Africa is the world's second-largest and also the second most-populous continent, after Asia. At about 11.7 million-square miles including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area. Africa stretches from 40 degrees latitude in the north to 34 35' degrees south. Africa has 54 independent countries in which there are 48 mainland and 6 island states. The estimated total population of Africa is 1 billion, which accounts to 15% of the total world population.
The African continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Suez Canal and the Red Sea to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west side. The economic center of the African continent is South Africa which handles major chunk of the total trade in the southern African region. South Africa has a well developed infrastructure and deepwater ports to facilitate the trade in the region. South Africa has signed many agreements with other African countries to enhance the trade in the African region. The most important one in the list is the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Agreement signed in the year 2002, between the governments of the republic of Botswana, the kingdom of Lesotho, the republic of Namibia, the republic of South Africa and the kingdom of Swaziland. The objectives of the agreement is to facilitate the equitable, cross border movement of the goods between the member state, Promote investment and condition for fair competition in common custom area, enhance the economic development, diversification, industrialization and competitiveness of Member States.
Countries in northern part of Africa have organized themselves into the Southern African Development Conference (SADC). There are fifteen member countries in Southern African Development Conference (SADC). They are Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The objective of Southern African Development Conference (SADC) is to achieve development and economic growth, alleviate poverty, enhance the standard & quality of life of the peoples of Southern Africa, support the socially disadvantaged through regional integration, evolve common political values, systems & institutions, promote & defend peace and security, promote self-sustaining development on the basis of collective self-reliance, promote and maximize productive employment and utilization of resources of the region, achieve sustainable utilization of natural resources and effective protection of the environment.
1). The GDP (Purchasing Power Parity) is USD 2,758.82 Billions. The world ranking and Rank in Africa, of these African countries along with there GDP in the year 2008 has been shown below.