What would a United States of Africa be like if all its 54 independent countries decided to form one big country in the future? Would it be a superpower?

Africa, for starters, is massive, covering over 20 percent of the total land on the planet.

One point two billion people currently live on the continent. That’s about 16% of the world’s population. While that’s still smaller than the populations of India and China, the growth rate in Africa will give it a population of 4.4 billion by the end of the century.

While this shift may help establish a dominant position in the world, many challenges are expected to crop up. Take factors like the average age of the population (the median age is just 19.7 years now), varying literacy rates in different regions, and the prevalence of HIV (11% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa is currently infected with the disease).

A single country will also have to deal with an extremely diverse population. Somewhere between 1250 and 3000 languages are currently spoken in Africa.

Because of its incredible ethnic diversity, it is assumed that no one group will account for more than eight percent of the total population.

As for the capital, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia is the most likely contender, with Cairo and Johannesburg being the economic hubs. Despite challenges such as poverty and rampant corruption, a united Africa will one day compete with the rest of the world and become a real superpower.