7) Swaziland (17,364 km2)
Swaziland is located in Southern Africa next to the Indian Ocean. Its neighbours are Mozambique and South Africa. Swaziland is an absolute monarchy, with Ngwenyama (“King”) Mswati III as its ruler. Its 1,119,000 inhabitants enjoy a lower-middle income of nearly $10,000 per person (in purchasing power). The Swaziland economy is mostly based on manufacturing and services, with agriculture and mining only constituting 13% of the economy.
The country is one of the most affected in the HIV/AIDS epidemic with an estimated 25% of the adult population being infected. Fortunately the disease seems to be stabilizing, most likely because two thirds of the population is being treated with antiretroviral drugs.
6) Gambia (10,380 km2)
The Gambia is the smallest mainland country in Africa. It is surrounded on all sides by Senegal, apart from its Atlantic Ocean coast. Roughly one third of its population of 1,900,000 lives below the international poverty line. This makes it one of the poorest nations in Africa.
Its president of 23 years, Yahya Jammeh, was replaced in early 2017 by its third president in the country’s history: Adama Barrow. The 23 year rule made Jammeh one of the longest serving rulers in Africa. Initially Jammeh refused to accept the election results, but military intervention by the ECOWAS forced him into exile. One can hope that the new president will lead to a better future for all Gambians.
5) Cape Verde (4,033 km2)
Cape Verde is the largest of the African island nations. It has a population of 525,000 and gained independence from Portugal in 1975. Cape Verde has been a stable democracy since the 1990s and though lacking in natural resources it has a strong and growing economy. In 2007 the United Nations gave it the designation of Developing Nation, instead of Least Developed Nation.
Due to its stable government it has attracted a large amount of development aid and foreign investment. In 2011 roughly 30% of the energy use in the country was generated by wind farms, making it one of the top renewable energy countries in the world.