Where Is Sub-Saharan Africa?
Sub-Saharan Africa is a term used to refer to approximately 44 countries located south of the Sahara Desert. Historically, the people living in this region have been geographically isolated from North Africa, which has had more contact with the Arab world. This article takes a closer look at the distinguishing features of Sub-Saharan Africa.
Biomes Of Sub-Saharan Africa
Because Sub-Saharan Africa covers a large geographical area, it is home to a number of ecological regions, or biomes. Some of these biomes include the Sahel, the savanna belt, tropical rainforest, and the Horn of Africa.
The Sahel region stretches across Chad, Mauritania, Niger, Sudan, and Mali. It includes part of the Sahara desert, has a semi-arid climate, and separates Sub-Saharan Africa from North Africa.
The savanna belt is south of the Sahel region. It is characterized by large wooded grassland ecosystems. This biome stretches across the continent and includes most of Ethiopia and South Sudan.
The tropical rainforest is concentrated west of the African Great Lakes and covers most of the Congo region and the southern coastal area of West Africa. It is characterized by a tropical, wet climate.
The Horn of Africa is dominated by hot, semi-arid climate and desert, with the exception of the savanna region of Ethiopia.
Other regions in Africa include: the Eastern Miombo forests, which are characterized by valleys, rivers, and wetlands and are located throughout Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania; the Serengeti, which is home to the largest land mammal migration in the world and is found in northwestern Tanzania and parts of southwestern Kenya; the Bushveld, a tropical savanna in South Africa; the Kalahari Basin, which includes the Kalahari Desert and surrounding area within Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Angola; and the Karoo, which is a semi-desert region in South Africa.
Additionally, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Africa are considered megadiverse countries.
Demographics Of Sub-Saharan Africa
The population of Sub-Saharan Africa was estimated at around 800 million in 2007. It is predicted to reach between 1.5 and 2 billion by 2050. The growth rate here is approximately 2.3% - of the 50 countries around the world with the highest fertility rate, 40 are located in Sub-Saharan Africa. Over 40% of the population here is 15 years of age or younger with women having an average of 4 children during their lifetime.
Additionally, the population of Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the most ethnically diverse in the world. The people here speak over 1,000 different languages. Those belonging to the Afro-Asiatic family are some of the oldest in the world. Life expectancy ranges from 61.8 to 32.6. In 25 Sub-Saharan countries, the life expectancy is below 50 years of age and in 7 countries it is below 40 years of age. This short life expectancy has been attributed to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and little to no access to health care services.
The culture here is equally as diverse as other characteristics of the region. Most of the people living in Sub-Saharan Africa, however, share a common communal tradition. This means that family and community are more important than the individual.