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.
Here are the full results for each nation:
|Country||Correct Votes||Total Votes||Percent Correct|
|Central African Republic||20,564||40,647||51%|
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.