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The Question:

How many countries are in Africa?

The Answer:

There are 47 countries on the African continent, including the disputed territory of Western Sahara. However, the islands off the coast are also usually listed as African, bringing the total to 53. The island nations are Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Madagascar, the Comoros, the Seychelles, and Mauritius. Each is an independent nation.

Some sources do not count all of the island countries as African, so the total number fluctuates. It is important to remember that even though they may have diverse populations and cultural traditions, all of the island nations listed above have substantial African populations and strong historical connections to Africa, so they are usually considered "African."

—The Editors

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