North Africa refers to a group of countries and territories occupying the northerly region of the African continent. In most cases, the term defines to the portion of the continent that is encompassed by the Red Sea to the East, the Suez Canal, and the Atlantic shores of Morocco to the West. The countries include Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. The first three countries are also referred to as the Maghreb. The people of North Africa are predominantly Muslim, and their primary language is Arabic. The Sahara Desert cuts across the southern portion of the region, separating the North from other Sub-Saharan African countries.
Which Countries Are Considered to be North Africa?
The People's Democratic Republic of Algeria is Africa's largest nation with an area of 919,595 mi2. As of 2016, the population estimate for the country was 40.4 million, 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 Arabic and Berber. Algeria is an upper-middle income nation, and its economy mostly relies on energy exports.
The Kingdom of Morocco is also one of the Maghreb nations of North Africa. The country occupies an area of 274,460 square miles, and it is home to over 33.8 million people. 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.
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 63,170 mi2 of area, and as of 2016, its population estimate was 11,304,482. Two sub-ranges of the Atlas Mountains, Tell Atlas range and Aurés Mountains, traverse the western portion of the country.
The State of Libya is Africa's fourth largest nation with a total area of approximately 700,000 mi2. 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 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 a total area of 390,121 square miles, and its population estimate in 2017 was 97,113,900. 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.
Territories of North Africa
Besides the five 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.