Africa is the world's second largest and second most-populous continent. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of its land area. With
1.2 billion people as of 2016, it accounts for about 16% of the world's human population. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The continent includes Madagascar and various archipelagos. It contains 54 fully recognised sovereign states (countries), nine territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition. The majority of the continent and its countries are in the Northern Hemisphere, with a substantial portion and number of countries in the Southern Hemisphere.
Africa's average population is the youngest amongst all the continents; the median age in 2012 was 19.7, when the worldwide median age was 30.4. Algeria is Africa's largest country by area, and Nigeria is its 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 7 million years ago, including Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Australopithecus africanus, A. afarensis, Homo erectus, H. habilis and H. ergaster--the earliest Homo sapiens (modern human), found in Ethiopia, date 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.
Africa hosts a large diversity of ethnicities, cultures and languages. In the late 19th century, European countries colonised almost all of Africa; most present states in Africa emerged from a process of decolonisation in the 20th century. African nations cooperate through the establishment of the African Union, which is headquartered in Addis Ababa.
Chad (Arabic: ?; French: Tchad), officially the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in central Africa. It borders Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west. Chad is divided into three major geographical regions: a desert zone in the north, an arid Sahelian belt in the centre and a more fertile Sudanian savanna zone in the south. Lake Chad, after which the country is named, is the largest wetland in Chad and the second largest in Africa. Chad's highest peak is the Emi Koussi in the Sahara, and the largest city by far is N'Djamena, the capital. Chad is home to over 200 different ethnic and linguistic groups. French and Arabic are the official languages. Islam is the most practiced religion.
While many political parties are active, power lies firmly in the hands of President Idriss Déby and his political party, the Patriotic Salvation Movement. Chad remains plagued by political violence and recurrent attempted coups d'état. Recently, the Darfur crisis in Sudan has spilt over the border and destabilised the nation.
Credit: Luca Galuzzi
Tadrart Acacus (Arabic: ) is a desert area in western Libya and is part of the Sahara. It is situated close to the Libyan city of Ghat. Tadrart means 'mountain' in the native language of the area (Tamahaq language). The Acacus has a large variation of landscapes, from differently coloured sanddunes to arches, gorges, rocks and mountains. Major landmarks are the arches of Afzejare and Tin Khlega. Although this area is one of the most arid of the Sahara, there is vegetation, such as the callotropis plant. The area is known for its rock-art and was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 because of the importance of these paintings and carvings.
Did you know ...
Pieter Kenyon Fleming-Voltelyn van der Byl (11 November 1923 - 15 November 1999) served as the Foreign Minister of Rhodesia from 1974 to 1979 as a member of the Rhodesian Front. He was a close associate of Prime Minister Ian Smith.
After a high-flying international education, van der Byl moved to the colony of Rhodesia to manage family farms. He went into politics in the early 1960s through his involvement with farming trade bodies, and became a government minister responsible for propaganda. One of the leading agitators for the Unilateral Declaration of Independence, van der Byl was afterwards responsible for introducing press censorship. He was unsuccessful in his attempt to persuade international opinion to recognise Rhodesia as a new nation, but was popular among the members of his own party. Promoted to the cabinet in 1968, van der Byl became a spokesman for the Rhodesian government and crafted a public image as a diehard supporter of continued White minority rule. In 1974 he was made Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence.
Topics in Africa