If each country in Africa has its own national health policy, and many of these national policies from country to country share a common specification or stipulation, which of the following is correct:

  1. "Health policies in many African countries stipulate..."


  1. "The health policies of many African countries stipulate..."

Based on my reading of various references, I presume number 2 is an example of distributive plural - but does this also apply to 1 if the preposition 'in' used rather than 'of'?

Any advice would be much appreciated!

2 Answers 2


Both are grammatically correct, because a country counts as a place and an "entity".

For 1., since a country is a place, actions and rules apply in the country - therefore, the health policies in many African countries is correct. Consider "I am in Africa right now"

For 2., since a country is also a noun, it can be possessive of things. That's why a country can "own" a policy. "The health policies of many African countries..", where "of" implies possessiveness.


1 is more generic. It could refer to any health policies that are active in African countries.

2 is more specific and gives a sense of certain health policies, likely ones enforced by the government.

2 also sounds a little more academic, so is preferable in writing.

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