1. Algeria: The capital of Algeria is Algiers. Algiers is also the chief seaport and political, economic, and cultural center of Algeria. The city is home to an estimated 3.9 million people and spans over 140 square miles. Algiers is Africa’s third-largest city behind Cairo, Egypt, and Casablanca, Morocco. Its name is derived from French and Catalan “Alger,” from the Arabic name al-Jazāʾir, meaning “The Islands.” This refers to the four former islands off of the city’s coast.
Languages: French, Berber languages, four dialects (by constitutional amendment)
2. Angola: Luanda is the capital of Angola. With over 2.57 million residents, Luanda is Angola’s primary seaport and major industrial, cultural, and urban center. The city and its metropolitan area is the most populous Portuguese-speaking capital city in the world, with over 8.3 million people. Luanda is also one of the oldest colonial cities of Africa, founded in January 1576 by Portuguese explorer Paulo Dias de Novais.
Languages: Portuguese, Narrow Bantu like Umbundu
3. Benin: Benin’s capital is Porto-Novo, meanies “New Port” in Portuguese. The capital city has a population of over 264,000 people and spans over 40 square miles. The city was initially called Ajase and served as the capital for the Yoruba state of Popo. In 1730, the Portuguese renamed and developed the city to become a port for their slave trade.
Languages: French, Fon and Yoruba (most common vernaculars in south), tribal languages (at least six major ones in north).
4. Botswana: The capital of Botswana is Gaborone. Gaborone is the country’s largest city, home to over 231,000 people, about 10% of Botswana’s total population. The population growth rate is around 3.4%, the highest in the country. The city is the government capital and economic capital of Botswana.
Languages: Setswana (national language with minor differences in dialects), English is the official business language and it is widely spoken in urban areas.
5. Burkina Faso: Ouagadougou is the capital of Burkina Faso, and its administrative, communications, cultural, and economic center. With a population of over 2.2 million, it is also the country’s largest city. Ouagadougou’s primary industries are food processing and textiles.
Languages: French and Native African languages belonging to Sudanic family spoken by 90% of the population.
6. Burundi: Formerly Kitega, Gitega is the capital of Burundi. Gitega is the country’s second-largest city behind Bujumbura, the former capital. Over 135,000 people live in Gitega. In December 2018, Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza announced that Gitega would return to its former political capital status, and a parliament vote in January 2019 made the change official.
Languages: Kirundi, French and Swahili (along Lake Tanganyika and in the Bujumbura area).
7. Cameroon: The capital of Cameroon is Yaoundé. Yaoundé is the country’s second-largest city behind Douala, with a population of 2.8 million. The city is significantly wealthier and more secure than the rest of Cameroon. The major industries in Yaoundé include tobacco, dairy, beer, clay, and glass. Additionally, the city is a major distribution center for coffee, cocoa, copra, sugar cane, and rubber. Languages: English, French, 24 major African language groups.
8. Cape Verde: Praia is the capital of Cabo Verde, located on the country’s largest island of Santiago. Home to about 160,000 residents, Praia is the country’s economic, political, and cultural center. Praia is a port city for agricultural products such as bananas, coffee, sugarcane, and castor beans and is a submarine cable station. Languages: Portuguese and Kabuverdianu (Crioulo) (a blend of Portuguese and West African words).
9. Central African Republic: Bangui is the capital city of the Central African Republic. Bangui is both the country’s capital and the largest city, with a population of 889,000. The city is growing rapidly, over 2% annually. Bangui has long been the center of rebel activity, destruction, and political upheaval. The city also acts as the administrative, trade, and commercial center for the Central African Republic.
Languages: French, Sangho (lingua franca and national language), Banda, Gbaya and other tribal languages.
10. Chad: The capital of Chad is N’Djamena. N’Djamena is also the country’s largest city, with a population of about 1.4 million. N’Djamena means “place of rest” in Arabic. The city is a regional market for livestock, salt, dates, and grains. Additionally, meat, fish, and cotton are the chief industries in the city.
