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Wikipedia portal Africa logo.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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Featured article

Map showing the distribution of the major Gbe dialect areas

The Gbe languages (pronounced [ɡ͡be]) form a cluster of about twenty related languages stretching across the area between eastern Ghana and western Nigeria. The total number of speakers of Gbe languages is between four and eight million. The most widely spoken Gbe language is Ewe (3 million speakers in Ghana and Togo), followed by Fon (1.7 million, mainly in Benin). The Gbe languages belong to the Kwa branch of the Niger-Congo languages, and break up into five major dialect clusters: Ewe, Fon, Aja, Gen, and Phla-Pherá.

Around 1840, German missionaries started linguistic research into the Gbe languages. In the first half of the twentieth century, the Africanist Diedrich Hermann Westermann was one of the most prolific contributors to the study of Gbe. The first internal classification of the Gbe languages was published in 1988 by H.B. Capo, followed by a comparative phonology in 1991. The Gbe languages are tonal, isolating languages and the basic word order is Subject Verb Object. (Read more...)

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Desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria)
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.

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Akan drum

Featured biography

Major Frederick Russell Burnham, DSO

Frederick Russell Burnham, DSO (May 11, 1861 – September 1, 1947), was an American scout and world traveling adventurer known for his service to the British Army in colonial Africa and for teaching woodcraft to Robert Baden-Powell, thus becoming one of the inspirations for the founding of the international Scouting Movement.

Burnham had little formal education, attending but never graduating high school. He began his career at 14 in the American Southwest as a scout and tracker. Burnham then went to Africa where this background proved useful. He soon became an officer in the British Army, serving in several battles there. During this time, Burnham became friends with Baden-Powell, and passed on to him both his outdoor skills and his spirit for what would later become known as Scouting.

Burnham eventually moved on to become involved in espionage, oil, conservation, writing and business. His descendants are still active in Scouting. (Read more...)

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152538003 news items

Sydney Morning Herald

Sydney Morning Herald
Fri, 29 May 2015 15:41:15 -0700

A two-try haul from skipper Scott Higginbotham wasn't enough for the Melbourne Rebels to achieve a break-through win in South Africa, falling 25-21 to the Sharks in Durban. The captain did his best to help his side to their first victory in the ...

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times
Thu, 28 May 2015 19:02:37 -0700

The purpose of the trip to Trinidad and Tobago was simple: Mandela hoped to win Jack Warner's support, persuading him and other officials of FIFA, soccer's ruling body, to hold the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. At the time, the visit seemed like a ...

BBC News

BBC News
Fri, 29 May 2015 05:36:33 -0700

Here's about as succinct an answer as you're going to get - from Amaju Pinnick, newly elected president of the Nigerian Football Federation, talking to the BBC on Thursday: "Blatter feels Africa, he sees Africa and he has imparted so much - a lot of ...

blogs.hbr.org (blog)

blogs.hbr.org (blog)
Fri, 29 May 2015 09:30:00 -0700

In a glittering ceremony in Skhirat, Morocco, three African innovators emerged as winners in the annual Innovation Prize for Africa competition. The African Innovation Foundation, which organizes the event, focuses on identifying homegrown and scalable ...

Christian Science Monitor

Christian Science Monitor
Thu, 28 May 2015 14:22:30 -0700

The “out-of-Africa” theory is the most widely recognized model for the movement of modern humans into Eurasia. It postulates that, at some point after the evolution of the first anatomically modern humans in Africa, there was a large migration out of ...

Yahoo News

ABC News
Sat, 30 May 2015 01:44:20 -0700

The United Nations' human rights chief is urging several countries to step up efforts to investigate allegations that peacekeepers in Central African Republic may have committed abuses, a call that comes as the U.N. itself faces pressure over child ...

Voice of America

BBC News
Fri, 29 May 2015 00:26:43 -0700

Muhammadu Buhari has been sworn in as Nigeria's president, promising to bring "increased prosperity" to Africa's most populous country. He is the first opposition figure to win a presidential election in Nigeria since independence in 1960. "I belong to ...

New Vision

New Vision
Sat, 30 May 2015 00:52:30 -0700

In recommendations approved during the last sitting of the session held in Midrand, South Africa, the Pan African Parliament was concerned by the growth of terrorism, violent extremism and transnational criminality including human trafficking in Africa.
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