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Africa

Population figures correct as at August 2004.

Botswana
Population 1,479,039
Capital Gaborone
Language English (official), Setswana, Shona, local languages
Religion Traditional beliefs, Protestant, Roman Catholic
Flag of

Botswana, a landlocked state in southern Africa, bordering South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, has half of its land mass within the Kalahari Desert.

The economy was founded upon cattle rearing, and beef is an important export, but now it is based on mining and industry. Diamonds account for 80 per cent of export earnings.

Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on September 30, 1966. They did not appear at a Commonwealth Games until 1974 in Christchurch. Botswana has since had seven Games appearances, winning five Commonwealth medals. Botswana’s strongest disciplines include Athletics, Boxing and Lawn Bowls.

Manchester in 2002 was Botswana’s most successful Games, with athletes Gable Garenamotse and Lechedzani Luza winning silver medals in the Men’s Long Jump and Men’s Flyweight Division Boxing respectively, while Gilbert Khunwane won a bronze in the Lightweight Boxing.

View the final list of medallists from Botswana at Melbourne 2006
See highlights and photos of the Queen's Baton Relay in Botswana


Cameroon
Population 15,891,531
Capital Yaounde
Language English, French
Religion Traditional beliefs, Roman Catholic, Sunni Muslim, Protestant
Flag of Cameroon

Cameroon is a unitary republic of central Africa. It borders Nigeria, Chad, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and the Gulf of Guinea.

The majority of Cameroonians are farmers. Cocoa, coffee and cotton are the main cash crops, though crude oil, sawn wood and logs account for over half of export earnings.

Split into two territories after World War I, the former French Cameroon became independent in 1960, and joined with part of British Cameroon in 1961 to form the present country. Cameroon became a member of the Commonwealth in 1995, Cameroon has enjoyed celebrated success at its two games appearances, winning a total of 18 medals including 9 gold.

In Manchester in 2002, Cameroon dominated the Men’s and Woman’s Weightlifting competition with all nine of their Commonwealth Games gold coming in this discipline at Manchester.

View the final list of medallists from Cameroon at Melbourne 2006
See highlights and photos of the Queen's Baton Relay in Cameroon


Ghana
Population 19,271,744
Capital Accra
Language English (officials), Hausa, Akan, local languages
Religion Protestant, Roman Catholic, Sunni Muslim
Flag of Ghana

Ghana borders the Ivory Coast to the west, Burkina Faso in the north and Togo to the east and the Gulf of Guinea to the south.

Ghana’s climate is tropical, with high rainfall in the south, where most people live. Ghana is a major producer of cocoa. Timber is also an important commodity.

By 1901, the Ghanaian empire had been fully absorbed into Britain, and the Gold Coast Colony and the northern territories became a protectorate. On 6 March 1957, the Gold Coast became independent when it merged with the former British Togoland to form Ghana, and join the Commonwealth. Ghana has competed in 12 Games and has amounted a total of 48 medals including 13 gold.

The 1974 British Commonwealth Games in Christchurch saw one of Ghana’s most celebrated Games victories, when Joshua Owasa won gold in the Men’s Triple Jump with a leap of 16.5 metres, six centimetres further than India’s Mohinder Singh Gill.

View the final list of medallists from Ghana at Melbourne 2006
See highlights and photos of the Queen's Baton Relay in Ghana


Kenya
Population 28,809,000
Capital Nairobi
Language Swahili (official), English, many local languages
Religion Roman Catholic, Protestant, traditional beliefs
Flag of Kenya

Kenya is in eastern Africa, with part of its border lining the Indian Ocean and the other shared with the five surrounding countries of Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Somalia.

Agricultural products, chiefly tea and coffee, provide half export earnings. Tourism is the main foreign exchange earner.

In 1920 the country became a British colony, and in 1963 Kenya gained its independence and joined the Commonwealth. Kenya had already competed in the 1954, 1958, and 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, and is now a veteran of 12 attendances, with a total of 144 medals, including 53 gold medals.

Kenya is famous for its distance runners and their many Olympic and Commonwealth titles on the running track, and in Manchester Kenyan athletes became a part of Commonwealth Games history when they won gold, silver, and bronze in the Men’s 5,000 metres.

