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North African Countries

A Brief Introduction to the Various North African Countries

North African countries are separated from the rest of the African continent by the Sahara desert. This article provides a brief overview of these countries.
Rahul Thadani
Last Updated: Mar 26, 2018
When we speak of North African countries, we are referring to the countries (or regions) located on the northern part of the continent. The Sahara desert separates North Africa from the rest of the continent, which is known as the Sub-Saharan Africa. This region is politically, religiously, and culturally different from the countries in North Africa. Due to this geographic barrier, countries in the North Africa have been intensely influenced by southwestern Asian countries. A major part of the Arab population of the world lives in North Africa.
List of Countries in North Africa
Here are the countries and regions that constitute Northern Africa.
  • Algeria
  • Egypt
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Sudan
  • South Sudan
  • Tunisia
  • Western Sahara

Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Western Sahara, and Tunisia, comprise the Maghreb region. When we say Western Sahara, we mean the small disputed area that has Morocco to the north, Algeria to the northeast and Mauritania to the east and the south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Some researchers include tiny military islands such as Portugal's Madeira Islands, Spanish Canary Islands, and Spanish Plazas de Soberania, in North Africa. These islands have no civilian population.
Some Basic Facts
Country Capital Languages Government Population Currency
Algeria Algiers Arabic, Berber, French Unitary Semi-presidential Republic 39.5 million Algerian Dinar
Egypt Cairo Arabic Unitary Semi-presidential Republic 84 million Egyptian Pound
Libya Tripoli Arabic Unitary Provisional Parliamentary Republic (in dispute) 6.5 million Libyan Dinar
Morocco Rabat Arabic Constitutional Monarchy (Parliamentary System) 33.3 million Moroccan Dirham
Sudan Khartoum Arabic, English Federal Democratic Republic (Presidential System) 37.96 million Sudanese Pound
South Sudan Juba English, Arabic Federal Democratic Republic (Presidential System) 11.3 million South Sudanese Pound
Tunisia Tunis Arabic, French Unitary Semi-presidential Republic 10.89 million Tunisian Dinar
Western Sahara (disputed territory) El AaiĂșn Spanish, Arabic Disputed 513,000 Moroccan Dirham, Sahrawi Peseta


Algeria, Western Sahara, and Tunisia are French-speaking countries. Since different parts of the African continent were subjected to invasion and colonization by various European powers, there is no single dominant language in many areas. When we speak of North Africa strictly, the primary language is Arabic and the primary religion is Islam. Here are some more interesting facts about North African countries.
  • Algeria, which gained independence in 1962, happens to be the second largest country in Africa, with an area of more than 2 million km2.
  • More than 90% of Libya, which gained independence in 1951, is just desert or semi-desert area.
  • Morocco is geographically positioned at the confluence of the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean.
  • A majority of the area in Western Sahara is occupied by Morocco, which gained independence in 1956.

There is much more to learn about the various North African countries, and the information provided here is merely the tip of the iceberg. An in-depth study is required to understand the details regarding the history and culture of the region, which is one of the most interesting and awe-inspiring location of the African continent.