ECA Policy Brief – Issue 12
Africa has 2,110 living languages and 3,315 ethnic groups. In every African country, the population practices at least two religions. The countries are also diverse in terms of economic systems, (ranging from pastoralism to capitalism), settlement types (rural or urban) and patterns of income distribution. In addition, there are differences among the African countries in terms of gender ratios, age demographics and the origin of the population (indigenous or migrant).
The management of diversity continues to be prominent in the agenda of international bodies that deal with peace, security, human rights and development, such as the United Nations. It gained significance in Africa during the first extraordinary summit of the committee of participating heads of State and Government of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), which was held in Cotonou, Benin, on 25 and 26 October 2008. During the summit, the management of diversity was identified as an emerging issue to peace, integration and development in Africa.