more important thing though is that Mswati has more siblings than any other royal or monarch in the world – 96 of them.

•They are vegetarian and spend most of their time in the water, but on a continent which hosts lions, leopards and elephants, it can be a puzzling fact that the hippopotamus is responsible for the most human deaths, killing approximately 3,000 people a year. Lions only manage 70 – just 2.3% of the hippos’ toll.

•There is 1 car per 1,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa, meanwhile in California there are 840 cars per 1,000 people.  The population of sub-Saharan Africa (i.e. minus the Arab countries in the north) is just over 900m. California’s is 38.3m.

•Africa produces 71% of the world’s tantalum – without this the world’s production of mobile phones and laptops would come to a standstill.

•In Nigeria, over a million people are currently employed by Nollywood – Nigeria’s film industry that is very popular in most of Africa. This makes Nollywood the country’s second largest formal employer after agriculture.

•The African country with the least amount of paved road is Sao Tome and Principe – it has only 320km. It has an excuse, It consists of two archipelagos around the two main islands, and its total land size is 964sq kms. It has a population of nearly 190,000.

•In a ranking of the world’s 15 biggest landowners, three of the top 15 are Africans. King Mswati of Swaziland came in 12th with 6,704 square miles of land in Swaziland – there are no title deeds or land titles in the country. King Lestie III of Lesotho came in 10th with all 11,718 square miles of Lesotho, and King Mohammed VI of Morocco came in 4th with 175.6m acres of Morocco.

•The West African country of Benin has the highest national average of twinning, with a whopping 27.9 twins per 1,000 births. The world average for twin births is 13.6 twins per 1,000 births

•Lake Malawi is home to more species of fish than any other lake. Around 15% of the global total freshwater species are found there.