View the final list of medallists from Kenya at Melbourne 2006
See highlights and photos of the Queen's Baton Relay in Kenya


Lesotho
Population 2,129,000
Capital Maseru
Language Sesotho, English, Zulu
Religion Roman Catholic, Protestant, traditional beliefs
Flag of Lesotho

Lesotho is a landlocked state entirely surrounded by the Republic of South Africa.

Subsistence farming and herding are the main activities. Exports include livestock, vegetables, wool and mohair. The economy depends heavily on South Africa for transport links and employment.

The present Lesotho emerged as a single state as early as 1822 and in 1868 it became a British Protectorate named Basutoland. The name was changed to the Kingdom of Lesotho when it became an independent kingdom within the Commonwealth on 4 October 1966. Lesotho made its Games debut in 1974, and has taken part in every Games apart from Brisbane in 1982, picking up two medals over this time, including one gold.

Lesotho’s first and only gold medal was won in the 1998 Men’s Marathon in Kuala Lumpur when Thabiso Paul Moqhali raced to the title in 2:19:15. Instantly, Thabiso became Lesotho’s proudest and most celebrated Commonwealth Games athlete.

View the final list of medallists from Lesotho at Melbourne 2006
See highlights and photos of the Queen's Baton Relay in Lesotho


Malawi
Population 10,154,299
Capital Lilongwe
Language English (official), Chichewa, Lomwe, local languages
Religion Protestant, Roman Catholic, traditional beliefs, Sunni Muslim
Flag of Malawi

Malawi is in central Africa and one-fifth of the country is covered by Lake Malawi. It is bordered by Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique.

The climate is mainly subtropical with varying rainfall. The economy is predominantly agricultural. Tobacco, tea, and sugar are the main exports.

The British established colonial authority over the region in 1891, forming the Nyasaland and District Protectorate. In 1893 this became the British Central African protectorate and Nyasaland in 1907. Malawi became independent in 1964, the same year it joined the Commonwealth. Malawi has won three bronze medals in their nine Commonwealth Games appearances, including one in their debut in 1970.

All three of these medals have come in the lightweight division Boxing competition, with the other two in 1986, and all three have come at Games in Scotland.

View the final list of medallists from Malawi at Melbourne 2006
See highlights and photos of the Queen's Baton Relay in Malawi


Mauritius
Population 1,172,000
Capital Port Louis
Language English, French, Creole, Hindi, Indian languages
Religion Hindu, Roman Catholic, Sunni Muslim, Protestant
Flag of Mauritius Mauritius is an island nation in the southwest Indian Ocean, about 900 km east of Madagascar and about 3,943 kilometres southwest of India. The main island of Mauritius is volcanic in origin and has a coral coast rising to a central plateau located of the eastern coast of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. In addition to the main island, the republic includes the islands of St. Brandon and Rodrigues and the Agalega Islands.

The majority of the population reside on the west side of the island. The climate is warm and humid. Mauritus’ economy is based on a combination of tourism, industry and finance, while its main exports include sugar cane and textiles.

Mauritian independence was attained in 1968, with the country becoming a republic within the Commonwealth in 1992. Mauritius made its debut at the Games in 1958, and will be appearing for the 12th time at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne 2006. Mauritius has won a total of 5 medals, including one gold, in Games competition.

Their lone gold medal came at their most successful Games in Kuala Lumpur in Men’s Flyweight division Boxing when Richard Sunee stepped-up to take the gold.

View the final list of medallists from Mauritius at Melbourne 2006
See highlights and photos of the Queen's Baton Relay in Mauritius

Mozambique
Population 19,614,345
Capital Maputo
Language Portugese, Makua, Tsonga, English and many local languages
Religion Traditional beliefs, Roman Catholic, Sunni Muslim
Flag of Mozambique Mozambique is located in southeastern Africa, bordered on the east by the Mozambique Channel in the Indian Ocean. The country shares land borders with South Africa and Swaziland in the south; Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe in the west; and Tanzania in the north.

The economy is based on agriculture and trade. Exports include shrimps, cashews, cotton and sugar.

