East Africa - Region facts
East Africa often refers to Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, but depending on geography or geopolitics, may also include:
Burundi and Rwanda (sometimes considered part of Central Africa). Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia (sometimes considered The Horn of Africa or North East Africa). Mozambique, Malawi and Madagascar (usually considered part of Southern Africa). Sudan (usually considered North East Africa, and sometimes North Africa)
The East African Community (EAC), an intergovernmental organisation and trading bloc, consists of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
The Horn of Africa (or, Somali Peninsula) is a peninsula of East Africa that juts into the Arabian Sea and lies along the southern side of the Gulf of Aden. It is the easternmost projection of the African continent, and so-called because of its resemblance to a rhinoceros's horn.
The Horn of Africa:
The term also refers to the greater region containing the republics of Somaliland, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Eritrea, and also the remaining portion of Somalia. As such, it covers approximately 2,000,000 kmē and is inhabited by about 80 million people. Sudan and Kenya are sometimes included as well.
Greater Somalia is a nationalist goal to create a unified Somali state in the Horn of Africa, in the former and present states referred to by the five points of the star in the national flag of Somalia since that country's independence: the former British and Italian colonies of present Somalia, the former French Somaliland (now Djibouti), the Ogaden in Ethiopia, and a portion of Kenya.
Some parts of East Africa have been renowned for their concentrations of wild animals, such as the "big five" of elephant, lion, Buffalo, Leopard and rhinoceros, though populations have been declining under increased stress in recent times, particularly the rhino and elephant.
The geography of East Africa is often stunning and scenic. Shaped by global forces that have created the Great Rift Valley, East Africa is the site of Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, the two tallest peaks in Africa.
The unique geography and apparent suitability for farming made East Africa a target for European exploration and exploitation in the nineteenth century. Today, tourism is an important part of the economies of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.
The Kingdom of Aksum was an African state located in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Yemen that thrived between the 3rd and 11th centuries. Due to the Horn's strategic location, it has been used to restrict access to the Red Sea in the past.
The region was also a source of biological resources during the Antiquity: The ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans sent expeditions to the region for frankincense, myrrh, dragon's blood or cinnabar and took these commodities back along the Incense Route. Therefore the Romans called this region Regio Aromatica.
The Horn of Africa is a region continuously in crisis. Ethiopia occupies a predominant position in the Horn because of its demographic importance: about 60% of the area's population live in this country. Yet Ethiopia's history is largely marked by conflicts between Muslims and Christians for resources and living space, as well as between nationalism and Marxism-Leninism in the modern times. The rest of the region also faces continuous wars: a civil war erupted in Somalia in 1977, resulting in the country having had no functioning national government since 1991. Sudan, with the Sudanese Civil War, represents another important source of instability for the whole region. Conflicts have also occurred in Djibouti and Eritrea.
Moreover, the region is regularly stricken by natural catastrophes, such as droughts (in Ethiopia) or flood (Somalia) that hit rural areas particularly hard. As a result, the region has some of the world's highest levels of malnutrition and is continuously loomed by a major humanitarian crisis. Between 1982 and 1992, about two million people died in the Horn of Africa due this a combination of war and famine.
The Horn of Africa, since 2002, has been a major focus of attention by the United States, France, Germany, and eleven African nations regarding the War on Terrorism.
Until recently most governments were illiberal and corrupt, and several countries were riven with political coups and ethnic violence. Since the end of colonialism, the region has endured:
Ethiopian Civil War (Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front against the Derg), Ogaden War, Second Sudanese Civil War, Somali Civil War
Burundi Civil War, Lord's Resistance Army insurgency in Uganda, 1998 American embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Eritrean-Ethiopian War.
Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda have enjoyed relatively stable government. The Awdal region of Somalia too has seen relative prosperity.
The main exports are Cotton, Coffee Banana's and livestock:
Cotton is a soft fiber that grows around the seeds of the cotton plant, a shrub native to the tropical and subtropical regions of both the Old World and the New World. The fibre is most often spun into thread and used to make a soft, breathable textile.
Cotton is a valuable crop because only about 10% of the raw weight is lost in processing. Once traces of wax, protein, etc. are removed, the remainder is a natural polymer of pure cellulose. This cellulose is arranged in a way that gives cotton unique properties of strength, durability, and absorbency. Each fibre is made up of twenty to thirty layers of cellulose coiled in a neat series of natural springs. When the cotton boll (seed case) is opened the fibres dry into flat, twisted, ribbon-like shapes and become kinked together and interlocked. This interlocked form is ideal for spinning into a fine yarn.
The countries of the Horn of Africa are culturally linked together and they are closer to Arabia than to the rest of Africa. Local people have been using the plow for cultivation and kept the Arabian dromedary as domestic animals for a long time. Some important ethno-linguistic groups in the Horn of Africa are:
In Djibouti: the Afar (Danakil) and the Somali (Issa), In Eritrea: the Afar, the Beni-Amer (Beja), the Hidarb, the Jeberti, the Kunama (Baza), the Nara (Nialetic), the Saho (Irob), the Rashaida, the Tigre, and the Tigrinya, In Ethiopia: the Amhara (Amara), the Afar (Danakil, Adali), the Agaw/Awingi and Agaw/Kamyr, the Bale, the Borana, the Daasenech (Reshiat), the Gawwada (Gauwada), the Gurage/Siltie, the Hammer, the Harari (Adere), the Komuz, the Libido (Maraqo), the Mesengo (Majang), the Mursi, the Oromo (Azebul and Galla), the Qemant, the Saho, the Sidama, the Somali, the Sun, the Tigrinya and the Zayse.In Somalia: the Dabarre, the Digil-Rahawlin, the Garre, the Jiiddu, the Shambaara (Gosha), the Somali, the Swahili (Baraawe) and the Tunni.
In Sudan: the Anuak, the Atwot, the Bale, the Beni-Amer (Beja), the Bisharin (Beja), the Burun (Barun, Borun), the Dar Fur Daju, the Dar Sila Daju, the Didinga (Xaroxa, Toil), the Fedicca-Mahas, the Nubian, the Fulani (Sudanese Fula), the Fur (Furawi), the Chulfan (Gulfan), the Gule (Fung, Hameg), the Hadendoa (Beja), the Hamar, the Hausa Fulani, the Ingessana (Tabi), the Kanga (Abu Sinun), the Yerwa Kanuri, the Katla (Akalak), the Kenuzi-Dongolese, the Nubi, the Central Koma (Komo), the Krongo Nuba, the Maba (Borgu, Mabang), the Maban-Jumjum (Maben), the Mararit (Ablyl, Ebiri, Masalit), the Masalit, the Mesakin (Masakin), the Midob (Miedob, Tidi), the Nyimang (Nyima, Ama), the Par (Lokoro), the Rufaa (Rufalyin), the Shatt (Daju), the Shatt (Mandul), the Sungor (Assagori), the Tagale (Taqalawin), the Temein, the Tigre, the Tira (Thiro), the Tulishi and the Zaghawa.