“True True map” of Africa

Here’s an interesting article and map from the Economist on the “True True Size of Africa.”

Africa is huge.

Nancy Birdsall at the Center for Global Development commented on the different ways of “mapping” Africa noting that an economic map helps put the geographic one in stark perspective.

Economically, as compared to its geographic size, Africa is still pretty small cassavas. Says Birdsall:

Five years ago sub-Saharan Africa’s economy was no bigger than that of the city of Chicago. (Imagine Chicago with 46 different ministers of education, transportation, finance etc., and 46 customs border inspection systems. And visas needed to go from downtown to uptown or whatever they call it in Chicago.)

Birdsall’s colleague Todd Moss reports that due to oil sub-Saharan Africa is a bit bigger today economically: Add South Africa and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa and you get Chicago plus Atlanta: an economy approaching $1 trillion.

Here’s a map of Africa’s economy compared to the rest of the world from Worldmapper:

Map of economic size

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Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at]humanosphere.org or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.