By the late 19th century Mozambique was administered partly by Portuguese authorities in Lisbon and in 1951, Mozambique became an overseas province of Portugal. Mozambique became independent on 25 June 1975, and in 1996, became the only nation which wasn’t a former part of the British Empire to join the Commonwealth. Making their Games debut in Kuala Lumpur in 1998, Mozambique has won three medals in their appearances, including two golds.

The two gold medals were won by Maria Mutola in the Woman’s 800 metres. The “Maputo Express” is also an Olympic and World champion in this athletic discipline.

View the final list of medallists from Mozambique at Melbourne 2006
See highlights and photos of the Queen's Baton Relay in Mozambique

Namibia
Population 1,648,000
Capital Windhoek
Language English, Afrikaans, German, Ovambo and local languages
Religion Protestant, Roman Catholic
Flag of Namibia Namibia lies on the Atlantic coast of south-western Africa, and is one of the driest and most sparsely populated countries on earth. It is bordered by Angola, Zambia, and Zimbabwe to the north, Botswana to the east, and South Africa to the south.

The north, which supports crops and herds, gets some rain falls in the summer. The economy is based mainly on agriculture, diamond and uranium mining.

South Africa occupied the former German colony during World War I and administered it as a mandate until after World War II, when it annexed the territory. In 1966 a guerrilla group launched a war of independence, but it was not until 1988 that South Africa agreed to end its administration, and Namibia won its independence in 1990. Namibia has participated in three Commonwealth Games and as won a total of 10 medals including two gold.

Veteran sprinter, Frankie Fredericks is responsible for winning Namibia’s only two gold medals. Fredericks won the Men’s 200 metres in Victoria in 1994 and backed up eight years later to win the same event in Manchester the age of 35.

View the final list of medallists from Namibia at Melbourne 2006
See highlights and photos of the Queen's Baton Relay in Namibia

Nigeria
Population 113,829,000
Capital Abuja
Language English, Creole, Hausa, Yoruba, Ibo, Fulani
Religion Sunni Muslim, Protestant, Roman Catholic, traditional beliefs
Flag of Nigeria Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, and borders the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, Niger in the north and the Gulf of Guinea in the south.

The climate is tropical with heavy summer rainfall in the south but low rainfall in the north. About half the workforce is involved in agriculture, mainly growing subsistence crops. The economy is heavily dependent on vast oil resources.

Nigeria came under the rule of the British Government in 1900 when it took control of territory belonging to the Royal Niger Company. Nigeria became independent on 1 October 1960 and joined the Commonwealth. It was  has enjoyed a rich tradition of success at the Games since its debut in 1950, winning a total of 126 medals including 35 gold.

Victory for Segun Moses Toriola in Men’s Singles Table Tennis was one of Nigeria’s five gold medals in Manchester in 2002.

View the final list of medallists from Nigeria at Melbourne 2006
See highlights and photos of the Queen's Baton Relay in Nigeria

Seychelles
Population 79,672
Capital Victoria
Language Seychellois (Seselwa, French Creole), English
Religion Roman Catholic, Protestant
Flag of Seychelles The Seychelles comprises an archipelago of 115 granite and coral islands in the western Indian Ocean, 1593km east of Mombassa in Kenya. The main island, Mahe, contains about 90 per cent of the population.

The climate is hot and humid with heavy rainfall. The economy is based mainly on tourism, transit trade, and light manufacturing; fishing and agriculture.

First occupied by the French, the islands of the Seychelles were administered by Britain from neighbouring Mauritius from 1814 until 1888. The Seychelles became a crown colony in 1903. The Seychelles People’s United Party led the country to independence on the 28 June 1976. Competing in their first Commonwealth Games in Auckland 1990, the Seychelles have attended all games since, and have won a total of three medals in competition.

Their first medal arrived via a bronze in boxing at Victoria in 1994, and at the 1998 games in Kuala Lumpur, the Seychelles won two silver medals in the heavyweight and light welterweight divisions.