Languages: French, Arabic and Sara (in south), more than 120 different languages and dialects.
11. Comoros: Moroni is the capital, largest city, and the seat of government of Comoros. As of the 2011 Census, Moroni’s population is around 54,000. Sunni Muslims account for 98% of the population, with a minority of Roman Catholics. Moroni produces goods such as vanilla, soft drinks, essential oils, metal, woods, and cement.
Languages: Arabic, French and Shikomoro (a blend of Swahili and Arabic).
12. Democratic Republic of the Congo: Formerly Léopoldville, Kinshasa is the capital and large city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Kinshasa is home to over 14.5 million people and spans over 3,848 square miles. The capital is home to about 13% of the country’s population but accounts for 85% of the country’s economy in terms of GDP.
Languages: French, Lingala (a lingua franca trade language), Kingwana (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili), Kikongo, Tshiluba.
13. Republic of the Congo: Brazzaville is the capital and largest city of the Republic of the Congo. The city has over 2.3 million residents and serves as the country’s financial and administrative center. Because of its location along the Congo River, Brazzaville grew as an industrial, trading, and port settlement. In 2013, Brazzaville was designated as a City of Music by UNESCO.
Languages: French, Lingala and Monokutuba (lingua franca trade languages), many local languages and dialects (of which Kikongo is the most widespread).
14. Côte d'Ivoire: The capital (de jure) of the Ivory Coast, or Côte d’Ivoire, is Yamoussoukro. The country’s de facto capital is Abidjan, the country’s economic center and largest city. Yamoussoukro was officially named the capital in 1983; however, the transfer of government has been slow. Currently, there is no embassy, ministry or parliament in Yamoussoukro.
Languages: French and 60 native dialects with Dioula the most widely spoken.
15. Djibouti is the capital city of Djibouti. It is also the country’s largest city, with around 562,000. This is over 70% of the country’s total population. Djibouti acts as a financial hub for many industries, such as construction, retail, imports/exports, money transfer companies, and Internet cafes. The city’s primary economic activity is cargo operations at the Port of Djibouti.
Languages: French, Arabic, Somali, Afar
16. Egypt: The largest capital in Africa is Egypt’s capital Cairo. Cairo has a population of approximately 6.6 million and has the 15th-largest metro area in the world. Cairo is known for its architecture and its iconic ancient sites such as the Pyramids of Giza. Cairo is also the third-wealthiest city in Africa.
Languages: English and French widely understood by educated classes.
17. Equatorial Guinea: Malabo is the capital of Equatorial Guinea, located on the country’s Bioko Island. The city is home to about 300,000 people and is the oldest city in the country. Malabo is the commercial and financial center of Equatorial Guinea. The capital’s economy is based on administration and trade, with the primary industry is fishing.
Languages: Spanish, French, pidgin English, Fang, Bubi, Ibo.
18. Eritrea: Asmara is the capital of Eritrea. Asmara is located at the northern tip of the Ethiopian Plateau, sitting at an elevation of 7,628 feet. This makes the city the sixth-highest capital in the world by elevation. The capital is Eritrea’s most populous city, with 963,000 residents. In 2017, UNESCO declared Asmara as a World Heritage Site.
Languages: Tigrinya (Tigrigna), Arabic, English, Tigré (second major language), Afar, Bedawi, Kunama, other Cushitic languages.
19. Eswatini: The capital of Eswatini is Mbabane. Mbabane has about 95,000 inhabitants and spans over 31.57 square miles. Mbabane has become the center for tourism in Eswatini and is home to many hotels and recreational sites such as golf courses. Mbabane is a commercial hub for tin and iron mined in its surrounding region.
20. Ethiopia: Addis Ababa is the capital of Ethiopia and its largest city. Addis Ababa, also known as Finfinne, has a population of about 2.7 million in its city area and 4.8 million in its metro area. Addis Ababa is home to the African Union headquarters and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. The city is relatively safe and clean and has seen a significant increase in tourism over the last decade.
