Since the fact that out of 1.3 billion people who are living on the black continent, less than one percent is of white European descent is somewhat expected, we decided to go a step further and find out which are the African countries with the largest white population in 2018.
So, the long-term projections suggest the population of Africa will double in 2050. This doesn’t come as a surprise given the fact that African countries (and its population) are growing pretty fast – over the period between 2010 and 2015 its growth rate was 2.55% annually. The main reasons are a substantial percentage of young people on the continent, with 41% of them being under the age of 15, and poverty that’s causing women not to have access to family planning methods.
Speaking of a vast population — did you know that in all of Africa, there are more than 2100 different languages spoken among more than 3000 distinct ethnic groups? The similar can be said for their belief systems, with people of Africa practicing Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism alongside a number of traditional religions. The fact it’s the second largest and the second most populous continent on the Earth, somehow explains this diversity. But what about white people, how did they end up on this continent?
Africa has been known for harboring Europeans for centuries. Starting with Portuguese “discoveries” in the XV century and Bartolomeu Dias sailing around the Cape of Good Hope, the European imperialism peaked a bit less than two centuries ago, when Europeans expanded their holdings all across the globe. The first “white settlements” date to XVI-XVI centuries, like Luanda in Angola, Cape Verde, and São Tomé Island, as well as the Dutch East India Company’s station at Cape of Good Hope in South Africa from XVII century. By 1985, only one-tenth of the African continent was independent. In the rise of the twentieth century, French held west and north Africa alongside Equatorial Africa, while Nile Valley, parts of west Africa, and vast territories of east and south Africa were under the British rule. Besides these two “giants”, Spanish, Portuguese, Germans, Italians, Belgians, Dutch, etc., had their fair share as well. The motives for this expansion were various, with economics being among the major ones, especially the quest for new markets and free labor. Unfortunately, Africa’s population suffered the most, experiencing an increase of wars and revolutions, slavery, shortages of natural resources and death due to diseases brought by European imperialists. During the four centuries of Western colonialism, the face of Earth was changed for good. The ideology of white racial supremacy brought white people to all four corners of the Earth. As a result, some of the countries with the highest white population are not even on the European continent.
When it comes to the white people in today’s Africa, most of them are descendants of the European colonists known as white Africans of European ancestry, even though there are also (white) people who decided to move here in the last two decades, finding Africa a beautiful place for living. In addition, there are white missionaries, also called White Fathers, who are born in Africa and are committed to solving problems of black Africans. One such example is the white population in Malawi, mainly consisted of missionaries who are collaborating with the Malawian State. But, are they acknowledged Africans by native black Africans? This seems to be a bit of a touchy issue, for both sides. And while some black Africans fully embraced their white brothers, arguing they settled there centuries back, the others didn’t forget that whites living there are not indigenous to Africa pinpointing they kept living according to their European culture practices, with very few of them who actually speak Africans languages. However, the situation is a bit different when it comes to the northern parts of the continent, due to migrations of the human population during history and black and Arab mixing. Speaking of migration, take a look at our article on countries with the highest black population outside Africa, and check out are there some overlaps with the list of countries that colonized Africa during history.
So, how we come up with the list of African countries with highest white percentage? Since we couldn’t retrieve any comprehensive report we can rely on, we put in use the Google engine and come up with a number of articles dealing with this topic. Afrikanza’s piece on where white Africans live, as well as Africa Ranking’s and Moguldom’s lists of the African countries with the largest white population, provided us with necessary information. However, since data used in these articles were a bit outdated, being from 2016, we checked the latest data for each country utilizing World Population Review’s and IndexMundi’s 2018 updates. In cases when data for 2018 weren’t available we relied on the previously mentioned sources. And now, let’s scroll through African countries with the largest white population in 2018.
13. Equatorial Guinea
percentage/number of white people: 1.8% or around 24 000
We are starting off with a relatively small country on the west coast of Africa, a former Spanish colony. Equatorial Guinea has a quite large population of European descendants, primarily Spanish and Portuguese. This is the only country on the African continent where Spanish is the official language.
percentage/number of white people: 2% or around 25 000
Up next on our list of African countries with the largest white population in 2018 we have an island nation, located in the Indian Ocean, some 1.2 miles southeast of the continent. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to visit the island, in the XVI century. In the XVII century, the Dutch occupied the east coast of the island, while the following two centuries, it was under the French and British rule. Nowadays, the French descendants outnumber the other Africans with European ancestry, while beside Creole, some Asian languages and French, Mauritians speak English, as well.
percentage/number of white people: 3% or around 42 000
We’re moving to the southern parts of the continent to the Kingdom of Swaziland, a sovereign state with a substantial white population consisted of British descendants alongside Afrikaners, who are ethnic group descended from Dutch settlers (primarily) settled there during XVII and XVIII centuries.
percentage/number of white people: 1.15% or around 45 000
Another country on our list of African countries with the largest white population in 2018, where Portuguese outnumber the other European descendants. This country welcomed a number of white farmers who moved here from Zimbabwe as a consequence of the controversial land reform in that country.
