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Learn More About Africa

village water source in GhanaSpriitans have interacted with the people and governments in Africa for centuries. The history, politics and culture of these countries determine the socio-economic status and spiritual life of those who live there. This in turn affects how Duquesne students and faculty can best learn from, share with and serve the people of Africa.

These are just some of the countries where Spiritans have established missions.  More African countries will be added to this section soon.


Burundi is a resource-poor country with an underdeveloped manufacturing sector. Agriculture, mainly tea and coffee, employs more than 90 percent of the population. Following political violence in 1993, more than 200,000 Burundians died over the next 12 years, and hundreds of thousands of people were internally displace or became refugees. Food, medicine and electricity remain in short supply, and less than 2 percent of the population has electricity in its homes. Learn more.


Ghana is rich with natural resources, and its biggest business is agriculture: cocoa, rice, cassava, peanuts, corn, shea nuts, bananas. Other industries are mining, lumbering, light manufacturing, aluminum smelting, food processing, cement and small commercial ship building. Yet, deaths caused by diseases and high infant mortality rates result in only 3.6 percent of the population living to be 65 years old or older. Learn more.

Ivory Coast

The official language of the Ivory Coast is French. There are also 60 native dialects spoken.  The Ivory Coast is the world's largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans and a significant producer and exporter of coffee and palm oil. Children only attend schooling on average until age 6 and only 49% of the population is literate. Learn more.


About 85 percent of Kenyans are literate, and most attend school until age 11, but infectious disease and malnutirtion are major health risks. Kenya also provides shelter to almost a quarter of a million refugees including Ugandans who flee across the border. Agriculture is a major business in Kenya, along with small-scale consumer goods, oil refining and tourism. Learn more.


Bounded by two deserts, Namibia is the first country in the world to incorporate the protection of the environment into its constitution, with the entire Namib Desert coastal strip on the Atlantic Ocean protected. Mining is the biggest business in the country: diamonds, copper, uranium, gold, silver, lead, tin, lithium, cadmium, tungsten and salt. Still, one than one-third of country's 2.1 million people live on $1 a day; more than half live on $2 per day. Learn more.


Nigeria is currently experiencing its longest period of civilian rule since it gained independence in 1960. A former petroleum-based economy, revenues have been squandered. Poverty is an issue impacting most of the population and nearly 70 percent of the people are literate. Nigeria is Africa's most populous country and is composed of more than 250 ethnic groups. About half of the population is Muslim, 40 percent is Christian and 10 percent hold indigenous beliefs. Learn more.


Rwanda is the most densely populated country in Africa. Ninety percent of the population is engaged in agriculture and some mineral and agro-processing. Tourism is Rwanda's primary foreign exchange earner and in 2008, minerals overtook coffee and tea as their primary export. Most of the population lives on only about $1,100 a year. Learn more.


Tanzania is home to Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa and is bordered by three of the largest lakes on the continent. Tanzania is one of the world's poorest economies in terms of per capita income. However, Tanzania averaged 7% growth per year between 2000 and 2008 on strong gold production and tourism. Agriculture employs 80% of the workforce. Learn more.

(Source CIA World Factbook.)