Europe and Sub-Saharan African are two of the least similar regions in the world. Determining the European country most similar to Sub-Saharan Africa requires considering various social, cultural, economic, and political factors.
One way to answer this complex question is by analyzing the data from the Country Similarity Index. The index attempts to quantify how similar countries are to each other relative to other countries, using a variety of statistics from five broad categories: demographics, culture, politics, infrastructure, and geography.
(European countries are defined as Albania, Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom)
Albania stands out as the most similar country in Europe to Sub-Saharan Africa due to its demographics, politics, and infrastructure. It is one of the poorest countries in Europe. As a result, its infrastructure is not well developed. Furthermore, its government is not as democratic as other European countries.
Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the youngest population. In Europe, Albania has the youngest population. Its median age is around 33 years old. In contrast, Germany and Italy’s populations are around 47 years old.
Furthermore, among European countries, only Moldova and Ukraine have a lower GDP per capita than Albania. A large percentage of its people still work in the agriculture sector, in contrast to most European countries.
In addition, both Sub-Saharan Africa and Albania have a mix of Muslims and Christians. Like many African countries, Albania officially observes both Muslim and Christian holidays. However, Albania is predominately Muslim.
Corruption is big problem in both Albania and many Sub-Saharan African countries. According to the World Justice Project‘s Rule of Law Index, Albania is the third most corrupt country in Europe, only trailing Russia and Belarus.
The country has experienced periods of political instability and polarization, which have sometimes led to protests and demonstrations. Some Sub-Saharan African countries also have a history of political instability and related challenges.
Albania is also not as democratic as most European countries. Allegations of election irregularities in Albania are wideespread. Furthermore, its laws tend to be more conservative as well. As in most Sub-Saharan African countries, same-sex marriage is illegal.
Albania’s infrastructure is notably less developed compared to many other European nations. The country has one of the lowest rates of vehicles per capita on the continent. Unlike some European counterparts with extensive railway networks, Albania relies on roads and maritime transport.
In a manner reminiscent of several Sub-Saharan African countries, Albania relies on hydroelectric power for its energy generation. This approach is recognized as a cost-effective means of producing electricity. Albania also exhibits lower per capita electricity consumption compared to the majority of European nations.
Moreover, Albania’s healthcare infrastructure lags behind that of its European peers, facing various challenges. The country grapples with shortages of healthcare professionals, including doctors and nurses, while healthcare facilities and equipment suffer from inadequate funding. Regrettably, these issues parallel the challenges faced by numerous Sub-Saharan African nations.
The Most Similar Sub-Saharan African Country to Albania
The Country Similarity Index suggests that Gabon is the most similar Sub-Saharan African country to Albania. Gabon is one of the wealthier countries in the region, primarily due to its significant oil reserves. As a result, they fall into the category of middle-income countries, since Europe is significantly wealthier.