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Rwanda
Rwanda officially the Republic of Rwanda  is a landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley where the African Great Lakes region and East Africa converge. One of the smallest countries on the African mainland, its capital city is Kigali. Located a few degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is highly elevated with its geography dominated by mountains in the west and savanna to the east, with numerous lakes throughout the country. The climate is temperate to subtropical, with two rainy seasons and two dry seasons each year. Rwanda has a population of over 12.6 million living on 26,338 km2 (10,169 mi2) of land, and is the most densely populated mainland African country. The population is young and predominantly rural, with a density among the highest in Africa. Rwandans are drawn from just one cultural and linguistic group, the Banyarwanda, although within this group there are three subgroups: the Hutu, Tutsi and Twa. The Twa are a forest-dwelling pygmy people and are often considered descendants of Rwanda's earliest inhabitants. Scholars disagree on the origins of and differences between the Hutu and Tutsi; some believe differences are derived from former social castes within a single people, while others believe the Hutu and Tutsi arrived in the country separately, and from different locations. Christianity is the largest religion in the country; the principal language is Kinyarwanda, spoken by most Rwandans, with English and French serving as additional official languages. The economy is based mostly on subsistence agriculture. Coffee and tea are the major cash crops for export. Tourism is a fast-growing sector and is now the country's leading foreign exchange earner. Rwanda is one of only two countries in which mountain gorillas can be visited safely, and visitors pay high prices for gorilla tracking permits. Music and dance are an integral part of Rwandan culture, particularly drums and the highly choreographed intore dance. Traditional arts and crafts are produced throughout the country, including imigongo, a unique cow dung art.   Dialing code: +250 Currency: Rwandan franc Population: 12.3 million (2018) World Bank Official languages: Kinyarwanda, French, Swahili, English
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Niger
Niger or the Niger officially the Republic of the Niger is a landlocked country in West Africa named after the Niger River. Niger is bordered by Libya to the northeast, Chad to the east, Nigeria to the south, Benin to the southwest, Mali to the north-west, Burkina Faso to the south-west, and Algeria to the northwest. Niger covers a land area of almost 1,270,000 km2 (490,000 sq mi), making it the largest country in West Africa. Over 80% of its land area lies in the Sahara Desert. The country's predominantly Muslim population of about 22 millions live mostly in clusters in the far south and west of the country. The capital and largest city is Niamey, located in Niger's southwest corner. Many of the non-desert portions of the country are threatened by periodic drought and desertification. The economy is concentrated around subsistence, with some export agriculture in the more fertile south, and export of raw materials, especially uranium ore. Nigerien society reflects a diversity drawn from the long independent histories of its several ethnic groups and regions and their relatively short period living in a single state.   Capital: Niamey Population: 22.44 million (2018) World Bank President: Mahamadou Issoufou Currency: West African CFA franc Official language: French
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Namibia
Namibia officially the Republic of Namibia, is a country in Southern Africa. Its western border is the Atlantic Ocean; it shares land borders with Zambia and Angola to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. Although it does not border Zimbabwe, less than 200 metres (660 feet) of the Zambezi River separates the two countries. Namibia gained independence from South Africa on 21 March 1990, following the Namibian War of Independence. Its capital and largest city is Windhoek. Namibia is a member state of the United Nations (UN), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU) and the Commonwealth of Nations. Namibia, a country in southwest Africa, is distinguished by the Namib Desert along its Atlantic Ocean coast. The country is home to diverse wildlife, including a significant cheetah population. The capital, Windhoek, and coastal town Swakopmund contain German colonial-era buildings such as Windhoek's Christuskirche, built in 1907. In the north, Etosha National Park’s salt pan draws game including rhinos and giraffes. Namibia has a population of 2.6 million people and a stable multi-party parliamentary democracy. Agriculture, herding, tourism and the mining industry – including mining for gem diamonds, uranium, gold, silver and base metals – form the basis of its economy. The large, arid Namib Desert has resulted in Namibia being overall one of the least densely populated countries in the world.     Capital: Windhoek Dialing code: +264 Population: 2.448 million (2018) World Bank Currencies: South African rand, Namibian dollar Official language: English
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Mozambique
