Eastern Africa


AAQS region: Central
Area in km2: 27 834
Capital: Bujumbura
Approximate population: 6 000 000
Languages: French, Kirundi, Swahili
Currency: Franc (Fbu)
Brief history: It is a mountainous country. It is well watered and intensively farmed to feed its dense population. Coffee is grown as a cash crop


AAQS region: Eastern
Area in km2: 23 200
Capital: Djibouti
Approximate population: 450 000
Languages: Arabic, French
Currency: Franc (DF)
Brief history: It is primarily a desert country with few oases. The majority of its people live in the access to Ethiopia. Trade has been disrupted by regional conflicts and this has led to considerable poverty


AAQS region: Eastern
Area in km2: 121 144
Capital: Asmara
Approximate population: 4 000 000
Languages: Arabic, Tigre, English
Currency: Nakfa (Nfa)
Brief history: Eritrea achieved its independence in 1993. In 1997 trade relations with Ethiopia deteriorated and it launched its own currency. There is some mining, light industry and fishing but the economy is largely dependent on foreign aid


AAQS region: Eastern
Area in km2: 1 133 380
Capital: Addis Ababa
Approximate population: 64 000 000
Languages: Amharic, English & many local languages
Currency: Birr (Br)
Brief history: Most of Ethiopia is plateau and mountain rising to over 4000m. There is sufficient rain which supports grains, crops and livestock, though devastating droughts occur periodically. The surrounding lowlands are desert and semi-desert. It is a desperately poor country. People live in small patches of land. Roads and electricity and other basic facilities are not available for large sections of the population


AAQS region: Eastern
Area in km2: 580 367
Capital: Nairobi
Approximate population: 30 000 000
Languages: Kiswahili, English and various local languages
Currency: Kenya Shillings
Brief history: It is a political entity. It includes several major African tribes and a number of European settlers who have been attracted by the climate and fertility of the south-west highlands and the potential for cash crops eg tea and coffee. After independence in 1963, it was regarded as a model of economic success, producing tea and developing significant manufacturing. Tourism,, based on numerous game reserves and national parks, provided the chief source of foreign exchange


AAQS region: Eastern
Area in km2: 10 217 000
Capital: Mogadishu
Approximate population: 7 000 000
Languages: Somali, Arabic, English, Italian
Currency: Shilling (So.Sh)
Brief history: There is enough rain in Somalia’s mountains to support agriculture and reasonable grazing. Rivers provide water for crops including bananas for export. The main exports are animals, meat and hides. The country is very poor and suffers severe droughts

South Sudan

AAQS region: Eastern
Area in km2: N/A
Capital: N/A
Approximate population: 8 200 000
Languages: Arabic, English & Local languages
Currency: Dinar
Brief history: N/A


AAQS region: Eastern
Area in km2: 454
Capital: Victoria
Approximate population: 79 000
Languages: Creole, English, French
Currency: Rupees
Brief history: A chain of more than 100 coral and granite islands the Seychelles lure tourists to a tropical paradise of white beaches and forested hills. First claimed by France and later by Britain, the Seychelles declared independence in 1976


AAQS region: Eastern
Area in km2: 945 087
Capital: Dodoma
Approximate population: 35 000 000
Languages: Swahil, English, many languages
Currency: Tanzania Shillings (Tsh)
Brief history: The interior is cooler than the lowland coastal strip, but rainfall is limited. The dramatic scenery and abundant wildlife provide excellent potential for tourism. It is a poor country with a crippling debt repayment burden, but a gold rush near Lake Victoria in the late 1990s could provide a significant boost to the economy


AAQS region: Eastern
Area in km2: 241 139
Capital: Kampala
Approximate population: 23 000 000
Languages: English, Luganda, other local
Currency: Shilling (Ush)
Brief history: Uganda’s considerable prosperity was based on coffee and cotton exports, the growth of internal commerce and the provision of roads and schools. Around Lake Victoria is fertile and well watered. The country also possesses considerable copper, gold and cobalt reserves. Tourist attractions include spectacular waterfalls and game reserves. The devastating AIDS pandemic casts a serious shadow over the country


AAQS region: Eastern
Area in km2: 26 338
Capital: Kigali
Approximate population: 7 000 000
Languages: French, English, Kinyarwanda
Currency: Rwandan Franc (RF)
Brief history: Rwanda gained its independence from Belgium in 1962. Most of Rwanda is a well watered, intensively cultivated highland. Scarcity of land prompts the terracing of many hillsides. Most people are subsistence farmers and cash crops, such as pyrethrum and coffee are of lesser importance