View the final list of medallists from Seychelles at Melbourne 2006
See highlights and photos of the Queen's Baton Relay in Seychelles

Sierra Leone
Population 5,509,263
Capital Freetown
Language English, Creole, Mende, Temne, local languages
Religion Traditional beliefs, Sunni Muslim, Protestant and Roman Catholic
Flag of Sierra Leone Sierra Leone lies on the Atlantic coast of West Africa between the African states of Guinea and Liberia.

The climate is tropical and rainfall is heavy. Most of workforce is involved in subsistence farming. Cocoa and coffee are the main cash crops, but rutile (titanium ore), bauxite and diamonds are the main exports.

The British took over the settlement of Freetown in the early 19th century, and transformed the whole area into a protectorate. Sierra Leone joined the Commonwealth in 1961 and became a republic in April 1971, and has made eight Games appearances since 1958, but has yet to win a medal.

Sierra Leone is expected to make its presence felt on the Athletics track, in the Boxing ring and at the Weightlifting.

View the final list of medallists from Sierra Leone at Melbourne 2006
See highlights and photos of the Queen's Baton Relay in Sierra Leone

South Africa
Population 42,579,000
Capital Pretoria (administrative)Cape Town (legislative)
Language Afrikaans, English, nine local languages (all official)
Religion Protestant, Roman Catholic, Sunni Muslim, Hindu
Flag of South Africa South Africa is located at the southern tip of the African continent. It borders the countries of Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Swaziland. Lesotho is an enclave entirely surrounded by South African territory.

South Africa is the largest and most developed economy in Africa, with agriculture providing one-third of exports, including fruit, wine, wool and maize. South Africa is the world's leading producer of gold, which accounts for one-third of exports earnings. Coal, diamonds, platinum, uranium and other minerals are also mined. Financial services are also important. 

It joined the Commonwealth in 1931 under the Statute of Westminster. Having left in 1961 it rejoined in 1994. With a total of nine Games appearances under its belt, South Africa has been the most successful African nation at the Commonwealth Games. Throughout this history South Africa have amassed 243 medals in competition including 80 gold.

The Manchester Games spelt a total of nine gold medals for team South Africa. Okert Brits, a pole vaulter came away with gold in his discipline with a jump of 5.75 metres.

View the final list of medallists from South Africa at Melbourne 2006
See highlights and photos of the Queen's Baton Relay in South Africa

Swaziland
Population 985,000
Capital Mbabane
Language Swazi (Siswati), English
Religion Protestant, Roman Catholic, traditional beliefs
Flag of Swaziland Swaziland is a small, landlocked country in southern Africa (one of the smallest on the continent), situated on the eastern slope of the Drakensberg mountains, embedded between South Africa in the west and Mozambique in the east. Savannah plateaux descend from mountains in the west towards hill country in the east.

The climate is subtropical, with cooler temperatures in the mountains. Subsistence farming predominates. Coal and diamonds are mined and exports include sugar, fruit and wood pulp.

Britain assumed sovereignty of Swaziland in 1894. In 1906, powers of administration were transferred to a high commissioner for Basutoland, Bechuanaland and Swaziland. Full independence was achieved on 6 September 1968, when it joined the Commonwealth and made its debut in the 1970 Commonwealth Games. Boasting the record of attending each edition of the Games since, Swaziland has won a total of three medals in competition.

Their best performance comes from a silver medal in Men’s Flyweight Division Boxing at the 1986 games to Leonard Makhaya

View the final list of medallists from Swaziland at Melbourne 2006
See highlights and photos of the Queen's Baton Relay in Swaziland

Tanzania
Population 31,271,000
Capital Dar es Salaam
Language Swahili, English, Nyamwez and many local languages
Religion Roman Catholic, Sunni Muslim, traditional beliefs, Protestant
Flag of Tanzania Tanzania lies on the coast of east Africa and includes Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean. Most of the mainland is a savannah plateau lying east of the Great Rift Valley. In the north are Mount Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti National Park.

The climate is tropical and the majority of people live on the narrow coastal plain or in the north. The economy is mainly agricultural. Coffee, cotton and sisal are the main exports, with cloves from Zanzibar. Agricultural processing and diamond mining are the main industries, though tourism is growing.

