Sub-Saharan Africa Countries


The above map shows most of the individual countries of Sub-Saharan Africa dominant culture region.

There are a total of 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, yet some of the countries listed are actually within the Sahara Desert area and not located south of its borders.  North Africa is part of the Islamic Global Village, or culture region, and part of what is known as the Arab world.  Those countries that are designated part of the Arab world, but also geographically in Sub-Saharan Africa are: Somalia, Djibouti, Comoros, and Mauritania.

The two regions of Africa have been separate since around 3500 BC because the Sahara Desert is not an ideally habitable region.  It forms a unique barrier between the two geographic locations.  Some early civilizations developed south of the Sahara Desert in Central Africa, which had walled settlements and evidence of a culture built around the technology of iron smelting.

Countries, cultures, populations, and boundaries have changed often over the history of Sub-Saharan Africa, but in 2014 the following countries are listed as part of Sub-Saharan Africa by the United Nations.  Students need to remember that although every Global Village has political barriers and borders, cultures do not necessarily have borders.  When various groups of people have contact with neighboring groups in close proximity, cultures overlap.  Customs, cultures, celebrations, religions, worldviews, and languages diffuse in all directions, contributing to complex diversity in many areas.

Sub-Saharan Africa Countries, Alphabetically


Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi

Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, and Comoros (part of the Arab world, see explanation above) Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire

Dijibouti (part of the Arab world, see explanation above) Religion is both Christian and Muslim and this was previously a territory of France

Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia

Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau


Lesotho, Liberia (origins are African slave colony of freed slaves from the United States of America)

Madagascar (island), Malawi, Mali, Mauritania (part of the Arab world, see explanation above), Mauritius, Mozambique

Namibia, Niger, NIgeria


Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland

Tanzania, Togo


Zambia, Zimbabwe

Maps of Sub-Saharan Africa Global Village


Many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have faced chronic malnutrition for many decades due to civil unrest, famine, tribal conflicts, ethnic cleansing, and political upheavals.

Conflicts in the 21st century seem to be in decline, but as noted by the red stars there are many places where constant strife prevents people from making a living, from having clean water to drink, from raising crops, and having normal family relationships, which provide safety, security, and the consistent availability of proper food.


















Population demographics give an idea of which areas of Sub-Saharan Africa are the most densely populated.


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