Africa & Middle East

Africa & Middle East

There is a group of Mediterranean countries that make up North Africa near the Middle East. This is located in the northern most part of the African continent. Basically, this area stretches from Morocco in the West to the Red Sea in the East to the Suez Canal. While there is no particular standard designation for North Africa, since not everybody agrees which countries belong under this designation, there are certain countries that many will agree belong here.

The Countries in North Africa

Most people agree that the countries that make up North Africa include Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, and Western Sahara.

Algeria has a population of over 40 million people. Their total GDP is $255 billion and they are a Republic with a president. Egypt has nearly 95 million people, a GDP of $500 billion, and is considered a semi-presidential Republic. Libya consists of 5 ½ million people, has a GDP of $89 billion, and is considered a provisional authority. Monaco has nearly 34 million people, a GDP of $154 billion, and is considered a constitutional monarchy. Tunisia is just shy of 11 million people, has a GDP of $125 billion, as is considered a parliamentary republic. Western Sahara is made up of a little more than 500,000 people, has a GDP of $900 million, and is considered a constitutional monarchy.

In total, the whole of North Africa is made up of 186 million people and has a gross domestic product is $1.124 trillion.

The People in North Africa

Now that we know little bit more about the countries that make up this region, it’s time to learn about the people as well. Saharan Africa is inhabited by many different cultures. The eastern part of North Africa, also known as the Nile Valley, mainly consists of Egyptians. South of Egypt is made up of Nubians. And other parts of the region consist of many different types of people.

In North Africa Arabic is considered one of the official languages. Since the largest ethnic groups in the region are Arabs and Berbers, and the area is predominantly Muslim with a minority of Jewish people in Tunisia and Morocco, it makes sense that Arabic is the language of the people that predominantly populate it.

North African Culture

The culture of North Africa is very diverse. The Sahara region is filled with many different diverse peoples. Throughout the years, the Berber people have experienced many influences through their contact with people of other regions including the Vandals, Romans, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Greeks, sub-Saharan Africans, Europeans, and Arabs.

Throughout the years, the Egyptian people have shifted their main language. When in the past they used to just speak Egyptian, now their language is more of a modern Egyptian Arabic hybrid. It helps them retain a sense of national identity and also helps to move their history forward as a member of the region. As far as Egyptians are concerned, the majority of these people are considered part of the Sunni Muslim religion.

In the Nubia part of Africa, many of the people located in this section of the continent speak Nubian. But in the North Sudan, the actual main language that they speak is Arabic, although there are more than 144 native Sudanese languages as well. The population here is predominantly Arab Muslim although there is a significant amount of non-Arab Muslim people as well.

Industry and Transportation in Northern Africa

Libya and Algeria’s economies were both transformed when natural gas and oil reserve discoveries were located in the deserts of this region. The major exports in Morocco are agricultural produce and phosphates. As far as Tunisia and Egypt go, tourism is incredibly popular in these areas and it’s definitely essential to the success of the economy. Egypt, on the other hand, has a wide range of industries including technology, engineering, cotton textiles, electronics, and much more.

When looking at Libya and Algeria, you will notice many oil rigs scattered throughout the region. Since the area has such low sulfur content, the world thrives on Libyan oil. This oil is very popular because the low sulfur content is the reason why it produces much less pollution. And since we are very focused on creating a green planet, using low sulfur oil is certainly a step in the right direction, although it’s definitely not going to solve our problems over the long term.

The Middle East

Moving on to the Middle East, this area is a transcontinental region that centers on Egypt and Western Asia. The people from these areas are considered Middle Easterners, although at one point in the early 20thcentury they were considered the Near East or even Far East to many.

The largest ethnic groups located in the region include the Kurds, Turks, Persians, Arabs, and Azeris people. This region of the world also consists of indigenous minority people including the Berbers, Jews, Tats, Zazas, Shabaks and more.

Middle Eastern history dates back all the way to ancient times. It is a geopolitical region of great importance and has been for many millennia. There are a wide range of religions in the Middle East that have their origins here including Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. This region is home to numerous belief systems.

The climate in the Middle East is generally hot and arid. There are several rivers that support agriculture and provide irrigation including watersheds of the Euphrates and Tigris in Mesopotamia, and the Nile Delta in Egypt. These areas make up what we call the Fertile Crescent.

Typically speaking, the wide majority of countries bordering the Persian Gulf have a large array of crude oil available. The monarchs of the Arabian Peninsula particularly experience great economic benefits from exporting their petroleum to other parts of the world. As you probably already know, many people have a tendency to buy crude oil from the Arabian countries in the Middle East since they have a mass abundance of this powerful source of energy.

The Countries That Make up the Middle East

The Middle East is made up of a wide range of countries. They include Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. And each one of these countries has a wide range of people, GDP, and its own specific governmental type.

In Bahrain, the population is only one and a quarter million people, the country’s GDP is $30 billion and they are an absolute monarchy. Cyprus has a population of 1.1 million people, a $23 billion GDP, and it is a presidential Republic.

Egypt is a large country in the Middle East and has nearly 73 million people. The capital of Egypt is Cairo and the country’s GDP is $262 billion. They are also a presidential Republic. Iran has their capital in Tehran and is made up of 79 million people. Their GDP is $548 billion and they are considered an Islamic Republic.

Iraq is about one quarter the size of Iran although it’s the home of nearly 34 million people. The capital city is Baghdad, their GDP is $220 billion, and they are considered a parliamentary republic. Israel has nearly 8 million people, a $257 billion GDP and they are a parliamentary republic as well. The capital city of Israel is Jerusalem.

Jordan has 6.3 million people, a $31 billion GDP and is a constitutional monarchy. Their capital city is Amman. Kuwait is a constitutional monarchy and home to 3.5 million people. Their GDP is $185 billion. Lebanon is home to 4.25 million people, has a GDP of $42.5 billion and is known as a parliamentary republic.

Oman is home to 2.7 million people and the capital city is Muscat. The country’s total GDP is $78 billion, and the country is ruled by an absolute monarchy. Palestine has a GDP of $6.6 billion and is home to 4.25 million people. They are known as a semi-presidential Republic.

The country of Qatar is made up of 1.7 million people, has a GDP of hundred $92 billion and is also an absolute monarchy. Their capital city is Doha. Saudi Arabia is much bigger with 27.1 million people, $734 billion GDP and is ruled by an absolute monarchy.

Syria is made up of 23.7 million people, their capital city is Damascus, and is a presidential Republic. Turkey is one of the larger areas in the region and is home to 73.7 million people. Their GDP is $788 billion and they are a parliamentary republic.

The United Arab Emirates is home to 8.2 million people, has a GDP of $383 billion, and is a federal absolute monarchy. Abu Dhabi is their capital city. Yemen is a presidential Republic with 23.5 million people living there. Their total GDP is $35 billion.


North Africa and the Middle East have a rich and storied history. Certain areas on the African continent and the Middle East are phenomenal tourist attractions. Appreciate the beauty and splendor that this continent and the countries within have to offer.