Africa and the Mercator Projection: Misconceptions

The World in Africa

This is a companion article to
"Africa and Map Projections"

I have gone through the 600+ comments (SIC!) in the LinkedIn post "The World in Africa" (LinkedIn 2021), and extracted many but far from all of these more or less completely incorrect in some cases hilarious efforts to understand or interpret what the map means (Map 1). For a further disussion see the accompanying article (Devblog 2021).

In addition to comments that tried in vain to understand this map, many went off on completely irrelevant subjects (for example geopolitics, on the perceived mostly problematic presence of China in Africa). Many were repetitious, for example, critisizing the map for not including specific countries, for example, Russia. Many addressed the perceived incorrect difference made or implied between continents and countries, and why this or that continent or country was / was not included, while several focused on the fact that "Eastern Europe" is neither a continent nor a country. Enough said. Here goes (Note 2):

  1. How Africa has been recolonized,
  2. Shows the countries that have/had territories in Afirca,
  3. Shows which languages in countires that have/had territories are still spoken,
  4. Shows which countries that have/had territories that still have business interests in Africa,
  5. Shows neo-colonization of Africa,
  6. Not differentiating the uniqueness of Africa,
  7. Germany should be moved to Namibia, Tanganyika, and Congo,
  8. USA should be moved to Ghana, Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, and Cameroon,
  9. Switzerland should be moved to Senegal, Rwanda, Ivory Coast, Gabon, and Cameroon,
  10. Japan should be moved to Ethiopia, Moambique, Congo, and Central African Republic,
  11. China should be moved to South Africa, Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria, Angola, Ethiopia, and Tanzania,
  12. Belgium should be moved to Congo, Uganda, and Cameroon,
  13. Portugal should be moved to São Tomé and Principe, Mozambique, Angola, and Equatorial Guinea,
  14. France should be moved to Algeria, Gabon, Cameroon, Mali, Niger, and The Gambia,
  15. Great Britain should be moved to Mauritius, Uganda, and South Africa,
  16. Eastern Europe should be moved to Burkina Faso and The Gambia,
  17. India should be moved to Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, and Tanzania,
  18. Pakistan is missing,
  19. A bad map,
  20. Wonder what African leaders make of this map,
  21. There is not enough space in Africa to fit all the world's countries in,
  22. Does this show which countries give more aid?,
  23. Shows who control Africa,
  24. Shows financial aid, or resource extraction, or land size,
  25. Geographical dimensions of the political borders,
  26. A man brought a big bag and fix in items that can go into the bag,
  27. Why is this considered “the world”? There is no single country of South America here. I really don’t appreciate these kind of posts… this is not the world in Africa at all…,
  28. It shows each country's financial and economic hold in each African area,
  29. Eastern European? What exactly is this? Some kind of country? Who draw this map??? HELP!!!!,
  30. Where is Russia?,
  31. Morocco is not part of Africa?
  32. They can't survive without us. But they pretend they don't know this. And then, they brainwash our people and make them feel irrelevant. But they can't live without us and our lands,
  33. There is as scramble for Africa that is coded,
  34. The smaller Africa was, the easier it was to sell to the English or the French publics that it was practical, possible, and very profitable to colonize Africa,
  35. Where is South America and the Asia Pacific, or Australia, et. al.?,
  36. Canada, Russia, and Australia aren't there,
  37. I don't understand this. In terms of trade relationships, loans, or what?,
  38. Russia is too big to fit in,
  39. Posts is above new colonial control of resources that influenced existing geopolitical wars,
  40. The map depicts cold war, geopolitical wars, and transport routes,
  41. Africa is represented in downsize. This is deliberately done to create the visual effect of a small Africa to manipulate, brainwash, and deceive Africans wherever they are,
  42. If it is about the geographical size, why there's China and small China 2, India and small India 2?!!! Because they cannot fit as they are, that's why the designer had to cut them,
  43. What is the problem with India?
  44. Looks like most people here did not understand this map!! It is not a comparison of the size of other countries vs Africa!! It is showing the countries that have/had territories in Africa !! … or which language (from those countries) is still spoken… or have “business interests / investments” in Africa,
  45. Why is China bigger than Portugal?
  46. Kenya would be related to China instead of India,
  47. The map isn't correct. Most of those countries have financial interests in Africa, but not precisely in the countries were they were located,
  48. If the geopolitical influence is the paradigm here then the above map is awfully flawed from the get go. For one Francophone Africa was and still is the backyard and uncontested playground of France and Belgium all current geopolical analyses of Africa agree on that,
  49. Did Pakistan have any interactions in Africa?,
  50. Who stole the most resources,
  51. This means "under control of"... USA makes war by destroying countries and then trying to control resources, China makes silent wars by pumping money in, exchange resources and then later impose their political system on...
  52. I think not being on this map should make you happy,
  53. South Americans are African’s don’t be deceived,
  54. Colonization...China is coming for Southern Africa,
  55. It is comical to call the state Eastern Europe since, for example, Germany or Portugal appears here as a state. Only Americans can draw such nonsense,
  56. Africa is not a country and Russia is not a continent. So to be exact: Russia is the biggest country in the world on the biggest continent in the world,
  57. The map is just showing you how Africa has been indirectly recolonized with Chines loan, aids, etc. Including the shameless so called giant of Africa (Nigeria) who runs to China every 3 months to get loans, including loans to fund the budget/pay politicians...,
