World Facts

The Largest Countries in Africa

Algeria is the biggest country in Africa by land area.

Africa is the second largest continent in the world and covers 6% of the earth’s total surface area. Africa covers about 11.7 million square miles with the adjacent islands included. By 2016, Africa had a population of 1.2 billion people which is about 16% of the world’s population. The Indian Ocean surrounds Africa on the southeast, the Atlantic Ocean to the West, the Mediterranean Sea to the North and the Red Sea and the Suez Canal to the North East.

The Top 5 Largest Countries in Africa

1. Algeria

Algeria is the largest country in Africa with an area of 919,595 square miles and the 10th largest country in the world. Algeria was colonized by French in 1830 putting an end to Algerian slave trade and gained its independence in 1962. Algeria exports large quantities of natural gas to Europe due to its large reservoirs of gas and oil making the export of energy as the country’s backbone. Algeria imports its weapons from Russia, and it is a member of the African Union, United Nations, and the Arab Leagues. The capital city of Algeria is Algiers with Islam being a common religion. The Sahara Desert covers the southern part of Algeria making the country a semi-desert with very hot middays and chilly nights. Algeria experienced civil war from 1991 to 1997 when a cease-fire was declared and later elections held in 1999 which saw Abdelaziz Bouteflika emerge as the president.

2. The Democratic Republic Of The Congo

The DRC is found in Central Africa, and the first people to settle in the present-day DRC were the Bantu. Congo gained independence in 1960, by then it was known as the Republic of Congo. The DRC has a population of 78 million people which ranks as the fourth most populous nation in Africa. The capital city of DRC is Kinshasa, but there are other two large cities like Lubumbashi and Mbuji-Mayi which have mining sites. The Democratic Republic of Congo has had political instability and therefore has some of the poorest infrastructures. Corruption is another issue that has affected the country’s growth. The total area of the DRC is 905,355 square miles and the country larger than the combined area of Norway, Sweden, Germany, France, and Spain. The DRC presently have 25 provinces and the city province of Kinshasa. The provinces, in turn, are divided into districts and further subdivided into territories. Initially, the country was made up of 11 provinces until 2015. The DRC is the largest producer of cobalt ore in the world and the second producer of diamonds in the world. The country is also a major producer of copper. At the independence, the country was the second most industrialized country in Africa following South Africa. The conflict has drastically reduced the national output of the country and significantly increased the external debt. More than 5 million people died from war and the resulting diseases and famine. Approximately two-thirds of the country are affected by malnutrition.

3. Sudan

Sudan covers a total area of 728,215 square miles and is also known as Northern Sudan. Sudan is the 3rd largest country in Africa with an estimated population of 39,578,828 by the census of 2016. Sudan has rich in minerals deposits such as chromite, gold copper, granite, iron lead, magnesium, petroleum, and nickel among others. The central and northern parts of Sudan hardly receive any rainfall making and is part of the Nubian Desert, which is found in the Northeast and Bayuda Desert found in the Eastern part of the country. The Southern part of Sudan receives enough rainfall which lasts up to six months. Sudan being mainly an Islamic state, it is governed by sharia law. Khartoum is the capital city of Sudan.

4. Libya

Libya’s capital city is Tripoli, and it has a population of one million of Libya’s six million population. Libya has an area of 700,000 square miles, and it is a fourth largest country in Africa and sixteenth in the world. Libya gained its independence in 1951 and was declared as the United Kingdom of Libya. The Libyan Desert covers most of the country where hardly any rain falls. Libya imports 90% of its cereals and wheat to be able to feed its people. Despite all these, Libya has the largest oil reserves in Africa with revenue from the oil sector accounting to 80% of the country’s GDP. Libya suffers from acute unemployment levels, weak governance, and poor institutions. The official language in Libya is Arabic though different communities speak different languages. Most of the country’s population are Muslims.

5. Chad

Chad is a country in central Africa, and it is a landlocked country occupying a total area of 496,000 square miles with an estimated population of 13,670,084 people by 2015. Chad is often referred to as the “Dead Heart of Africa,” and its capital city is N’Djamena. Chad is divided into three climatic zones namely; Sudanian savanna, Sahara Desert, and the Sahelian belt. Plants which grow in the country correspond to the three climatic conditions. Even though poaching is slowly diminishing the presence of wild animals, Food and Agricultural Organization is making efforts to improve relations between pastoralists, Zakouma National Park, and farmers. Chad has over 200 different ethnic communities with different religious and cultural practices. French Civil Law forms Chad’s legal system although the nation has Chadian Customary Law which does not affect public order.


Although Africa is termed as a developing continent, there are large deposits in almost every country, and some countries have one of the favorable climatic conditions. “Desert countries” sustain their economies with oil and gas deposit which have been exploited and exported to other countries. Some of the countries have wildlife which becomes a great source of wealth to these nations because of tourists pay a visit. There have been setbacks to the development of most African countries. Some of these problems include internal wrangles, corruption, and poaching of wild animals. Measures have been put in place to minimize poaching by creating national parks and game reserves.

The 10 Largest Countries in Africa By Land Area

RankCountryArea in Square Miles
2Democratic Republic of the Congo905,355
9South Africa470,900

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