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Cheetah.png
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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Pygmy hyppopotamuses

The Pygmy Hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis or Hexaprotodon liberiensis) is a large mammal native to the forests and swamps of western Africa (the scientific species classification means "of Liberia", as this is where the vast majority lives). The pygmy hippo is reclusive and nocturnal. It is one of only two extant species in the hippopotamidae family, the other being its much larger cousin the common hippopotamus.

Pygmy hippos were unknown outside of West Africa until the 19th century. Introduced to zoos in the early 20th century, they breed well in captivity and the vast majority of research is derived from zoo specimens. The survival of the species in captivity is more assured than in the wild; the World Conservation Union estimates that there are less than 3,000 pygmy hippos remaining in the wild. Pygmy hippos are primarily threatened by loss of habitat, as forests are logged and converted to farm land, and are also vulnerable to poaching, hunting, natural predators and war. (Read more...)

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Cheetah
Photo credit: schani

The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is an endangered member of the cat family (Felidae), a poor climber that hunts by speed and stealth. It is the fastest of all land animals and can reach speeds of more than 105 kilometres per hour (65 mph) in short bursts up to 460 metres (500 yd), as well as being able to accelerate from 0 to 110 kilometres per hour (68 mph) in three seconds. The word "cheetah" is derived from the Sanskrit word citrakāyaḥ चित्रकायः meaning "variegated body", via the Hindi cītā चीता.

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Akan drum

Featured biography

Lieutenant Colonel Alexandre Banza (1932 – 12 April 1969) was a Central African military officer and politician. Born in Carnot, Central African Republic, Banza served with the French Army during the First Indochina War before joining the Central African Republic armed forces. As commander of the Camp Kassaï military base in 1965, Banza helped Jean-Bédel Bokassa overthrow the government of President David Dacko. Bokassa rewarded Banza by appointing him as minister of state and minister of finance in the new government. Banza quickly established the new regime's reputation abroad and forged diplomatic relations with other countries. In 1967, Bokassa and his protégé had a major argument over the president's excessive extravagances. In April 1968, Bokassa removed Banza as minister of finance. Recognizing Bokassa's attempts to undermine him, Banza made a number of remarks highly critical of the president's handling of the government. Bokassa responded by abolishing the minister of state position.

Banza soon decided to stage a coup d'état. He confided in a few military officers, who he hoped would support his attempt to gain power. One of his confidants, Jean-Claude Mandaba, contacted the president and informed him of the date of the coup, 9 April 1969. Hours before he was going to execute his bid for power, Banza was ambushed by Mandaba and taken directly to Bokassa. (Read more...)

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USA TODAY

USA TODAY
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:40:50 -0700

West Africa today is nowhere near goals set by the United Nations to get the outbreak under control, according to the WHO. Even with the modest goal of meeting 70% of the region's needs by Dec. 1, affected countries would need at least 16 more labs to ...

The Economist

The Economist
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:04:50 -0700

Legal experts note that a judge can choose from a range of sentences for manslaughter, known in South Africa as culpable homicide. Ms Masipa, who emphasised justice rather than vengeance in her reasoning, handed Mr Pistorius a sentence that was fairly ...

The Guardian

The Guardian
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 16:05:22 -0700

The international response to the Ebola epidemic in west Africa is too slow and providing too few beds for the sick to stop the soaring number of cases and deaths, scientists say. A paper in the Lancet Infectious Diseases medical journal models the ...

Aljazeera.com

NBCNews.com
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:56:15 -0700

The first case of Ebola in Mali has been confirmed, the West African country's health minister said Thursday evening. The announcement made on Malian state television by Ousmane Kone said that the patient was a 2-year-old girl who had come from ...

NPR (blog)

WABC-TV
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:09:58 -0700

A doctor who recently traveled from West Africa has tested positive for the Ebola virus at Bellevue Hospital, the first case in New York City. Sources have identified the patient as Dr. Craig Allen Spencer, 33, who was working with Doctors Without ...
 
Huffington Post
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:33:45 -0700

"The tragedy of Ebola goes far beyond the heartbreaking suffering of the people in hardest-hit West Africa," Ashish Sanghrajka, president of Florida-based Big Five Tours and Expeditions, told The Los Angeles Times. "Behind the scenes, another lesser ...

The Guardian

The Guardian
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 04:15:00 -0700

Those familiar with the continent might just shrug off yet more myths being reported as news, but there is an emerging team of fact checkers including BudgIT and Africa Check who want to put things right. To accompany a story in the Guardian a few ...

Sydney Morning Herald

Sydney Morning Herald
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 18:58:15 -0700

The revelations add to the pressure already being applied to the Abbott government by Labor, the Greens, health and aid groups for it to send doctors, nurses and other skilled workers to West Africa to support international efforts to control the ...
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