Southern Africa


AAQS region: Southern
Area in km2: 1 246 700
Capital: Luanda
Approximate population: 12 000 000
Languages: Portuguese, Umbundo, Kimbundo, Chokwe, Ganguela
Currency: Readjusted Kwanza
Brief history: It achieved its independence in 1975. Much of the country has been devastated by the conflict, although the coastal oil industry has prospered and diamond delving continued. The climate and soils are suitable for a wide range of crops. The cold Benguela current keeps the coast cool and relatively dry, but inland the Planalto Plateau is well watered


AAQS region: Southerrn
Area in km2: 581 730
Capital: Gaborone
Approximate population: 1 500 000
Languages: English, Setswana
Currency: Pula
Brief history: Most people in Botswana live in the south-east, which supports livestock and limited farming. Desert lies to the south-west and the north is occupied by the Okavango Delta, a wildlife paradise. Stable government, meat exports, diamonds and other minerals give Botswana a measure of prosperity. The country gained independence in 1966


AAQS region: Southern
Area in km2: 1862
Capital: Moroni
Approximate population: 600 000
Languages: Comorian, French, Arabic
Currency: Comoros Franc
Brief history: There are few natural resources and the economy of these volcanic islands depends on subsistence farming and the production of vanilla and cloves. It has been politically unstable since it gained independence in 1975


AAQS region: Southern
Area in km2: 30 355
Capital: Maseru
Approximate population: 2 000 000
Languages: English, Sesotho
Currency: Maloti
Brief history: Its people live by growing maize, rearing livestock and wages sent home by migrant workers in South Africa. A tourist industry based on skiing, has developed


AAQS region: Southern
Area in km2: 587 041
Capital: Antananarivo
Approximate population: 15 000 000
Languages: Malagasy, French, Hova, other local languages
Currency: Franc Malgache (MG)
Brief history: It is inhabited by non-African people from south-east Asia. The country possesses wealth from plants and animals. It gained independence in 1960. The country’s east coast is humid, the high grassy plateaus in the centre are cooler but also well watered. The west is drier, Droughts are a general problem. Most people are subsistence farmers, depending on rice or cassava, although coffee, vanilla, clovers and sugar are exported. There is potential for hydroelectricity and minerals have been discovered including oil and chromite


AAQS region: Souhern
Area in km2: 118 484
Capital: Lilongwe
Approximate population: 10 000 000
Languages: English, Chichewa, other local languages
Currency: Malawian Kwacha
Brief history: Lake Malawi is rich in fish and the highlands provide the country with considerable tourist appeal. Industrial development has been limited and there are few industrial resources other thean hydroelectric power. It was affected by civil war in Mozambique which led to poverty


AAQS region: Southern
Area in km2: 2040
Capital: Port Louis
Approximate population: 1 000 000
Languages: English, Creole, other local languages
Currency: Mauritian Rupee
Brief history: It is a fertile volcanic island surrounded by coral reefs. Its economy benefits from tourist revenues and the export of sugar and clothing. It has been independence since 1968


AAQS region: Southern
Area in km2: 799 380
Capital: Maputo
Approximate population: 18 000 000
Languages: Portuguese, many local languages
Currency: Metical
Brief history: It achieved its independence in 1975. Hot and humid plains crossed by numerous rivers dominate the south of the country; greater altitude gives cooler conditions, suitable for rearing cattle. Most people are subsistence farmers on the coastal lowlands. The country has modest mineral resources but has considerable fish stocks. After the civil war the land mines have been removed and displaced people resettled


AAQS region: Southern
Area in km2: 824 292
Capital: Windhoek
Approximate population: 1 500 000
Languages: English, Afrikaans, German, local languages
Currency: Namibian dollar
Brief history: It is a desert state, has enormous reserves of diamonds, uranium, copper and other minerals as well as rich offshore fishing. It gained independence from South Africa in 1990

South Africa

AAQS region: Southern
Area in km2: 1 219 080
Capital: Pretoria, Cape Town
Approximate population: 44 000 000
Languages: Afrikaans, English and nine African languages
Currency: Rand
Brief history: In 1886 the world’s largest gold find was made in the Witwatersrand, triggering substantial development and a further influx of settlers. Rich finds of diamonds and other minerals followed. The fertile lands and the moderate climate drew in yet more foreigners. It is the most industrilised and urbanised country in Africa, with a high standard of living. It is a large and varied country, rising to the Drakenberg escarpment in the east and the Great Karoo mountains in the south. Fertile coastal lowlands give way to a drier interior, merging into desert in the west. The country has scenic beauty and has fine wildlife reserves


AAQS region: Southern
Area in km2: 17 363
Capital: Mbabane
Approximate population: 1 000 000
Languages: English, siSwati
Currency: Lilangeni
Brief history: It was a British protectorate until 1968, it possesses substantial agricultural and mineral resources, combined with a firm manufacturing base. Sugar forms one-third of its exports


AAQS region: Southern
Area in km2: 752 614
Capital: Lusaka
Approximate population: 10 000 000
Languages: English, Nyanja, Bemba, Tonga, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale
Currency: Zambian Kwacha
Brief history: High transport costs create difficulties for exporting crops. Most farmers sell there food crops in towns. It is one of the world’s major producers of copper, which dominates the nation’s economy


AAQS region: Southern
Area in km2: 390 759
Capital: Harare
Approximate population: 13 000 000
Languages: English, Chishona, Sindebele & other local languages
Currency: Zimbabwe Dollar
Brief history: The land was attractive to European farmers, with tobacco as the main cash crop. It was denied self-government when its former Federal partners, Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia became self-governing. Most parts in the country are relatively high above sea level which moderates temperatures and attracts useful amounts of rain. Hydroelectricity is generated at the famous Kariba dam on the Zambezi river