A German colony from the 1880s until 1919, the area subsequently became a British trust territory from 1919 to 1961. Tanganyika became independent in 1961 and joined with neighbouring Zanzibar — which had become independent in 1963 — to form the nation of Tanzania on 26 April 1964.  Joining the Commonwealth in 1961, Tanzania has won a total of 19 medals since their first appearance in 1962, including medal success at every Commonwealth Games since 1970.

Their first ever gold medal came in the 1974 Games in Christchurch when the great Filbert Bayi took the blue ribbon 1500 metres title on the Athletics track, beating New Zealander John Walker, while success for Francis Naali in the Men’s Marathon in Manchester was Tanzania’s lone gold medal for the 2002 Games.

View the final list of medallists from Tanzania at Melbourne 2006
See highlights and photos of the Queen's Baton Relay in Tanzania

The Gambia
Population 1,381,496
Capital Banjul
Language English (official), Mandinka, Fulani, Wolof
Religion Sunni Muslim, Protestant
Flag of The Gambia

The Gambia is a country in West Africa. It is the smallest country on the African continent and is entirely surrounded on land by Senegal, with the Gambia River emptying into the Atlantic Ocean in its centre. Sandy beaches are backed by mangrove swamps, beyond which is savannah.

The climate is tropical, with rainfall in the summer. Over 70 per cent of Gambians are farmers, growing chiefly groundnuts (the main export) but also seed cotton, oil palms and food crops. Livestock rearing and fishing are important, while manufacturing is limited.

Gambia became independent of Britain on 18 February 1965, having already enjoyed a considerable degree of self-government since 1960, and has won one bronze medal in its eight Games appearances since 1970.

The medal went to Sheikh Tidiane Faye in the Men’s High Jump competition.

View the final list of medallists from The Gambia at Melbourne 2006
See highlights and photos of the Queen's Baton Relay in The Gambia


Uganda
Population 23,451,687
Capital Kampala
Language English, Swahili (official), Luganda and many local languages
Religion Roman Catholic, Protestant, Sunni Muslim, traditional beliefs
Flag of Uganda A landlocked East African country lying astride the equator, Uganda is bordered by Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda consists of a savannah plateau with mountains and lakes. It includes part of Lake Victoria from which the Nile flows north to Sudan.

The climate is warm and wet. Most people live in the southern half of the country. Agriculture dominates the economy. Coffee is the main export, with some cotton and tea.

Uganda joined the Commonwealth in 1962 but first took part in the Games in 1954. It has taken part in all Commonwealth Games since, except Edmonton in 1978 and won a total of 39 medals including eight gold.

With a rich tradition of successful boxers, Uganda took home two gold medals in the Light Flyweight Divisions at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland. The 1974 Games in Christchurch yielded their biggest haul of medals to date with two gold, four silver and three bronze thanks largely to Athletics and Boxing.

View the final list of medallists from Uganda at Melbourne 2006
See highlights and photos of the Queen's Baton Relay in Uganda

Zambia
Population 9,872,007
Capital Lusaka
Language English, Bemba, Nyanja, Tonga and many local languages
Religion Protestant, Roman Catholic, traditional beliefs, Sunni Muslim
Flag of Zambia

The Republic of Zambia is a landlocked country in southern Africa. It borders the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania on the north-east, Malawi on the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia to the south, and Angola on the west. It is dominated by high savannah plateaux and flanked by the Zambezi River in the south.

Most people live in the central Copperbelt. The climate is tropical with rainfall from November to May. Agriculture, which involves 70 per cent of the workforce, is mainly at subsistence level. Copper is still the mainstay of the economy. Lead, zinc, cobalt and tobacco are also exported. Manufacturing and tourism are important.

Zambia became a British protectorate in 1924, before being amalgamated into the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland in 1953. It gained independence as the Republic of Zambia in 1964 and joined the Commonwealth. Making its debut in 1954, Zambia has competed at nine Commonwealth Games, with a total of 29 medals to their name, including three golds.

The 2002 games in Manchester saw Kennedy Kanyata win gold for Zambia in the Men’s Flyweight Division Boxing.

View the final list of medallists from Zambia at Melbourne 2006
See highlights and photos of the Queen's Baton Relay in Zambia

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