- For a topic outline on this subject, see List of basic Africa topics.
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.
The Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (French: Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC)) is the state military organisation responsible for defending the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The FARDC is dominated by its land forces but also includes a small air force and a smaller navy, which together number around 130,000 personnel. There is also the National Congolese Police, which are not part of the Armed Forces, and a presidential force called the Republican Guard.
The FARDC is being rebuilt as part of the peace process which followed the end of the Second Congo War in July 2003. The government, the United Nations, the European Union, and various bilateral partners are attempting to create a viable force with the ability to provide the DRC with stability and security. However, this process is hampered by corruption, the near-impotence of the government, and inadequate donor coordination. (Read more...)
Photo credit: User:Alvesgaspar
Plagues of the desert locust ( the scientific name being Schistocerca gregaria) have threatened agricultural production in Africa, the Middle East and Asia for centuries. The livelihood of at least one-tenth of the world’s human population can be affected by this hungry insect. The desert locust is potentially the most dangerous of the locust pests because of the ability of swarms to fly rapidly across great distances. The 2004 desert locust outbreak has caused significant crop losses in West Africa and had a negative impact on food security in the region.
Barthélemy Boganda (4 April 1910 – 29 March 1959) was the leading nationalist politician of what is now the Central African Republic. Boganda was active prior to his country's independence, during the period when the area, part of French Equatorial Africa, was administered by France under the name of Oubangui-Chari. He served as the first Prime Minister of the Central African Republic autonomous territory.
Boganda was born into a family of subsistence farmers, and was adopted and educated by Roman Catholic missionaries. In 1938, he was ordained as the first Roman Catholic priest from Oubangui-Chari. During World War II Boganda served in a number of missions and after was persuaded by the Bishop of Bangui to enter politics. In 1946, he became the first Oubanguian elected to the French National Assembly, where he maintained a political platform against racism and the colonial regime. He then returned to Oubangui-Chari to form a grassroots movement in opposition of French colonialism. The movement led to the foundation of the Movement for the Social Evolution of Black Africa (MESAN), and became popular among villagers and the working class. Boganda's reputation was slightly damaged when he was laicized from priesthood after marrying Michelle Jourdain, a parliamentary secretary. Nonetheless, he continued to advocate for equal treatment and civil rights for blacks in the territory well into the 1950s. (Read more...)
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