Languages: Amharic, Tigrinya, Oromo, Gurage, Somali, Arabic, 80 other local languages, English (major foreign language taught in schools)
21. Gabon: Gabon’s capital and largest city is Libreville. Libreville is home to about one-third of Gabon’s population, with over 700,000 residents. The capital is home to shipbuilding and brewing industries and sawmills. The city is also known for exporting raw materials such as wood, rubber, and cocoa.
Languages: French, Bantu languages like Fang, Myene, Nzebi, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi.
22. Gambia: Banjul is the capital of The Gambia. Located on St. Mary’s Island, it is the country’s Atlantic port and fourth-largest city with over 31,000 residents in the city proper and over 413,000 in its urban area (according to the 2013 census). Banjul is the Gambia’s economic and administrative center. The city’s port is responsible for shipping beeswax, palm wood, palm oil, and skins and hides.
Languages: Mandinka, English, Wolof, Fula, other indigenous vernaculars.
23. Ghana: Accra is the capital and largest city of Ghana. Accra’s estimated urban population is 4.2 million, making it the 13th-largest metropolitan area in Africa. The city is also the most densely-populated in Africa. Accra’s economic activities include financial and commercial sectors, fishing, and manufacturing of lumber, plywood, textiles, processed food, and more.
Languages: Ghana, African languages (including Akan, Adangme, Moshi-Dagomba, Ewe, and Ga)
24. Guinea: The capital of Guinea is Conakry. Conakry is Guinea’s largest city with an estimated population of 2 million, accounting for about one-sixth of the country’s total population. The city serves as the country’s chief Atlantic port, where alumina and bands are shipped.
Languages: French (spoken by 15-20%), Eight national languages, Soussou (Susu, in coastal Guinea), Peulh (Fulani, in Northrn Guinea), Maninka (Upper Guinea), Kissi (Kissidougou Region), Toma and Guerze (Kpelle) in rain forest Guinea; plus various ethnic groups with their own language.
25. Guinea-Bissau: Bissau is the capital of Guinea-Bissau. Bissau was founded in 1687 as a Portuguese slave-trading center. The city’s population is about 492,000, according to the 2015 census. Bissau is also the country’s largest city and its administrative and military center.
Languages: Portuguese, Crioulo (a mixture of Portuguese and African), other African languages.
26. Kenya: The capital and largest city of Kenya is Nairobi. Before Nairobi, the capital was Mombasa, which is Kenya’s oldest city. Nairobi has about 4.4 million inhabitants. The city is home to several of Africa’s largest companies and the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), one of Africa’s largest stock exchanges.
Languages: English, Kiswahili and other numerous indigenous languages.
27. Lesotho: Lesotho’s capital city is Maseru. Maseru is Lesotho’s largest city with 330,000 inhabitants, comprising about 10% of the country’s total population and about half of its urban population. The British established Maseru as a police camp and the capital when Lesotho became a British protectorate in 1869. Since its independence from Britain in 1966, Maseru’s economy has grown rapidly, especially in foreign investment and tourism.
Languages: Sesotho (southern Sotho), English, Zulu, Xhosa.
28. Liberia: Monrovia is the capital of Liberia. The country was established in 1822 by the American Colonization Society (ACS) as a settlement for freed American slaves. Monrovia was named after U.S. President James Monroe, who supported the ACS. Monrovia is the country’s most populous city, home to over 1 million people, almost one-third of Liberia’s total population.
Languages: English, some 20 ethnic group languages, of which a few can be written and are used in correspondence.
29. Libya: Tripoli is Libya’s capital, largest city, and chief seaport. Tripoli’s population is about 3 million. The capital is the leading center of banking, finance, and communication in Libya, with many corporate companies headquartering in the city. Tripoli has seen an increase in foreign investment and tourism since the lifting of sanctions in 1999 and 2003.
Languages: Arabic, Italian, English, all are widely understood in the major cities.
30. Madagascar: Madagascar’s capital and largest city is Antananarivo. Also known by its shorthand name, Tana, the capital is home to about 1.3 million people condensed into 32.82 square miles. Sitting at an elevation of 4,199 feet, the city is the highest national capital by elevation among island nations.
