The prevailing religions in Africa are Christianity and Islam. Around 47.3% of the population are Christians, around 40.8% Muslims and around 10.6% followers of indigenous African religions. Other religious communities are the Hindus (around 2.9 million; over 600,000 of them in the Republic of South Africa), Bahais (around 2.2 million), Buddhists (around 258,000), Jews (around 134,000; of which over 100,000 in the Republic of South Africa), Jainas (around 95,000) and Sikhs (around 74,000).
Around 1900 Christianity made up around 9% of the total African population; Since the second half of the 20th century it has been growing steadily. a. in the area of the Pentecostal churches ( Pentecostal movement). Christianity is the religion of the majority of the population in most of the countries of Central and South Africa. a. in Gabon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, Angola, Namibia and the Republic of South Africa (70–95% each); in East Africa are Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda, in West Africa Ghana has a majority Christian population (each over 60%). The denominational distribution of African Christians is as follows: around 16.5% belong to the Catholic Church, around 13.2% Protestant, around 4.9% Anglican and around 4.3% Orthodox churches. About 9.5% of Africans join the more than 12,500 independent churches, most of which are charismatic and Pentecostaladded. Emerging from the European and American missionary churches since the 19th century, these churches represent in their self-image an authentic African Christianity, which consciously takes up traditions of the African tribal cultures in the way of life and liturgy (known beyond Africa e.g. those of the evangelist Kimbangu declining church).
With the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church initiated a process that promotes the identity of the African Church through the targeted training of local clergy. The weight of the African Church within the Catholic world church finds its expression v. a. in the during the pontificate of John Paul II. increased number of African cardinals (cardinal, overview) and the increase in their influence throughout the Church. This is also evident in the appointment of African cardinals to central offices of the universal Church, such as Cardinal B. Gantin, with whom an African was the first cardinal dean at the head of the college of cardinals (1993-2002), and cardinal F. Arinze, who was Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Service and the Sacraments (2002-08). The special synod of bishops on Africa (1994 in Rome; »Synod of Africa«) and the apostolic letter of Pope John Paul II, published in 1995, stand for the great importance that the world church has attached to the African Church since the mid-1990s. on the “Church in Africa” (“Ecclesia in Africa”). Convened by the latter, took place 15 years later under his successor Benedict XVI.the second »Africa Synod« (2009, also in Rome) takes place; the post-synodal letter “on the Church in Africa in the service of reconciliation, justice and peace” (“Africae munus”) was given to the African bishops in 2011 as part of a papal trip to Benin.
In the area of the Protestant churches, in 2003 the Methodist S. Kobia was elected for the first time an African general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC).
The overwhelming majority of the Orthodox Christians belong to the Coptic Church and the Ethiopian Church ; a minority of Orthodox Christians of the Byzantine Rite belong to the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria (title of head: Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa).
The All-African Church Conference (based in Nairobi), founded in 1963 as an African ecumenical forum, includes the Anglican, the Orthodox and numerous Protestant churches.
Distribution areas of Islam are primarily the countries of North Africa from Mauritania in the west (Maghreb ; 97–99% Muslims each) to Egypt (90%) in the east, the north-western coastal strip (especially Gambia, Guinea, Senegal; 85–94% each) and the countries of the Sahel zone (especially Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Djibouti; 85–96% each) up to Somalia (over 99%) in Northeast Africa; Exceptions in this region are Chad and Eritrea (each around 50% Muslims and Christians) and Ethiopia (30–50% Muslims, 50–60% Christians). In various countries south of the Sahara, Islam has expanded rapidly since the early 1970s (Nigeria [45%], Tanzania [35%]). There are currently around 234 million Muslims south of the Sahara. Historically, the spread of Islam in sub-Saharan Africa goes back to Muslim traders. One can only speak of an Islamic mission in the narrower sense since the beginning of the 20th century (Islam), today supported by various Islamic organizations, e.g. B. the League of the Islamic World (“World Muslim League “).
The indigenous African religions are v. a. widespread in Southeast and West Africa, where in some countries 20-25% of the population (Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe) and 40-60% (Benin, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Liberia, Madagascar, Botswana) are assigned to them.
In addition, as a result of the Christian and Islamic missions, numerous independent forms of an African “Christian” or “Islamic” religious practice have emerged that combine traditional African beliefs and forms with the (individually often selectively adopted) new religion. These are predominantly restricted to certain regions or ethnic groups (tribal societies).
Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism came to Africa with the Asian immigrants (mainly Indians and Chinese).
Central | Africa, Equatorial | Africa, the area between the Sahara in the north, the Cameroon highlands and the Atlantic Ocean in the west, the Central African Rift and the watershed to the Nile in the east and the Lunda wave in the south. According to countryaah, Central Africa includes states of Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, D.R. Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, and Sao Tome and Principe.