There are six North African countries according to the United Nations (U.N). In addition, Northern Africa is home to one disputed territory. This is the Western Sahara. The largest African country, Algeria, is found in this region.
North Africa is also the driest and richest region in Africa. This is because the Northern Africa countries have large oil reserves. Moreover, North Africa is rich in other natural resources. These include copper, gold and uranium.
Egypt is one of the top tourist destinations in Africa whose top export is crude oil. Being mainly oil producers, the countries in the northern region of Africa sell most of their products to the West. Europe is the biggest importer of North African products, followed by the United States.
Northern Africa countries also have lower population than most of the other 48 countries of Africa. Nigeria in West Africa is the most populous African nation. The northernmost country in Africa is Tunisia. One of the richest countries in Africa is Egypt. These two countries are in North Africa.
List of North African Countries
The following is the list of North African countries and territories.
Capital City: Tunis
Population (2019): 11.7 million
Currency: Tunisian Dinar
Tunisia has the most northern region of Africa. This is the Ras ben Sakka region that borders the Mediterranean Sea. Tunisia and Morocco are the top olive oil producers in Africa. Other leading olive oil exporters are Spain, Turkey, Greece and Italy.
Many Tunisians are active in the agricultural sector. Apart from olive oil, the North African country produces grains, olives, citrus fruits, vegetables such as tomatoes, almonds and several dairy products. Tunisia borders the Mediterranean Sea. As a result, fishing has traditionally been important to their culture and economy.
Fun fact: Tunisia is one of the most popular tourism destinations in Africa. Several big movies have also been filmed in the beautiful North African country, including several movies in the Star Wars franchise.
Capital City: Algiers
Population (2019): 43 million
Currency: Algerian Dinar (DZD)
Algeria is Africa’s biggest country by land mass. The country is about a quarter the size of the U.S, but Algeria is 10 times bigger than the UK and 4 times bigger than France. The North African country’s official name is the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria.
Most of Algeria is a desert. Oil and gas are the main exports: but Algeria also has deposits of iron, silicon, zinc and lead. Other economic activities in Algeria include cement and fertilizer production, iron and steel production and fruits and vegetable farming – olives, nuts, dates and citrus fruits.
Fun fact: Algeria was the second largest African country after the Sudan. But Sudan was split into two countries in 2011: Sudan and the smaller South Sudan. This made Algeria the biggest country in Africa.
Capital City: Cairo
Population (2019): 100 million
Currency: Egyptian Pound
Egypt is the oldest country in Africa, famous for their ancient rulers who were known as Pharaohs. Cairo, the capital city, is the largest city in Africa by size (while Lagos in Nigeria is the largest city by population). The North African country is also one of the richest countries in Africa. Oil and petroleum are the main natural resources found in Egypt. Gold and tourism are also leading sources of revenue.
The country has many ancient monuments, the most famous being the Egyptian pyramids and the Great Sphinx of Giza. Egypt has only one permanent river called The Nile. This is the longest river in Africa, and it is crucial to Egyptian Agriculture. Wheat, barley and grain (especially rice) are the main agricultural products of Egypt.
Fun fact: The hairless and hypoallergenic Sphynx cats are named after the Great Sphinx of Egypt. But these cats did not originate in Egypt. They also a new breed who were first bred in Europe in the mid-1990s, while Egypt is an ancient country.
Capital City: Tripoli
Population (2019): 6.8 million
Currency: Libyan Dinar
Libya is on one of the most oil-rich countries in Africa. The country has the biggest oil reserves in the continent. Over 80% of Libyan oil ends up in Europe. Natural gas, crude oil and petroleum products make up over 95% of the North African country’s exports.
Other natural resources found in Libya include lime, gypsum, salt and cement. The mostly desert country borders the Mediterranean Sea in the North. Arabic is the official language in Libya.
Fun fact: Many older Libyans understand and speak Italian language. This is because Italy colonized Libya. Several parts of Libya were also under the Ottoman Empire before the arrival of the Italians.
Capital City: Rabat
Population (2019): 36 million
Currency: Moroccan Dirham
Morocco is one of the most beautiful African countries. In addition, the Northern Africa Arab nation’s people are tolerant and peaceful in nature. Morocco is a top tourist destination in Africa. Arabic is the most spoken language in Morocco. But over 8 million inhabitants of this North African country speak Spanish as well.
The country has many cultural and historical sites that attract tourists, and a beautiful coastline that borders both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Morocco is the African nation that is closest to Europe. Moroccans are only separated from Spain by the narrow Strait of Gibraltar. Iron, zinc, phosphates, leather products are top economic activities in Morocco.
Fun fact: The Strait of Gibraltar is a narrow strait that provides the only connection between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, and separates Europe from Africa.
Capital City: Khartoum/ Khartum
Population (2019): 43 million
Currency: Sudanese Pound
Sudan was for many years the largest country in Africa. This was until 2011 when the people of South Sudan voted to separate from Sudan in a referendum. Consequently, the 54th African country was born. Most Sudanese people are Arabs. But the country has other ethnic groups, most famous being the Nubians, Fur and the Dinka.
Oil and natural gas are Sudan’s main sources of revenue. Other minerals found in Sudan include zinc, gold, iron, manganese, silver and copper. Sudan is a big producer of sugar, cotton and livestock.
Fun fact: Pyramids are synonymous with Egypt. But did you know that there are more pyramids in Sudan than in any other country in the world? Moreover, ancient Sudan even had pharaohs of Nubian descent. They were known as the Black Pharaohs!
North African Countries: Western Sahara (Territory)
Western Sahara is one of the territories in Africa. The North African region produces fish. Western Sahara also has deposits of oil, and phosphates that are key in the manufacture of fertilizers and industrial chemicals.
Map of North African Countries
Here is a North African countries map:
Morocco occupies most of the disputed and neighboring territory of Western Sahara. The other parts of the disputed region are occupied by the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. This is a self-proclaimed nation in North-west Africa. The Northwest Africa region is also known as the Maghreb. Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is only partially recognized by other countries.
Mauritania and Algeria are the other two African countries that share a border with Western Sahara.
The main language in the Northern region is Arabic. In addition, the dominant religion is Islam, which replaced the Berber religion. The Berber religion was practiced by the Berbers, the indigenous people in North Africa and most of who still live in Morocco. These are the six North African countries.