November 30, 2021
Africa is the second largest continent in the world and the second most populous after Asia. With an area of 30,224,050 km² including adjacent islands, Africa covers 20.3% of the total land area of the Earth. With 800 million people in 54 countries, the continent is home to one-seventh of the world's population. With population 1.3 billion people as of 2018, the continent 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. This continent includes Madagascar and various islands. The continent also contains 54 fully recognized sovereign states, nine territories and two countries with limited or no independent de facto recognition. The majority of the continent and its countries are in the Northern Hemisphere, with most and many countries in the Southern Hemisphere. Africa's average population is the youngest of all continents; the median age in 2012 was 19.7, when the worldwide median age was 30.4. Algeria is the largest country in Africa by area, and Nigeria is the country with the largest population. Africa, particularly central East Africa, is widely accepted as the place of origin of humans and the clade Hominidae (great apes), as evidenced by the discovery of the earliest hominids and their ancestors and later ones dating back about 7 million years, including Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Australopithecus africanus, A. afarensis, Homo erectus, H. habilis and H. ergaster - The earliest Homo sapiens (modern humans), found in Ethiopia, about 200,000 years ago. Africa straddles the equator and includes many climatic regions; it is the only continent that stretches from the northern temperate zone to the southern temperate zone. Africa hosts a great diversity of human ethnicities, cultures, and languages. In the late 19th century, European countries colonized almost all of Africa; most countries in Africa emerged from the decolonization process in the 20th century. African countries cooperated through the formation of the African Union, headquartered in Addis Ababa.