What you don’t know about Africa, according to our readers’ quiz

This week, Washington, D.C., plays host to the 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. The event gives African leaders and their U.S. counterparts an opportunity to discuss the important issues of the day, ranging from trade and commerce to terrorism and Ebola.

In honor of the event, The Washington Post published a quiz  Friday that asked readers to find countries from the African continent on a map. Within a few days, tens of thousands of people had taken the test, providing us a glimpse of  how well our readers knew Africa.

If you haven't taken it yet, you can take it below, and see how you stack up.

So how well did our readers do? According to data from more than 40,000 respondents, the median country was identified correctly less than half of the time, with South Africa being the most recognized country, and Gambia the least.

(Kevin Schaul/The Washington Post)
(Kevin Schaul/The Washington Post)

Here are the full results for each nation:

Country Correct Votes Total Votes Percent Correct
South Africa 39,436 40,619 97%
Madagascar 38,998 40,772 96%
Egypt 36,406 40,694 89%
Morocco 30,682 40,849 75%
Libya 29,091 40,746 71%
Algeria 28,887 40,812 70%
Somalia 28,644 40,722 70%
Sudan 27,177 40,623 67%
Congo 26,987 40,734 6%
Tunisia 26,128 40,592 64%
South Sudan 24,568 40,766 60%
Ethiopia 23,931 40,654 59%
Central African Republic 20,564 40,647 51%
Mozambique 19,904 40,491 49%
Nigeria 19,697 40,788 48%
Eritrea 19,246 40,274 48%
Lesotho 18,008 40,375 45%
Mali 18,104 40,609 45%
Chad 18,020 40,619 44%
Kenya 17,488 40,957 43%
Niger 17,219 40,488 43%
Namibia 16,822 40,462 42%
Tanzania 16,064 40,564 40%
Angola 15,494 40,400 38%
Djibouti 15,293 40,358 38%
Mauritania 15,184 40,383 38%
Botswana 15,065 40,528 37%
Swaziland 13,718 40,707 34%
Zimbabwe 13,381 40,727 33%
Togo 13,197 40,270 33%
Uganda 13,270 40,693 33%
Ivory Coast 13,072 40,761 32%
Equatorial Guinea 12,612 40,650 31%
Senegal 12,472 40,358 31%
Ghana 12,340 40,586 30%
Rwanda 12,327 40,613 30%
Cameroon 11,972 40,539 30%
Zambia 11,732 40,403 29%
Benin 11,343 40,116 28%
Malawi 11,320 40,205 28%
Burkina Faso 11,084 40,235 26%
Congo Republic 10,950 40,914 26%
Burundi 10,496 40,069 26%
Liberia 9,936 40,720 24%
Sierra Leone 9,771 40,467 24%
Guinea 9,169 40,299 23%
Gabon 8,619 40,059 21%
Guinea-Bissau 7,973 40,075 20%
Gambia 5,863 40,305 15%

Take this with a grain of salt, of course – this is an online test, so people could well cheat, and some readers may not have taken it completely seriously.

But it still offers an interesting glimpse at public perceptions for an often misunderstood continent. Some of the results might seem surprising: Nigeria and Ghana are big, important countries that are often in the news, yet only 48 percent and 30 percent  of people identified them correctly in our quiz, respectively. Readers seem particularly confused by the countries in West Africa (and especially those that begin with the letter "g"). In some ways, the results seem to echo another recent poll from The Washington Post's Monkey Cage Blog, which found that just 16 percent of respondents were able to locate Ukraine on a map.

The Washington Post isn't immune to these criticisms, of course. As a number of observers have pointed out, only 49 countries were included in this test, not the broader number of 55 African nations. The island nations of  Mauritius, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe, Comoros and Seychelles and the disputed Western Sahara were not featured on the map, due to the fact we focused on mainland African nations and the large island of Madagascar.

Adam Taylor writes about foreign affairs for The Washington Post. Originally from London, he studied at the University of Manchester and Columbia University.
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