Mozambique officially the Republic of Mozambique is a country located in Southern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west, and Eswatini (Swaziland) and South Africa to the southwest. The sovereign state is separated from the Comoros, Mayotte and Madagascar by the Mozambique Channel to the east. The capital and largest city of Mozambique is Maputo (formerly known as "Lourenço Marques" from 1876 to 1976). Mozambique is endowed with rich and extensive natural resources. The country's economy is based largely on agriculture, but industry is growing, mainly food and beverages, chemical manufacturing and aluminium and petroleum production. The tourism sector is also expanding. South Africa is Mozambique's main trading partner and source of foreign direct investment, while Belgium, Brazil, Portugal and Spain are also among the country's most important economic partners. Since 2001, Mozambique's annual average GDP growth has been among the world's highest.   The only official language of Mozambique is Portuguese, which is spoken mostly as a second language by about half the population. Common native languages include Makhuwa, Sena, and Swahili. The country's population of around 29 million is composed of overwhelmingly Bantu people.   The largest religion in Mozambique is Christianity, with significant minorities following Islam and African traditional religions. Mozambique is a southern African nation whose long Indian Ocean coastline is dotted with popular beaches like Tofo, as well as offshore marine parks. In the Quirimbas Archipelago, a 250km stretch of coral islands, mangrove-covered Ibo Island has colonial-era ruins surviving from a period of Portuguese rule. The Bazaruto Archipelago farther south has reefs which protect rare marine life including dugongs.   Capital: Maputo Currency: Mozambican metical Population: 29.5 million (2018) World Bank Official language: Portuguese Points of interest: Bazaruto Archipelago, Island of Mozambique
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Morocco
Morocco officially the Kingdom of Morocco is a country located in the Maghreb region of North Africa. It overlooks the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, with land borders with Algeria to the east and Western Sahara to the south (status disputed). Morocco also claims the exclaves of Ceuta, Melilla and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, all of them under Spanish jurisdiction, as well as several small Spanish-controlled islands off its coast. The capital is Rabat and the largest city is Casablanca. Morocco spans an area of 710,850 km2 (274,460 sq mi) and has a population of over 36 million. Morocco's predominant religion is Islam, and its official languages are Arabic and Berber, the latter achieving official recognition in 2011, having been the native language of Morocco before the Muslim conquest in the seventh century C.E. The Moroccan dialect of Arabic, referred to as Darija, and French are also widely spoken. Moroccan culture is a blend of Berber, Arab, Sephardi Jews, West African and European influences. Morocco is a member of the Arab League, the Union for the Mediterranean and the African Union.   Capital: Rabat Currency: Moroccan dirham Population: 36.03 million (2018) World Bank Points of interest: Jemaa el-Fna, Jardin Majorelle, Bahia Palace, MORE Official language: Arabic
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Mauritius
Mauritius officially the Republic of Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) off the south-east coast of the African continent. The country includes the islands of Mauritius, Rodrigues, Agaléga and St. Brandon. The islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues form part of the Mascarene Islands, along with nearby Réunion, a French overseas department. The capital and largest city, Port Louis, is located on the main island of Mauritius. The country is 2,040 square kilometres (790 sq mi) in area, while its Exclusive Economic Zone covers 2.3 million square kilometres. The people of Mauritius are multiethnic, multi-religious, multicultural and multilingual. The island's government is closely modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system, and Mauritius is highly ranked for democracy and for economic and political freedom. Mauritius is categorised as "high" in the Human Development Index. According to the World Bank, the country has an upper-middle-income economy. Mauritius is ranked as the most competitive and one of the most developed economies in the African region. The country is a welfare state; the government provides free universal health care, free education up to tertiary level and free public transport for students, senior citizens, and the disabled. Mauritius was ranked among the safest or most peaceful countries by the Global Peace Index 2019. Along with the other Mascarene Islands, Mauritius is known for its varied flora and fauna, with many species endemic to the island. The island was the only known home of the dodo, which, along with several other avian species, was made extinct by human activities relatively shortly after the island's settlement. Mauritius is the only country in Africa where Hinduism is the largest religion. The administration uses English as its main language.   Capital: Port Louis Area: 2,040 km² Population: 1.265 million (2018) World Bank Government: Parliamentary republic Prime minister: Pravind Jugnauth
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Mauritania
Mauritania officially the Islamic Republic of Mauritania is a country in Northwest Africa. It is the eleventh largest sovereign state in Africa and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Western Sahara to the north and northwest, Algeria to the northeast, Mali to the east and southeast, and Senegal to the southwest. The country derives its name from the ancient Berber kingdom of Mauretania, which existed from the 3rd century BCE into the 7th century CE in the modern-day Morocco and West Algeria. Prior to the Islamization of the country by Arab conquests in the 8th century, Mauritania was inhabited by nomadic Berbers since the 3rd century. Mauritania became a French colony during the European Scramble for Africa. Approximately 90% of Mauritania's land is within the Sahara; consequently, the population is concentrated in the south, where precipitation is slightly higher. The capital and largest city is Nouakchott, located on the Atlantic coast, which is home to around one-third of the country's 4 million people. The country's official religion is Islam, with almost the entire population being Sunni Muslims. Arabic is the official language, with French also widely used due to its colonial history. The country's economy has an abundance of natural resources based on agriculture and livestock, and major industries include mining (particularly iron ore), petroleum, and fishing.   Capital: Nouakchott Area: 1.03 million km² Population: 4.403 million (2018) World Bank Recognised national languages: Hassaniya Arabic Berber; Pulaar; Soninke; Wolof a Currencies: Mauritanian ouguiya, Ouguiya
