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For a topic outline on this subject, see List of basic Africa topics.
Main page   African countries   Tasks, WikiProjects & related portals  
Location of Africa on the world map
Satellite map of 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 1.1 billion people as of 2013, 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 archipelagos. It has 54 fully recognized sovereign states ("countries"), nine territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition.

Africa's population is the youngest among all the continents; 50% of Africans are 19 years old or younger.

Algeria is Africa's largest country by area, and Nigeria is the 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 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.

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Médecins Sans Frontières (About this sound pronunciation ) (English: Doctors Without Borders) is a secular humanitarian-aid non-governmental organisation known for its projects in war-torn regions and developing countries facing endemic disease. It was created in 1971 by a small group of French doctors, as an aftermath of the Biafra secession. The organisation is known in most of the world by its French name or simply as MSF, but in the United States the name Doctors Without Borders is often used instead.

The organisation actively provides health care and medical training to populations in more than 70 countries, and frequently insists on political responsibility in conflict zones such as Chechnya and Kosovo. Only once in its history, during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, has it called for a military intervention.

MSF received the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of its members' continuous effort to provide medical care in acute crises, as well as raising international awareness of potential humanitarian disasters. Dr. James Orbinski, who was the president of the organisation at the time, accepted the prize on behalf of MSF. Prior to this, MSF also received the 1996 Seoul Peace Prize. (Read more...)

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Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia
Photo credit: American Colony (Jerusalem). Photo Dept., photographer

Haile Selassie I (July 23, 1892 – August 27, 1975), born Tafari Makonnen, was Ethiopia's regent from 1916 to 1930 and Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. The heir to a dynasty that traced its origins to the 13th century, and from there by tradition back to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, Haile Selassie is a defining figure in Ethiopian and African history.

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Akan drum

Featured biography

The mummified head of Ahmose I

Ahmose I (sometimes written Amosis I and meaning The Moon is Born) was a pharaoh of ancient Egypt and the founder of the Eighteenth dynasty. He was a member of the Theban royal house, the son of pharaoh Tao II Seqenenre and brother of the last pharaoh of the Seventeenth dynasty, King Kamose. When he was seven his father was killed, and when he was about ten his brother died of unknown causes, after reigning only three years. Ahmose I assumed the throne after the death of his brother, and upon coronation became known as Neb-pehty-re (The Lord of Strength is Re).

During his reign he completed the conquest and expulsion of the Hyksos from the delta region, restored Theban rule over the whole of Egypt and successfully reasserted Egyptian power in its formerly subject territories of Nubia and Canaan. Ahmose's reign, usually dated to about 1550–1525 BC, laid the foundations for the New Kingdom, under which Egyptian power reached its peak. (Read more...)


Topics in Africa

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26718731 news items

New York Times (blog)

New York Times (blog)
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 10:03:45 -0700

A: No one knows exactly what is going on in West Africa. Several medical groups, like Doctors Without Borders, are reporting that they suddenly have far more beds than patients. In some cases, there are empty beds at centers where, just a few weeks ago ...
New York Times
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 05:22:30 -0700

A few days ago, I posted a note on Facebook about my scheduled concert next week at Carnegie Hall honoring the late South African singer Miriam Makeba, who was known widely as Mama Africa. I was saddened to see the following comments appear: ...


Thu, 30 Oct 2014 17:44:07 -0700

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Mandatory quarantines ordered by some U.S. states for doctors and nurses returning from West Africa's Ebola outbreak are creating a "chilling effect" on aid work there, the humanitarian aid group Doctors Without Borders said on ...

BBC News

BBC News
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 11:46:31 -0700

It might seem like a rather trivial scandal - something easily overlooked at a time when South Africa is mourning the violent death of its national football team captain and the credit rating agencies are circling overhead, poised to issue more ...

New York Daily News

New York Daily News
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 09:29:13 -0700

President Obama lauded the U.S. doctors and nurses who fought Ebola in West Africa for their “incredible heroism” Wednesday and said “they deserve to be treated like the heroes they are” when they come home. And while Obama heaped praise on the ...

Business Insider Australia

New York Times
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 06:46:30 -0700

If the protests do unseat Mr. Compaoré, it will be the first time since the Arab Spring that a popular movement has succeeded in removing an autocrat in sub-Saharan Africa. When the wave of Arab Spring protests first swept northern Africa, analysts ...


Scientific American
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 22:09:45 -0700

In turn, Bah shared Dorcas's story via Skype while he was under his own quarantine with a conference on the Ebola crisis in west Africa at Columbia University. Of the survivors Bah talked to while he was in Sierra Leone, most were young girls like ...

The Guardian

The Guardian
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 09:56:27 -0700

Homeopaths have offered their services to prevent and treat Ebola in west Africa, claiming their “remedies” can work in serious epidemics of infectious disease. “Homeopaths worldwide have been mobilising their efforts toward gaining entrance in those ...

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