Africa

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.

Read more about Africa:  Etymology, Geography, Biodiversity, Politics, Economy, Demographics, Languages, Culture, Religion, Territories and Regions

Famous quotes containing the word africa:

    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 don’t know anymore. They aren’t free.
    Youssou N’Dour (b. 1959)

    Are you there, Africa with the bulging chest and oblong thigh? Sulking Africa, wrought of iron, in the fire, Africa of the millions of royal slaves, deported Africa, drifting continent, are you there? Slowly you vanish, you withdraw into the past, into the tales of castaways, colonial museums, the works of scholars.
    Jean Genet (1910–1986)

    Everywhere—all over Africa and South America ... you see these suburbs springing up. They represent the optimum of what people want. There’s a certain sort of logic leading towards these immaculate suburbs. And they’re terrifying, because they are the death of the soul.... This is the prison this planet is being turned into.
    —J.G. (James Graham)