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Mali
Mali officially the Republic of Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa. Mali is the eighth-largest country in Africa, with an area of just over 1,240,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi). The population of Mali is 19.1 million. 67% of its population was estimated to be under the age of 25 in 2017. Its capital is Bamako. The sovereign state of Mali consists of eight regions and its borders on the north reach deep into the middle of the Sahara Desert, while the country's southern part, where the majority of inhabitants live, features the Niger and Senegal rivers. The country's economy centers on agriculture and mining. Some of Mali's prominent natural resources include gold, being the third largest producer of gold in the African continent, and salt. During its golden age, there was a flourishing of mathematics, astronomy, literature, and art.   Capital: Bamako Continent: Africa Population: 19.08 million (2018) World Bank Points of interest: Great Mosque of Djenne, MORE Official language: French  
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Malawi
Malawi officially the Republic of Malawi, is a landlocked country in Southeastern Africa that was formerly known as Nyasaland. It is bordered by Zambia to the west, Tanzania to the north and northeast, and Mozambique surrounding on the east, south and southwest. Malawi spans over 118,484 km2 (45,747 sq mi) and has an estimated population of 18,143,217 (as of July 2018). Lake Malawi, also known as Lake Nyasa, takes up about a third of Malawi's area. Its capital is Lilongwe, which is also Malawi's largest city; the second largest is Blantyre, the third largest is Mzuzu and the fourth largest is its old capital Zomba. The name Malawi comes from the Maravi, an old name of the Nyanja people that inhabit the area. The country is nicknamed "The Warm Heart of Africa" because of the friendliness of the people.   The part of Africa now known as Malawi was settled by migrating Bantu groups around the 10th century. Centuries later in 1891 the area was colonised by the British. In 1953 Malawi, then known as Nyasaland, a protectorate of the United Kingdom, became a protectorate within the semi-independent Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. The Federation was dissolved in 1963. In 1964 the protectorate over Nyasaland was ended and Nyasaland became an independent country under Queen Elizabeth II with the new name Malawi. Two years later it became a republic.   The economy is heavily based in agriculture, with a largely rural population that is growing at a rapid rate.   Capital: Lilongwe Currency: Malawian kwacha Population: 18.14 million (2018) World Bank Recognised regional languages: List: Yao; Tumbuka; Tonga; Sena; Lomwe; Ngonde; Lambya Official language: English
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Madagascar
Madagascar officially the Republic of Madagascar and previously known as the Malagasy Republic, is an island country in the Indian Ocean, approximately 400 kilometres (250 miles) off the coast of East Africa. At 592,800 square kilometres (228,900 sq mi) Madagascar is the world's second-largest island country. The nation comprises the island of Madagascar (the fourth-largest island in the world) and numerous smaller peripheral islands. Following the prehistoric breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana, Madagascar split from the Indian subcontinent around 88 million years ago, allowing native plants and animals to evolve in relative isolation. Consequently, Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot; over 90% of its wildlife is found nowhere else on Earth. The island's diverse ecosystems and unique wildlife are threatened by the encroachment of the rapidly growing human population and other environmental threats. The archaeological evidence of the earliest human foraging on Madagascar may date up to 10,000 years ago. Human settlement of Madagascar occurred between 350 BC and 550 AD by Indianized Austronesian peoples, arriving on outrigger canoes from Indonesia. The social and religious situation of Indonesia during those times were that of Hinduism and Buddhism, along with native Indonesian culture. These were joined around the 9th century AD by Bantu migrants crossing the Mozambique Channel from East Africa. Other groups continued to settle on Madagascar over time, each one making lasting contributions to Malagasy cultural life. The Malagasy ethnic group is often divided into 18 or more subgroups, of which the largest are the Merina of the central highlands. Malagasy and French are both official languages of the state. The majority of the population adheres to traditional beliefs, Christianity, or an amalgamation of both. Ecotourism and agriculture, paired with greater investments in education, health, and private enterprise, are key elements of Madagascar's development strategy.   Capital: Antananarivo Dialing code: +261 Currency: Malagasy ariary Population: 26.26 million (2018) World Bank President: Andry Rajoelina
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