  58. I believe you are admonishing us to consider a paradigmatic change about the future global economic (resources availability, supply chain, technology, growth centers, etc.) and political (power, dominance, decision centers) configurations, in the context of today's distortions, inclusive of size misrepresentation,
  59. This image is lacking info and misleading. Does it mean Kenya is heavily under India’s influence or developing fast like India or has similar social/political problems like India?,
  60. Pretty sure Canada is part of the world but I can understand why you'd forget about us,
  61. The concept of the map is okay but it is not showing the true position of things. China dominate the economy of Africa countries and may probably be occupying 60% of the space in the map,
  62. Been a while since I read anything from Ian Bremmer and this post and the comments remind me why I stopped. How this post was interpreted: Westerners: "oh wow, I didn't know Africa was so big. What a wonderful educational map". Africans: "Here they go again carving up the continent",
  63. Are you sure yr measurement is correct?,
  64. Why are you showing this? Don't see any context,
  65. USA, Germany, Italy, and France enter in the name of terrorism and capturing all gold reserve, while China doing investment and try to bring stability,
  66. I believe Nigeria should be coloured red (part 2) not blue,
  67. Wenn Sie solche Bilder reingehen, dann schreiben Sie einen kurzen Text dazu, um was es geht und das Erscheinungsjahr dazu, so bringt das nur Verwirrung! Ich denke, alle warten auf eine Text-Ergänzung!,
  68. Since these powerful countries fit inside Africa, Africa could be named The United States of Africa,
  69. What the heck is that?,
  70. What a joke,
  71. Africa has suffered in the hands of Western and Rasing Eastern power struggles and politics! There’s no good justification of the presence of these countries in Africa only colonialism again and again!,
  72. This is a great map on who controls which territory,
  73. What about Alaska and Hawaii,
  74. You're comparing a continent to countries. North America the continent, which includes the US, Canada, Mexico, and Central America, is not much smaller than Africa. Asia as a continent, which includes China, India, and Russia, is much larger,
  75. It is the sad fate of the African continent, its wealth has always caused its misfortunes, fanned the greed of the most powerful long before the Romans and the Pharaohs,
  76. I think this map shows the control and influence of other nations on African nations,
  77. One of your worst post. Where is Pakistan? And what is meant by India Part 2?,
  78. This map is inaccurate! France is bigger than that! And USA is all over Africa and not just limited to central and western part of Africa,
  79. To me this means how Africa is shared by the world and divided. Since Africa is a consumer not producer,
  80. Each one of those countries has a greater GDP on their own than all of Africa put together, Go Figure!!!,
  81. Bit confused about where Russia and Canada fit into this, considering they're the largest countries in the world by land mass. The picture might also irk the Brazilian and Australian populations respectively,
  82. Did someone ask the author of this map what he/she meant?,
  83. I agree with the thought of Prof. Brenner. In Africa, all states should be confined, which still in fact, do nothing to save the common home, the planet earth, they destroy and strip Africa of everything to create profits,
  84. All the rich and large countries are here and Africa is poor and there is a lot of disease. So everyone is stealing there ... that's damn impudent. It is correct that God drove a person out of paradise and then they need to be expelled and in general to Mars,
  85. Not sure this will improve relations between Africa and the rest of the world,
  86. The map of economic occupation/imperialism in Africa? Or map of robbers of Africa?,
  87. The is important why????,
  88. Not sure its influence as Japan was never a colonialist in Africa,
  89. I read that Africa is much bigger than it is depicted in global maps. This just confirms it. So the question is why is it not shown as big as it is?,
  90. The data needs to be updated... East Africa in particularly - Chinese are the real Investors. Africans needs to wake up or else its going to be hard for them to do business in their own borders,
  91. Italy in Egypt. Wow. In what way? India in Eastern Africa. What an unintelligible map! Not to mention that it sounds unrealitic and unreflecting in many ways,
  92. Whatever is left in this beautiful earth will be taken over by few wealthy from these countries,
  93. If you flatten Switzerland with a rolling pin, it's larger than these countries plus Russia and Argentina combined,
  94. This map is pure rubbish, disgusting, and insult into so many countries in Africa. Why LinkedIn would publish trash like this????,
  95. It is making me uncomfortable to look at it. Please remove this map. We don't want to be reminded of the colonial times and this is a very sensitive issue,
  96. Due to all respect please don’t insult our intelligence!,
  97. Why all this, the colonial regime is over but we still suffers bad leadership, however only Africans can determine which country to take has her allies,
  98. Dislike button is needed for posts like this...,
  99. USSR is missing, as is Canada, Australia, and Brazil,
  100. UK or France should be larger,
  101. UK and US should be one, France should be larger,
  102. Current influence: India, Eastern Europe,
  103. Population: Pakistan, Nigeria, Indonesia missing.

Lars T Soeftestad

(1) This article contains comments in a LinkedIn post "The World in Africa", in December 2021 (LinkedIn 2021). My views on these comments are available in a companion article on Devblog (Note 3).
(2) About the comments: (i) They are listed in the order in which they appear, (ii) They refer, implicitly or explicitly, to the map in this article, (iii) Grammar, syntax, and spelling mistakes have, for the most, been corrected (with exceptions for language where it was difficult or not possible to get at the real meaning), and (iv) They are largely presented as written, that is, they are quotations.
(3) Image credit: Ian Bremmer, Eurasia Group.
(4) Relevant Devblog articles: "Africa and Map Projections" at:
(x) Other Devblog articles: "x" at:
(x) Permalink:
(x) This article was published 27 December 2021. It was revised 3 January 2022.

LinkedIn. 2021. URL:

Add new comment