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Religion in Africa

The African continent is dominated by Christianity, Islam and traditional religions in local cultures.

Religion in Africa


Christianity was dominant throughout Roman (and later partly Byzantine) North Africa until the Arab conquest in the 6th century. The Coptic Church continues to live in Egypt and Ethiopia.

Africa Christianity

Sub-Saharan Christianity has come with the European colonial powers; first and foremost the Portuguese (from the early 16th century), then with the Dutch (from the 16th century in South Africa) and from the 1800s with the other colonial powers.

Mission from other countries was also organized. From the 1840s there was a Norwegian mission in South Africa, from the 1860s in Madagascar. In the 1900s, numerous "native" African churches have emerged, such as Kimbanguism, especially in southern Africa.


Islam (mainly Sunni ) has been developing rapidly over the last 150 years. Alongside North Africa, Sudan and Somalia, Islam dominates a wide belt across the sub-Saharan continent as well as the coastal region of East Africa down to Mozambique.

Africa Islam

The traditional ethnic religions

The traditional ethnic religions are found partly in West Africa, partly in Central and East Africa, South Sudan and parts of Ethiopia, but also in areas in southern Africa. These religions are closely linked to traditional way of life (agriculture, cattle keeping, hunting) and are therefore under strong pressure, not only from Christian mission and Islamic propaganda, but also from social and ecological changes such as urbanization and desertification.

A fundamental common feature of traditional religions is the belief in a generally distant high god; a hierarchy of inferior gods and spirit beings, often associated with nature (forests, rivers); an active cult of the ancestors; and a widespread belief in witches and the use of magic and fetishes.


The formerly numerous Jewish population in North Africa has almost completely emigrated to Israel after 1948.


Over the past 40 years, Africa has had a strong population increase, and today has more than one billion people. According to Abbreviationfinder, the population is relatively young, and in several countries more than half of the population is under 25. But population development is not as high across the continent. While several countries in North Africa have a birth rate similar to that in Europe, that is, just enough to sustain today's population, some countries in West Africa stand out with very high birth rates. In East Africa, several countries also have strong population growth, while southern Africa has experienced a decline in birth rates.

Africa population

The Sahara and the driest Savannah areas are thinnest. Since most of the African countries, since the 1980s, there has been a large migration from rural to urban, which has led to significant social and economic problems, which is seen in all countries with economic growth.

The most important religions are Islam north of the equator except Ethiopia, which also has a large population professing to Coptic-Orthodox Christianity. Christianity is most prevalent in South and East Africa as well as in coastal areas. In many parts of Africa, a variety of traditional religions still exist, with common features as a creative god and the cultivation of ancestors and natural objects. Beliefs about witches, fetishes and magic, and the traditional religions, are also partly incorporated into local varieties of Islam and Christianity.

There are about 3000 languages ​​spoken on the continent. The African languages ​​are often divided into four language families: the Afro-Asian family, the Niger-Congo family, the Nilo-Sahara family and the Khoisan family. In Madagascar, Malagasy is spoken, which belongs to the Austronesian language family. In North Africa, Arabic is most prevalent, in West Africa Hausa and in East Africa Swahili. In Ethiopia, amhara is the biggest language. In sub-Saharan Africa, English, French or Portuguese are still official languages. In South Africa is still Afrikaans official language but the main language is isiZulu.

Countries in Africa
  1. Algeria
  2. Angola
  3. Benin
  4. Botswana
  5. Burkina Faso
  6. Burundi
  7. Cameroon
  8. Cabo Verde
  9. Central African Republic
  10. Chad
  11. Comoros
  12. Democratic Republic of the Congo
  13. Djibouti
  14. Egypt
  15. Equatorial Guinea
  16. Eritrea
  17. Eswatini
  18. Ethiopia
  19. Gabon
  20. Gambia
  21. Ghana
  22. Guinea
  23. Guinea-Bissau
  24. Ivory Coast
  25. Kenya
  26. Lesotho
  27. Liberia
  28. Libya
  29. Madagascar
  30. Malawi
  31. Mali
  32. Mauritania
  33. Mauritius
  34. Morocco
  35. Mozambique
  36. Namibia
  37. Niger
  38. Nigeria
  39. Republic of the Congo
  40. Rwanda
  41. Sao Tome and Principe
  42. Senegal
  43. Seychelles
  44. Sierra Leone
  45. Somalia
  46. South Africa
  47. South Sudan
  48. Sudan
  49. Tanzania
  50. Togo
  51. Tunisia
  52. Uganda
  53. Western Sahara
  54. Zambia
  55. Zimbabwe

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