Languages: French, Malagasy
31. Malawi: Lilongwe has been the capital of Malawi since 1975. With about 1.12 million inhabitants, the capital is also the country’s most populated city. The city’s population is growing rapidly at a rate of 4.3% annually. Lilongwe’s economy is primarily comprised of finance, construction, tourism, banking, retail, trade, and tobacco.
Languages: English, Nyanja (Chichewa, Chewa), Lomwe, Tumbuka, Yao, other languages important regionally.
32. Mali: Bamako is Mali’s capital and largest city. Bamako has over 2 million residents within its 94.6 square miles; however, its metro area has a population of about 2.8 million spanning over a total of 6,618 square miles. Overall, the capital is the seventh-largest West African urban area. Bamako lies on fertile land near the Niger River, allowing commercial fishing in the river and agriculture to feed its inhabitants.
Languages: French, Bambara (Bamanakan), Arabic and numerous dialects of Dogoso, Fulfulde, Koyracini, Senoufou, and Mandinka/Malinké (Maninkakan), Tamasheq are also widely spoken.
33. Mauritania: Mauritania’s capital and largest city is Nouakchott. Nouakchott has about 1 million inhabitants in 400 square miles. The capital is the hub of Mauritania’s economy, home to about three-quarters of service sector enterprises. Nouakchott is also home to a deepwater port, the University of Nouakchott, and the Nouakchott-Oumtounsy International Airport.
Languages: Arabic, Hassaniya Arabic, Pulaar, Soninke, Wolof, French
34. Mauritius: Port Louis is the capital of Mauritius. The city was founded in 1735 by French governor Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais. With about 150,000 inhabitants, Port Louis is the country’s most populous city. Additionally, the capital serves as the economic, political, and cultural center of Mauritius.
Languages: English, French, Creole, Hindi, Urdu, Hakka, Bhojpuri
35. Morocco: Rabat is the capital of Morocco. Rabat has a population of about 580,000 people, according to Morocco’s 2014 census, making the seventh-largest city in the country. When the French established a protectorate over Morocco in 1912, Rabat became its administrative center. When Morocco gained independence in 1995, Rabat became the capital.
Languages: Arabic, Berber dialects, French often the language of business, government, and diplomacy.
36. Mozambique: Mozambique’s capital and most populous city is Maputo. Maputo is home to over 1.1 million people and spans over 134.24 square miles. The capital is a port city situated on the Indian Ocean with an economy centered on commerce. Maputo earned the nicknames City of the Acacias for the acacia trees that line its streets and Pearl of the Indian Ocean for its distinct architecture and aesthetics
Languages: Portuguese (spoken by 27% of population as a second language), Makhuwa, Tsonga, Lomwe, Sena, numerous other indigenous languages.
37. Namibia: The capital of Namibia is Windhoek. The capital is also the largest city, home to 431,000 people. Windhoek is the social, economic, political, and cultural center of Namibia, with almost every national enterprise, government body, educational, and cultural institution headquartered there. Windhoek is located 5,428 feet (over one mile) above sea level.
Languages: English, Afrikaans common language of most of the population and about 60% of the white population, German 32%, indigenous languages: Oshivambo, Herero, Nama.
38. Niger: Niamey is the largest city and capital of Niger. Niamey’s population is about 1.25 million and is currently growing at a slower rate than the rest of the country. Niamey is an economic hub as well, located in a pearl millet growing region and also home to manufacturing industries like ceramic goods, cement, and bricks.
Languages: French, Hausa, Djerma
39. Nigeria: Abuja is Nigeria’s capital. Abuja was built primarily during the 1980s and replaced the former capital of Lagos in December 1991. According to 2011 estimates, the population is around 1.24 million people. The UN reported that Abuja grew by 139.7% between 2000 and 2010, a trend that has continued in recent years. As of 2015, the city is experiencing a growth rate of 35%, making it the fastest-growing city in Africa.
Languages: English, Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), Fulani, Ijaw, Ibibio and about 250 other indigenous languages spoken by the different ethnic groups.
