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Commonwealth Games 2010: Participating nations in Africa

There will be 71 nations in Delhi, the same number that competed in Melbourne four years ago but one fewer than the record number that competed in Manchester.

Rwanda, which was admitted to the Commonwealth in 2009, will be competing for the first time. Fiji, which was suspended from the Commonwealth last year because of its lack of progress towards becoming a democracy, is not eligible to compete.

Nineteen African nations will be participating in Delhi.


Botswana

A landlocked republic in Southern Africa, Botswana gained independence from the UK on September 30, 1966. It is the world's largest producer of diamonds, an industry which has transformed the country from one of the poorest in the world to a middle-income nation. One of Africa's most stable countries.

Games fact: Men's long jumper Gable Garenamotse won a first-ever athletics medal for the country (silver) in 2006.

Cameroon

The former French Cameroon and part of British Cameroon merged in 1961 to form the present country. It became a member of the Commonwealth in 1995. Since its independence, it has struggled from one-party rule to a multi-party system, although the progress to democratic reform has been slow.

Games fact: All of Cameroon's nine golds were won in 2002, and all came in weightlifting.

The Gambia

The Gambia gained its independence from the UK and joined the Commonwealth in 1965. One of Africa's smallest countries, it is entirely surrounded by Senegal except for a small stretch of coastline. A military coup in 1994 overthrew the president and banned political activity, but a new 1996 constitution and presidential elections, followed by parliamentary balloting in 1997, completed a nominal return to civilian rule.

Games fact: The Gambia's only medal came in their first Games when Sheikh Faye won bronze in the high jump.

Ghana

Formed from the merger of the British colony of the Gold Coast and the Togoland trust territory in 1957, Ghana became the first country in colonial Africa to gain its independence. Rich in mineral resources, cocoa and gold are two of its major exports.

Games fact: Long jumper Ignisious Gaisah and weightlifter Majeti Fetrie were Ghana's gold medallists in Melbourne.

Kenya

Following a period of violent partisan uprisings in the 1950s, the United Kingdom granted Kenya its independence in December 1963. In the Great Rift Valley, palaeontologists have discovered some of the earliest evidence of man's ancestors, earning Kenya the description of "the cradle of humanity".

Games fact: Since 1970, Kenya's medal tally has always been in double figures, winning medals of every colour.

Lesotho

Basutoland was renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho upon independence from the UK in 1966. Constitutional government was restored in 1993 after 23 years of military rule. The land-locked kingdom, made up mostly of highlands, is entirely surrounded by South Africa.

Games fact: Lesotho made their debut in the 1974 Games and first won a medal in 1998, when Paul Thabiso won the marathon.

Malawi

Established in 1891, the British protectorate of Nyasaland became the independent nation of Malawi in 1964. The current flag was adopted this July, with the rising sun of the old flag replaced by a full sun which represents Malawi's economic progress.

Games fact: All of Malawi's medals have come in boxing, but the country has not been on a Commonwealth podium since 1986.

Mauritius

'Discovered' by the Portuguese in 1505, the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius was subsequently held by the Dutch, French and British before independence was attained in 1968. The volcanic island of lagoons and palm-fringed beaches has a reputation for stability and racial harmony among its mixed population of Asians, Europeans and Africans.

Games fact: Boxer Richard Sunee's flyweight gold in 1998 is the only time Mauritius have won a Commonwealth title.

Mozambique

Almost five centuries as a Portuguese colony came to a close with independence in 1975. Large-scale emigration by whites, economic dependence on South Africa, a severe drought, and a prolonged civil war hindered the country's development. A peace agreement with rebel forces ended the fighting in 1992. Mozambique was finally admitted to the Commonwealth in 1995.

Games fact: 800m runner Maria Mutola has won three of Mozambique's four medals - golds in 1998 and 2002 and bronze in 2006. All four of the country's medals have come in the women's 800m.

Namibia

Namibia became a member of the Commonwealth following independence in 1990. A former German colony called Sud-West Afrika, it was occupied by South Africa during World War I and remained under its administration in 1988. Deserts occupy much of the country which also boasts game-rich grasslands and a semi-arid central plateau.

Games fact: Frankie Fredericks has earned four of Namibia's 12 medals, winning two golds and a silver over 200m and 100m bronze.

Nigeria

Independence from the UK came in 1960. Following nearly 16 years of military rule, a new constitution was adopted in 1999 and a peaceful transition to civilian government completed, although it still has many ethnic and religious divisions. Nigeria was suspended from the Commonwealth between 1995 and 1999. One of the world's largest oil producers.

Games fact: Three of Nigeria's four golds in Melbourne came from EAD (elite athletes with a disability) events.

Rwanda

Formerly under German and Belgian rule, Rwanda proclaimed its independence in 1962. Ethnic tensions between Hutus and Tutsis resulted in Africa's worst genocide in modern times, in 1994. Rwanda was admitted to the Commonwealth in 2009. Coffee and tea production are two of its main sources of foreign exchange.

Games fact: Rwanda will be making its Commonwealth Games debut in Delhi.

Seychelles

A lengthy struggle between France and Great Britain for the islands ended in 1814, when they were ceded to the latter. Independence came in 1976. The archipelago is home to an array of wildlife, including giant tortoises and sea turtles. Much of the land is given over to nature reserves.

Games fact: Boxing, athletics and weightlifting have provided Seychelles with Commonwealth medals.

Sierra Leone

Independence came in 1961. The 1991 to 2002 civil war between the government and the Revolutionary United Front resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than two million people. Several years on, the country still faces the challenge of reconstruction. The country is rich in diamonds and other minerals.

Games fact: Sierra Leone have yet to win a medal. Sprinter Horace Dove-Edwin finished second in the 100m in 1994 but was disqualified because tests showed he had used steroids.

South Africa

The Republic of South Africa joined the Commonwealth in 1931. Having left in 1961, it rejoined in 1994. Following the Boer War, the resulting Union of South Africa in 1910 operated a policy of apartheid - the separate development of the races. The 1990s brought an end to apartheid and ushered in black majority rule.

Games fact: In terms of golds won, 1954 (16) was South Africa's most successful Games. In terms of overall medals, their highest tally came in 2002 when they scooped 46.

Swaziland

Autonomy for the Swazis of southern Africa was guaranteed by the British in the late 19th century; independence was granted in 1968. The landlocked country is surrounded by Mozambique and South Africa and is one of the world's last remaining absolute monarchies.

Games fact: In 2006, light flyweight boxer Simanga Shiba won bronze, Swaziland's first Commonwealth medal for 20 years.

Tanzania

Shortly after independence, Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form the nation of Tanzania in 1964. Although one of the poorest countries in the world, it has been spared the internal strife that has blighted many African countries.

Games fact: Tanzania's first gold came via the great Filbert Bayi in 1974; its most recent was in 2006 when the country claimed the men's marathon for the second successive Games.

Uganda

The landlocked East African country, which sits astride the Equator, achieved independence from the UK in 1962. Since the late 1980s, Uganda has rebounded from civil war and economic catastrophe to become relatively peaceful and prosperous.

Games fact: Uganda has a fine history in boxing, but their two golds in Melbourne came on the track, including Dorcas Inzikuru winning the inaugural women's 3,000m steeplechase.

Zambia

The territory of Northern Rhodesia was administered by the South Africa Company from 1891 until takeover by the UK in 1923. The name was changed to Zambia upon independence in 1964. After one-party rule, a multi-party system emerged in the 1990s.

Games fact: At the 2006 Commonwealth Games, Zambia failed to win a medal for the first time ever.



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