The term East Africa describes the easterly part of the African Continent. This region is also known as Eastern Africa, and it is made up of 22 countries. The nations traverse the continent from north to south, with Egypt being the northernmost country while Mozambique occupies the southernmost position. Eastern Africa is home to more than 500 million people, and the population is anticipated to reach 890 million by 2050. The people of East Africa speak different languages, and language predominance varies by country. The largest state in the region is Sudan with an area of 1,861,484 km2 while Mayotte is the smallest nation with a total area of 374 km2.
Regions of East Africa
East African Community
The East African Community (EAC) refers to an intergovernmental partnership formed by six states in Central East Africa. They include Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Burundi, and Rwanda. The organization was established in 1967, and its headquarters is in Arusha, Tanzania.
Horn of Africa
The Horn of Africa is a collective term used to refer to four countries in Northeast Africa. The four nations are Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, and Djibouti. Ethiopia is the largest country in the region with an area of 1,100,000 km2. Ethiopia has a population of over 102 million inhabitants, making it the most populous country in the Horn of Africa. Djibouti, which occupies an area of 23,000 km2, is the region's smallest country.
The Nile Valley lies in the northeastern portion of Africa. It is made up of Egypt, South Sudan, and Sudan. These states are sometimes considered to be part of the Northern African region, but they are members of the COMESA free trade area which comprises countries in Eastern and Southern Africa. Egypt has the strongest economy in the Nile Valley with a nominal GDP of $237.073 billion as of 2017.
The Southern Region of East Africa
Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe are part of East Africa, but they are also often included in Southern Africa. Mozambique is the largest of the five nations with an area of 801,590 km2. Malawi, which occupies 118,000 km2, is the smallest country in southern East Africa. Madagascar lies in the Indian Ocean, and it is the largest island nation in East Africa.
The Small Island Nations of Africa
The small island nations of East Africa include Comoros, Seychelles, Mauritius, and two overseas territories of France, Mayotte and Réunion. Réunion has the largest area among the five islands with a total area of 2,512 km2 followed by Mauritius with 2,040 km2. Comoros and Seychelles occupy 1,862 km2 and 459 km2 respectively. The five islands are famous for their numerous beaches and coral reefs, and they are popular destinations for tourists.
Which Countries Are Commonly Referred to as East Africa?
Although all the countries mentioned above are found in the Eastern African region, the term East Africa is conventionally used to refer to seven states in this portion of Africa. They include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Somalia. Some people may also use the term when referring to the three countries formerly known as German East Africa or the British East Africa Protectorate: Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.