Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most-populous continent. At about 30.2 million km² (11.7 million sq mi) including adjacent islands, it covers six percent of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4 percent of the total land area. With 1.0 billion people (as of 2009, see table), it accounts for about 15% of the world's human population. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, both the Suez Canal and the Red Sea along the Sinai Peninsula to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The continent includes Madagascar and various archipelagoes. It has 54 fully recognized sovereign states ("countries"), 9 territories and three de facto states with limited recognition.
Africa, particularly central Eastern Africa, is the 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 seven million years ago – including Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Australopithecus africanus, A. afarensis, Homo erectus, H. habilis and H. ergaster – with the earliest Homo sapiens (modern human) found in Ethiopia being dated 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. The African expected economic growth rate is at about 5.0% for 2010 and 5.5% in 2011.
Famous quotes containing the word africa:
“I have a fair amount of faith that women wont sit back and allow South Africa to become a totally male-dominated new society. The women in South Africa have shown that they are strong, and I think they will make their voices heard.”
—Paula Hathorn (b. c. 1962)
“In Africa, there is much confusion.... Before, there was no radio, or other forms of communication.... Now, in Africa ... the government talks, people talk, the police talk, the people dont know anymore. They arent free.”
—Youssou NDour (b. 1959)
“For Africa to me ... is more than a glamorous fact. It is a historical truth. No man can know where he is going unless he knows exactly where he has been and exactly how he arrived at his present place.”
—Maya Angelou (b. 1928)