40. Rwanda: Rwanda’s capital and largest city is Kigali. According to the 2012 census, Kigali has an estimated population of 1.13 million. The city is located at 5,141 feet above sea level and spans over 280 square miles. Kigali is Rwanda’s economic and financial hub, as well as the country’s main port of entry and largest business center. Languages: Rwanda (Kinyarwanda, Bantu vernacular) French, English, Kiswahili (Swahili) used in commercial centers.
41. Réunion The island, formerly known as Île Bourbon belongs to the Mascarene islands, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, 740 km (460 mi) east of Madagascar and 180 km (115 mi) south west of Mauritius.The mountainous island is of volcanic origin, 70.5 km long (43.8 mi, from north west to south east) and about 50 km (31 mi) wide. 845,000 people live on the island (in 2014). Administrative capital is Saint-Denis. Spoken languages are French (official) and Réunion Creole.
42. St. Helena: Of volcanic origin, St. Helena has much volcanic ash and many conspicuous rock features, but volcanic activity on the island is now extinct. The island’s population is largely of mixed European (mostly British), South and East Asian, and African descent. English is the only language spoken, and the majority of the people are Anglicans. Jamestown, the only town among the settlements on St. Helena, has about one-sixth of the island’s population.
43. Sao Tome and Principe: São Tomé is the capital of Sao Tome and Principe. The capital is also the largest city in the country, with about 72,000 inhabitants. São Tomé is Portuguese for Saint Thomas. The capital was founded in the 15th century, making it one of Africa’s oldest colonial cities.
44. Senegal: Dakar is the capital and largest city of the westernmost point on mainland Africa, Senegal. The capital city has over 1.1 million residents, and its metro area has over 2.45 million. Because Dakar only spans over 32 square miles, the population density is 32,400 persons per square mile.
Languages: French, Wolof, Pulaar, Jola, Mandinka
45. Seychelles: Victoria is the capital of Seychelles, located on the country’s largest island of Mahé. The 2010 population of Victoria was 26,450, almost one-third of the country’s total population of 90,945. Victoria’s economy is driven by tourism and exports of vanilla, coconuts, coconut oil, fish, and guano.
Languages: English, French, Creole
46. Sierra Leone: Freetown is Sierra Leone’s capital and major Atlantic port city. It is also the country’s major economic, financial, educational, cultural, and political center. Freetown has a population of about 1.1 million people and a population density of 34,000 persons per square mile. The capital is very ethnically diverse, with no single ethnic group forming more than 28% of the city’s population.
Languages: English (regular use limited to literate minority), Mende (principal vernacular in the south), Temne (principal vernacular in the north), Krio (English-based Creole a first language for 10% of the population but understood by 95%)
47. Somalia: Somalia’s capital and most populous city is Mogadishu. Mogadishu has an estimated population of 2.59 million people living in just 35 square miles. Mogadishu serves as a commercial and financial center and has a booming textile industry. This has helped its economy grow rapidly since 2011. Languages: Somali, Arabic, Italian, English
48. South Africa: South Africa has three capital cities: Cape Town (legislative), Bloemfontein (judicial), and Pretoria (administrative). The three capitals are a result of the political and cultural struggles South Africa faced from colonialism. In 1910, the Union of South Africa formed a compromise to spread the balance of power throughout the country. Cape Town is the second-richest City in Africa.
Languages: 11 official languages, including Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, Pedi, Sesotho (Sotho), siSwati (Swazi), Xitsonga (Tsonga), Tswana, Tshivenda (Venda), isiXhosa, isiZulu
49. South Sudan: Juba is the capital and largest city of South Sudan. Over 525,000 people live in the capital. Juba became the world’s youngest national capital on July 9, 2011, after South Sudan declared independence from Sudan. The capital is in the middle of an economic boom, with many merchants and regional and international businesses establishing a presence.
