North Africa refers to a group of countries and territories occupying the northerly region of the African continent. There is no clear definition of the extent and boundaries of North Africa. It is often defined as the part of Africa stretching from the Atlantic shores in the west to the Red Sea coast and Suez Canal in the east, and including the 6 countries of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Sudan . Some sources, however, equate North Africa to the Maghreb region which includes Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, and Morocco. The Arabs considered it the western part of the Arab world. Hence, when referred to in the context of Middle East and North Africa (MENA), it includes only the Maghreb countries.
The 6 Countries Of North Africa
The People's Democratic Republic of Algeria is Africa's largest nation with an area of 2,381,740 km2. The population estimate for the country is 43,053,050, making it the 33rd most populous nation in the world. The capital city of Algeria is Algiers. 99% of the country's inhabitants are Arab-Berbers, and the official languages of Algeria are Berber and Arabic. Algeria is an upper-middle income nation, and its economy mostly relies on energy exports.
The Arab Republic of Egypt occupies the Northeast portion of the African Continent and it is only separated from southwest Asia by the Sinai Peninsula. The country has an area of 1,001,450 km2, and its population of around 100,388,070. Its largest city is its administrative capital, Cairo. The official language of Egypt is Arabic while Egyptian Arabic is its national language. Ancient Egypt is famous for being a cradle for civilization.
The State of Libya is Africa's fourth largest nation with a total area of approximately 1,759,540 km2. Its administrative capital is Tripoli, and it also doubles as the country's largest city with a population of over 1 million people. The official language of Libya is Arabic while Islam is the state religion. Libya's economy depends primarily on its oil sector, and according to OPEC, the country has the tenth largest measurable oil reserves globally.
The Kingdom of Morocco is also one of the Maghreb nations of North Africa. The country occupies an area of 716,550 km2, and it is home to a population of 36,471,770. The indigenous inhabitants of Morocco are the Berbers and even today, 99% of the country's population are Arab-Berbers. The official religion of the state is Sunni Islam, while the official languages are Berber and Arabic. Morocco's nominal GDP estimate for 2017 was $109.82, making it the fifth largest economy in Africa.
Sudan covers a large area of 1,861,484 km2 in North Africa. It hosts a population of 42,813,240 individuals. It was Africa's largest country prior to the secession of South Sudan in 2011. Sudan was an Islamic state prior to it becoming a secular one in 2020. The country has a lower-middle income economy.
The Republic of Tunisia is a Northwest African country bordering Libya, Algeria, and the Mediterranean Sea. Its capital city is Tunis, and the official language of Algeria is Arabic. The state covers 163,610 km2 of area, and the population is around 11,694,720. Two sub-ranges of the Atlas Mountains, Tell Atlas range and Aurés Mountains, traverse the western portion of the country.
Territories Of North Africa
Besides the 6 countries, several other territories are also considered to be part of North Africa. They comprise of the Canary Islands, Pelagie Islands, and Moroccan claimed Spanish sovereign territories like Ceuta and Melilla. Other territories include Western Sahara, and Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, which is a partially recognized state.