percentage/number of white people: 3% or around 70 800
Botswana, a southern African landlocked country is known as one of Africa’s most exclusive safari destinations. Once under the British protectorate, the country is now independent, and it’s been like that for more than half a century. Botswana’s white population consists of British and Dutch descendants. Also, there’s a quite large community of Serbs, a nation of South Slavic people from Balkans (Europe), including families of Yugoslavia’s immigrants who came in this country more than 50 years ago.
percentage/number of white people: 0.2% or around 103 500
We’re continuing our list of African countries with the largest white population in 2018 with the country from East Africa, that sits on the equator. The country’s population is very diverse, while beside Kiswahili, English is also its official language. European colonization of the country began in the XIX century, with the British Empire establishing the East Africa Protectorate. Almost 80 years after, the Independent Republic of Kenya is formed. Over the past few years, there’s been bad blood between white landowners and black people of Kenya, since drought caused people to “struggle over the available water for their livestock”, while more than 65% of country’s arable land is in hands of 36 white settlers.
percentage/number of white people: 0.3% or around 109 400
This largely mountainous country in the north of the continent, which ranks 7th on our list of African countries with the largest white population in 2018, has both Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines. The Berbers, make the majority of its population, being inhabited there for the last five millennia. The Arabs conquered this land in the VII and then again in the XXI century. When it comes to its white population, it’s mainly consisted of French, even though, before the country gained its independence, it was settled by more than half a million Europeans.
percentage/number of white people: 1% or around 117 400
Being a major trade center in the Mediterranean for centuries, this rather small country at the northernmost point of Africa has a quite interesting history. It’s another country on our list of African countries with the largest white population in 2018, that’s inhabited by Berbers since ancient times. From Phoenicians who founded Carthage to Romans, Ottoman Empire and finally French colonizators (in 1881), the country and its people had been witnessing constant changes. Besides Arab-Berbers, the country is also inhabited by French and a significantly smaller number of Italians.
percentage/number of white people: 0.5% or around 133 000
This island country in the Indian ocean is home to a large number of French people even though the first European to set foot on the island was Diogo Dias, a Portuguese sea captain, in 1500, on his way to India after being blown off course. The country number five on our list of African countries with the largest white population in 2018, is an interesting blend of Asian and African landscapes, and the same can be said when it comes to the origins of the Malagasy people. During history, they’ve been pretty hostile when it comes to European settlers since their attempts in establishing trading settlements have failed. Finally, in 1896, France annexed Madagascar, after the British gave up their claims to the island.
percentage/number of white people: 6.4% or around 168 000
When it comes to Namibia’s white population, a country in southern Africa, almost two-thirds of it speaks Afrikaans, a West Germanic language that has roots in Dutch, while there are also those speaking German as well as English. They are descendants of German as well as South African colonizers who were the country’s rulers in the second half of the XIX century. At the beginning of the XX century, the discovery of diamonds drawn a huge number of Europeans to this country. It’s one of the richest countries on the African continent, however, the wealth is mainly in the hands of European descendants. The infamous apartheid-era took its tool in this country, more precisely in the period of South African control of Namibia in 1920. Seventy years later, Namibia got its independence.
percentage/number of white people: 1% or around 176 000
Up next on our list of African countries with the largest white population in 2018 is a country in sub-Saharan Africa, a home to thousands of white people from South Africa and the United Kingdom. The country welcomed white farmers who had been expelled from Zimbabwe by supporters of Robert Mugabe, a Zimbabwean politician and revolutionary as well as former prime minister and president. Moreover, a few years ago, Mr. Guy Scoot, a democratic politician became the country’s first white interim president.
percentage/number of white people: 1% or around 300 000
Angola, the seventh-largest country on the west coast of the African continent ranks second on our list of African countries with the largest white population in 2018. From the first “white settlements” in the late XVI century to the beginning of the XX century and a vast territory known as present-day Angola, Portuguese influence is evident in this country. The wars between supporters of white colonial politics on the one side and anticolonial nationalist movements on the other caused many people to flee the country during the second half of the XX century and the beginning of the XXI, including Angola’s white population.
1. South Africa
percentage/number of white people: 9.2% or around 5.3 million
And finally, South Africa ended up first on our list of African countries with the largest white population in 2018. After Portuguese navigators Bartolomeu Dias and Vasco da Gama “discovered” the south of the continent, the first colony is founded at Cape Town by Dutch East India Company in 1652. By the end of the XVIII century, it became a British colony only to be returned to Dutch a few years later. The conflicts between the British Empire and Boer settlers, the descendants of the Dutch settlers, culminated by the beginning of the XX century in the South African War, when Boers were defeated (in 1902). The second half of the XX century was “colored” with racial segregation and rule of white minority known as apartheid. In 1994, Nelson Mandela, the first black president of South Africa put an end on violence and racial segregation, leading the way in the peaceful transition to a rule of the majority. Today, this is a country with the largest white population on the continent. In addition, the tenth of the South Africa population are whites, even though over the past few years, the country’s white population is shrinking.