Languages: Arabic, Nubian, Ta Bedawie, diverse dialects of Nilotic, Nilo-Hamitic, Sudanic languages, English. note: program of "Arabization" in process
50. Sudan: The capital of Sudan is Khartoum or Khartum. With a population of 5.27 million, it is the largest metropolitan area in Sudan and the sixth-largest in Africa. The capital is an economic and trade center in Northern Africa, and its industries include printing, food processing, textiles, glass manufacturing, and petroleum products.
Languages: Arabic, Nubian, Ta Bedawie, diverse dialects of Nilotic, Nilo-Hamitic, Sudanic languages, English. note: program of "Arabization" in process
51. Swaziland: The small landlocked kingdom in southern Africa is bordered by South Africa and Mozambique. The country is known for its game reserves, the Mlawula Nature Reserve and the Hlane Royal National Park with diverse wildlife including lions, hippos and elephants. Swaziland has a population of 1.4 million people, national capitals are Mbabane, and Lobamba. Languages: Arabic, Nubian, Ta Bedawie, diverse dialects of Nilotic, Nilo-Hamitic, Sudanic languages, English, siSwati
52. United Republic of Tanzania: Dodoma is the capital of Tanzania. Dodoma has been the country's designated national capital since 1974, but the transfer of official functions from the previous capital, Dar es Salaam, is a slow process. According to the 2020 census, Dodoma's population is about 411,000 people. This is an increase from 40,000 when the population was chosen as the new capital. Languages: Kiswahili (Swahili), Kiunguju (name for Swahili in Zanzibar), English (primary language of commerce, administration, and higher education), Arabic (widely spoken in Zanzibar), Gogo, Haya, Makonde, Nyakyusa, Nyamwezi, Sukuma, Tumbuka, many other local languages.
53. Togo: Lomé is the capital and largest city of Togo. The capital's urban population is 837,437, with a population density of 24,100 persons per square mile. Lomé is an important trading port due to its proximity to neighboring countries, and its exports include palm oil, coffee, cotton, cocoa, and phosphates.
Languages: French (the language of commerce), Ewe and Mina (the two major African languages in the south), Kabye (Kabiye) and Dagomba (the two major African languages in the north)
54. Tunisia: Tunis is the capital of Tunisia. With about 2.7 million people, Tunisia is the largest city in Tunisia and the third-largest city in the Maghreb region behind Casablanca and Algiers. Inside Tunis is the Medina of Tunis, a World Heritage Site. The capital serves as the country's center of political, administrative, commercial, and cultural activities.
Languages: Arabic (and the languages of commerce) and French (commerce)
55. Uganda: Kampala is the capital city of Uganda. Kampala is also Uganda's largest city, with 1.65 million people in the city and 6.7 million in its metro area. The capital is one of the fastest-growing cities in Africa, with an annual population growth rate of 4.03%. In 2015, the capital generated about US$13.8 billion, accounting for over half of the country's total GDP. This shows how vital Kampala is to Uganda's economy. Languages: English (used in courts of law and by most newspapers and some radio broadcasts), Ganda (Luganda; most widely used of the Niger-Congo languages, preferred for native language publications), other Niger-Congo languages, Nilo-Saharan languages, Acoli, Swahili, Arabic
56. Zambia: Lusaka is the capital and largest city in Zambia. Its population is estimated to be about 2.7 million, quickly growing and developing. The capital is the country's center of commerce and government. The city also connects Zambia's four major highways running north, south, east, and west. Retail is a huge part of Lusaka's economy, with the country's largest and most numerous shopping centers.
Languages: English, major vernaculars: Bemba, Kaonda, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Nyanja, Tonga, and about 70 other indigenous languages.
57. Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe's capital and largest city is Harare. Harare, officially called Salisbury until 1982, is home to 3.1 million inhabitants. The city was founded in 1890 by the British and named Fort Salisbury. In 1982, the city was renamed on the second anniversary of Zimbabwe's independence from the United Kingdom.
Languages: English, Chishona (Shona), Sindebele (Ndebele), numerous but minor tribal dialects like: Sotho and Nambya, Shangani, Venda, Chewa, Nyanja, and Tonga.