Africa Day: 5 amazing facts about African continent to celebrate today

By , K24 Digital
On Thu, 25 May, 2023 16:24 | 3 mins read
Africa Day: 5 amazing facts about African continent to celebrate today
An artist's modern interpretation of Mansa Musa, ruler of Mali in the 1300s. IMAGE: ILLUSTRATION BY TIM O'BRIEN

May 25, Africa Day, is aimed at celebrating and acknowledging the successes of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and its successor African Union (AU).

The African continent today celebrates the 60th anniversary of the continental union consisting of 55 member states.

Africa Day symbolises Africa's unity, commitment to peace, democracy, and economic development.

Learning about the continent of Africa, discovering African arts and crafts are among the ways to celebrate Africa Day.

Having stated so, below are some amazing facts about the African continent to celebrate today:

Mobile money

Africans will be delighted to know that half of the world’s mobile money services are in the continent.

The African continent continues to be the global leader in mobile money services, a position boosted by the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced people to turn to digital services as a safer transaction method than using cash.

The continent, particularly the sub-Saharan Africa region, has been at the forefront of mobile money for years.

Kenya in particular is the global leader in mobile money, pioneered by network operator Safaricom with the launch of M-Pesa in 2007.


Africa is linguistically diverse with between 1500-2000 languages spoken in the continent.

There are at least 3,000 distinct ethnic groups in Africa and around 2,000 different languages are spoken and each of them has different dialects.

Arabic is the language that is most widely spoken in the African continent (predominantly in North Africa), followed by English and Swahili, and French respectively which are the lingua franca in sub-Saharan Africa.

World's longest river

The Nile River is the longest river in the world, approximately 6,853 kilometres in length.

Nile River flows from Lake Victoria (the second biggest freshwater body in the world) in Uganda and the Ethiopian highlands.

The world's longest river flows through five countries - Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt before it empties its waters in the Mediterranean Sea.

Richest man in history

Africans will be delighted to know that the richest man ever in the history of mankind hails from the African continent.

Mansa Musa, or Musa I of Mali is considered the richest man in history. Musa was the tenth emperor of the Mali Empire, one of the prosperous Sahelian kingdoms that developed along the Saharan slave trade routes in the later medieval period.

By the time of his death in 1337, estimates place his net worth in the range of $300 billion/Ksh41.4 trillion to $400 billion/Ksh55.3 trillion.

Elon Musk, who was the richest man in 2022, also hails from Africa. He was born in Pretoria, South Africa and currently holds multiple nationalities including South African, Canadian and American.

Musk had a personal fortune of $188.4 billion/Ksh26 trillion as of May 25, 2023.

Wildebeest migration

Africa is home to one of the largest wildlife migrations in the world.

The annual wildebeest migration from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya is one of the greatest natural spectacles in the world.

More than 1.5 million wildebeest migrate in an enormous loop every year. The annual migration northwest, at the end of the rainy season (usually in May or June) is recognized as one of the "Seven Wonders of the Natural World."

Greatest marathon runners

Africa is home to the greatest marathon runners in the world, with the most successful long-distance runners hailing from Kenya and Ethiopia.

Kenya has been known to be home to the greatest runners globally, from Paul Tergat, Eliud Kipchoge, Pamela Jelimo, and Samuel Wanjiru among other household names.

Eliud Kipchoge is considered the greatest marathoner of all time. He is the only man to hold both the official and unofficial marathon world records.

On 25 September 2022 at the age of 37, he set a new official record of 2 hours, 1 minute, and 9 seconds for the distance to set a men's world record. In doing so he broke his own world record set in September 2018 of 2:01.39.

No other man has come close to the two-hour barrier for the marathon, which he broke in a special run in 2019 for an unofficial record.

The Kenyan legend is the third man in history to clinch two Olympic marathon titles, and he's aiming for a third at the Paris 2024 Games.

Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie is considered the second-greatest distance runner in history, having won titles and set world records across track and road races.

The double Olympic champion over 10,000m made his debut at the marathon distance in London in 2002, finishing third.

But the Ethiopian was most successful in Berlin where he started five times, won four, and broke the world record there twice.

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