Portal:Africa

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Satellite map of Africa
Location of Africa on the world map

Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of its land area. With 1.3 billion people as of 2018, it accounts for about 16% of the world's human population. Africa's population is the youngest amongst all the continents; the median age in 2012 was 19.7, when the worldwide median age was 30.4. Despite a wide range of natural resources, Africa is the least wealthy continent per capita, in part due to geographic impediments, legacies of European colonization in Africa and the Cold War, undemocratic rule and deleterious policies. Despite this low concentration of wealth, recent economic expansion and the large and young population make Africa an important economic market in the broader global context.

Africa straddles the Equator and encompasses numerous climate areas; it is the only continent to stretch from the northern temperate to southern temperate zones. The majority of the continent and its countries are in the Northern Hemisphere, with a substantial portion and number of countries in the Southern Hemisphere. Most of the continent lies in the tropics, except by for a large part of Western Sahara, Algeria, Libya and Egypt, the northern tip of Mauritania, the entire territories of Morocco, Ceuta, Melilla and Tunisia which in turn are located above the tropic of Cancer, in the northern temperate zone and in the other extreme of the continent southern Namibia, southern Botsuana, great part of South Africa, the entire territories of Lesoto and eSwatini and the southern tips of Mozambique and Madagascar are located below the tropic of Capricorn, in the southern temperate zone.

Africa is home to much biodiversity; it is the continent with the largest number of megafauna species, as it was least affected by the extinction of the Pleistocene megafauna. However, Africa also is heavily affected by a wide range of environmental issues, including desertification, deforestation, water scarcity, and other issues. These entrenched environmental concerns are expected to worsen as climate change impacts Africa. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has identified Africa as the continent most vulnerable to climate change.

Africa, particularly Eastern Africa, is widely accepted as the place of origin of humans and the Hominidae clade (great apes), meaning that Africa has a long and complex history. The earliest hominids and their ancestors have been dated to around 7 million years ago, including Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Australopithecus africanus, A. afarensis, Homo erectus, H. habilis and H. ergaster— the earliest Homo sapiens (modern human) remains, found in Ethiopia, South Africa, and Morocco, date to circa 200,000, 259,000, and 300,000 years ago respectively, and Homo sapiens is believed to have originated in Africa around 350,000–260,000 years ago. (Full article...)


For a topic outline on this subject, see List of basic Africa topics.

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GhanaSat-1 was the first Ghanaian nanosatellite to be launched into space. It was designed and built in two years in conjunction with the Kyushu Institute of Technology Birds-1 program, which has the goal of helping countries build their first satellite.

The satellite took images, collected atmospheric data, measured space radiation, and transmitted uploaded audio. GhanaSat-1 was launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on a Falcon 9 rocket. It was released into space from the Nanoracks CubeSat Deployer on the ISS on 7 July 2017 and was used to monitor environmental activities along Ghana's coastline. The satellite deorbited on 22 May 2019. (Full article...)
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Makeba during a performance

Zenzile Miriam Makeba (4 March 1932 – 9 November 2008), nicknamed Mama Africa, was a South African singer, songwriter, actress, United Nations goodwill ambassador, and civil rights activist. Associated with musical genres including Afropop, jazz, and world music, she was an advocate against apartheid and white-minority government in South Africa.

Born in Johannesburg to Swazi and Xhosa parents, Makeba was forced to find employment as a child after the death of her father. She had a brief and allegedly abusive first marriage at the age of 17, gave birth to her only child in 1950, and survived breast cancer. Her vocal talent had been recognized when she was a child, and she began singing professionally in the 1950s, with the Cuban Brothers, the Manhattan Brothers, and an all-woman group, the Skylarks, performing a mixture of jazz, traditional African melodies, and Western popular music. In 1959, Makeba had a brief role in the anti-apartheid film Come Back, Africa, which brought her international attention, and led to her performing in Venice, London, and New York City. In London, she met the American singer Harry Belafonte, who became a mentor and colleague. She moved to New York City, where she became immediately popular, and recorded her first solo album in 1960. Her attempt to return to South Africa that year for her mother's funeral was prevented by the country's government. (Full article...)
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Flag of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania
Location of Mauritania

Mauritania (Arabic: موريتانيا‎ Mūrītāniyā), officially the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, is a country in northwest Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west, by Senegal on the southwest, by Mali on the east and southeast, by Algeria on the northeast, and by the Moroccan-annexed territory of Western Sahara on the northwest. It is named after the ancient Berber kingdom of Mauretania. The capital and largest city is Nouakchott, located on the Atlantic coast.

Approximately three-fourths of Mauritania is desert or semidesert. As a result of extended, severe drought, the desert has been expanding since the mid-1960s. A majority of the population still depends on agriculture and livestock for a livelihood, even though most of the nomads and many subsistence farmers were forced into the cities by recurrent droughts in the 1970s and 1980s. Mauritania has extensive deposits of iron ore, which account for almost 50% of total exports. The nation's coastal waters are among the richest fishing areas in the world, but overexploitation by foreigners threatens this key source of revenue. (Read more...)

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Collage of Djibouti

Djibouti (also called Djibouti City and in many early English texts and on many early maps, Jibuti; Arabic: مدينة جيبوتي‎, French: Ville de Djibouti, Somali: Magaalada Jabuuti, Afar: Magaala Gabuuti) is the eponymous capital and largest city of Djibouti. It is located in the coastal Djibouti Region on the Gulf of Tadjoura.

Djibouti has a population of around 600,000 inhabitants, which counts for 54% of the country's population. The settlement was founded in 1888 by the French, on land leased from the ruling Somali and Afar Sultans. During the ensuing period, it served as the capital of French Somaliland and its successor the French Territory of the Afars and Issas. (Full article...)

In the news

14 June 2021 –
Egypt's highest civilian court upholds the death sentence of 12 members of the Muslim Brotherhood over a 2013 sit-in which ended with security forces opening fire and killing several protesters. The ruling, which cannot be appealed, leaves the men closer to execution with a pending approval by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. (Reuters)
12 June 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
12 June 2021 –
Dozens of protesters in the Nigerian cities of Lagos and Abuja are arrested or injured after police fired tear gas at the crowds. The protests, coinciding with a public holiday marking Nigeria's transition to democracy, were organized to protest President Muhammadu Buhari's Twitter ban and numerous other issues plaguing his administration, with protestors calling for his resignation. (Al Jazeera English)
Violent clashes between the youth and the police break out in the Tunisian capital of Tunis during the evening, following protests over the Tuesday killing of a police detainee. (France 24)
12 June 2021 – 2021 Algerian legislative election
Algerian citizens head to the polls to vote for a new session to the People's National Assembly for the first time since former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was deposed in 2019. Turnout is the lowest in 20 years due to boycotts over the arrest of seven Hirak movement leaders. (Al Jazeera English)
11 June 2021 – 2021 United Nations Security Council election
Gabon, the United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Ghana and Albania are elected non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council for the 2022–2023 term. (Reuters)

Updated: 3:33, 15 June 2021

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