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

Location of Africa on the world map
Satellite map of Africa

Africa is the world's second largest and second most-populous continent (behind Asia in both categories). 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 1.2 billion people as of 2016, it accounts for about 16% of the world's human population. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The continent includes Madagascar and various archipelagos. It contains 54 fully recognised sovereign states (countries), nine territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition. 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.

Africa's average population is the youngest amongst all the continents; the median age in 2012 was 19.7, when the worldwide median age was 30.4. Algeria is Africa's largest country by area, and Nigeria is its largest by population. Africa, particularly central Eastern Africa, is widely accepted as the place of origin of humans and the Hominidae clade (great apes), as evidenced by the discovery of the earliest hominids and their ancestors as well as later ones that 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), found in Ethiopia, date to circa 200,000 years ago. Africa straddles the equator and encompasses numerous climate areas; it is the only continent to stretch from the northern temperate to southern temperate zones.

Africa hosts a large diversity of ethnicities, cultures and languages. In the late 19th century, European countries colonised almost all of Africa; most present states in Africa originated from a process of decolonisation in the 20th century. African nations cooperate through the establishment of the African Union, which is headquartered in Addis Ababa.

Featured article

A fragment of Delafosse's (1904) linguistic map highlighting Nafaanra ('Nafana') in the borderland of Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana.

Nafaanra (sometimes written Nafaara, pronounced [nafaãra]) is a Senufo language spoken in northwest Ghana, along the border with Côte d'Ivoire, east of Bondouko. It is spoken by approximately 61,000 people. Its speakers call themselves Nafana; others call them Banda or Mfantera. Like other Senufo languages, Nafaanra is a tonal language. It is somewhat of an outlier in the Senufo language group, with the geographically closest relatives, the Southern Senufo Tagwana-Djimini languages, approximately 200 kilometres to the west, on the other side of Comoé National Park. (Read more...)

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Mikumi National Park
Credit: Muhammad Mahdi Karim

Moshi is a Tanzanian town with a population of 144,739 (2002 census) in Kilimanjaro Region. The town is situated on the lower slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro, a volcanic mountain that is the highest mountain in Africa. Moshi is home to the Chagga and Maasai tribes and lies on the A 23 Arusha-Himo east-west road connecting Arusha and Mombasa, Kenya. Just to the east of Moshi is the intersection with the B 1 north-south road eventually connecting with Tanga and Dar es Salaam.

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Akan drum

Featured biography

Yoweri Kaguta Museveni

Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (born c. 1944) has been the President of Uganda since January 29, 1986.

Museveni was involved in the war that toppled Idi Amin's (1971–79) rule and the rebellion that subsequently led to the demise of Milton Obote's (1980–85) regime. With the notable exception of northern areas, Museveni has brought relative stability and economic growth to a country that has endured decades of government mismanagement, rebel activity and civil war. His tenure has also witnessed one of the most effective national responses to HIV/AIDS in Africa.

In the mid to late 1990s, Museveni was lauded by the West as part of a new generation of African leaders. His presidency has been marred, however, by involvement in civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other Great Lakes region conflicts. Rebellion in the north of Uganda by the Lord's Resistance Army continues to perpetuate one of the world's worst humanitarian emergencies. Recent developments, including the abolition of Presidential term limits before the 2006 elections and the harassment of democratic opposition, have attracted concern from domestic commentators and the international community. (Read more...)

In the news

12 August 2018 – Foreign relations of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Foreign relations of South Africa
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa meets with President Joseph Kabila of DR Congo in Kinshasa, praising him for his "respect for the constitution" by agreeing to step down and not take part in the upcoming December 2018 Congolese general election. (The South African)
27 July 2018 – July 2018 lunar eclipse
The longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century colours the moon reddish orange in parts of Africa, Asia and Europe for about one hour and 42 minutes. (ABC News)
26 July 2018 – European migrant crisis
Hundreds of Sub-Saharan African migrants storm a border fence in Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta, using home-made flamethrowers and other improvised weapons. The Spanish Civil Guard reports that 602 people succeeded in reaching Ceuta, of whom 586 were taken to a temporary reception centre, while 16 others are being treated in a hospital. Fifteen border guards were also hurt. (The Guardian)
21 July 2018 – Crime in South Africa
Gunmen attack a minibus of people returning from a funeral between Colenso and Weenen in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Eleven people are shot dead and four others are critically injured. (The Evening Standard)


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