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Portal:Africa

Wikipedia portal Africa logo.png
Location of Africa on the world map
Satellite map of Africa

Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia. 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 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. Despite a wide range of natural resources, the continent is the least wealthy per capita in large part due to the legacies of European colonization in Africa. 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.

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), eight territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition. Algeria is Africa's largest country by area, and Nigeria is its largest by population. African nations cooperate through the establishment of the African Union, which is headquartered in Addis Ababa.

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. 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 most vulnerable continent 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 orignated in Africa around 350,000-260,000 years ago. Early human civilizations, such as Ancient Egypt and Phoenicia emerged in North Africa. Following a subsequent long and complex history of civilizations, migration and trade, Africa hosts a large diversity of ethnicities, cultures and languages. The last 400 years have witnessed an increasing European influence on the continent. Starting in the 16th century, this was driven by trade, including the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, which created large African diaspora populations in the Americas. In the late 19th century, European countries colonized almost all of Africa, extracting resources from the continent and exploiting local communities; most present states in Africa emerged from a process of decolonisation in the 20th century.

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

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...)

Featured picture

Eritrean Railway
Credit: User:Tivedshambo

The Eritrean Railway, the only railway system in Eritrea, was constructed between 1887 and 1932 by the Kingdom of Italy for the Italian colony of Eritrea, and connected the port of Massawa with Bishia near the Sudan border. The railway is narrow gauge and is slowly being rebuilt after the devastation wreaked upon it during the war of independence. It still manages to operate, however, despite its newest equipment being nearly fifty years old, with most of it predating World War II. It is one of the few railway systems still in existence (excluding tourist railways) using equipment like the 1930s Italian-built 'Littorina' railcars behind 1930s-vintage Mallet steam locomotives.

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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...)

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