Africa embraces 54 nations and is the second largest continent covering approximately 22 per cent of the world's total land area. This expansive land mass is bisected by the equator and encompasses the Sahara, the world's largest desert, and the Nile, the world's largest river.
English is among the official languages of 17 of the 19 competing African nations and the total population of all the participating African nations is 370 million, with South Africa the biggest nation and the tropical Seychelles the smallest.
South Africa was reinstated back into the Commonwealth Games in 1994 after an absence of 36 years and Nigeria has also been welcomed back in the Commonwealth after its membership was suspended in 1995.
One third of all the athletes who took part in the last Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 came from African countries and gold, silver and bronze medals were taken home to 14 African nations.
Major African cities include Cairo and Alexandria in Egypt; Kinshasa in Congo (formerly Zaire); Casablanca in Morocco; Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa; Algiers in Algeria; Lagos in Nigeria; and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.