Africa is 2nd largest of the continents in the world with a population of over 832 million, made up of fifty-five (55) individual countries. The size of Africa is about 30,065,000 sq km, 11,608,000 sq miles with coastline occupying 30,539 km, 18,976 miles and the earth’s land being 20%. The continent is divided into: North Africa, South Africa. West Africa, East Africa and Central Africa.

The economy of Africa as a whole is has a Gross National Product of $1,968 and per capita income of $671. Africa is the poorest continent in the world. While some individuals are potentially rich due to their resources, others are without any.

36.2% of the people live below $1 a day.

The African population are predominantly illiterate (about 58.2%)

Despite all odds, Africa has produced men and women of world fame in different areas of human endeavours.

Africa is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the west, the Indian Ocean on the east, the Mediterranean Sea on the north, and the Red Sea on the northeast.

Africa covers about 11,700,000 square miles (30,300,000 square kilometers).

Countries: There are about 53 countries in Africa (some countries are disputed). The biggest country in Africa is Sudan, which covers 967,500 square miles (2,505,816 square kilometers). The countries with the largest populations in Africa are Nigeria (185,000,000 people), Ethiopia (90,000,000 people), and Egypt (88,500,000 people).

Highest and Lowest Points: The tallest point in Africa is Mt. Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania (eastern Africa). Mt. Kilimanjaro is 19,340 feet (5895 meters) tall. Africa has no long mountain chains.

The lowest point in Africa is Lake Assal, in Djibouti (in eastern Africa near the Horn of Africa); it is 512 feet (156 meters) below sea level.

Lakes: Africa's largest lake is Lake Victoria; it covers 26,836 square miles (69,500 square kilometers). Other large lakes in Africa are Lake Tanganyika, Lake Malawi, and Lake Chad.

Rivers: The longest river in Africa is the Nile River; it is 4,241 miles (6825 kilometers) long. Other long rivers in Africa include the Congo River, the Niger River and the Zambezi River.

Deserts: Africa has many vast deserts, including the largest hot desert in the world, the Sahara. The Sahara Desert is located in northern Africa and covers 3,500,000 square miles (9,065,000 square kilometers). The Kalahari, in southern Africa, is another large desert.

Islands: The biggest island off Africa is Madagascar, which is near the coast of southeast Africa. Madagascar covers 226,658 square miles (587,000 square kilometers). Other islands include the Seychelles (a chain of islands north of Madagascar), the Comoros (another chain of islands north of Madagascar), the Canary Islands (a chain of islands off the northwest coast), the Madeira Islands (another chain of islands off the northwest coast), the Cape Verde Islands (off the coast of western Africa), Equatorial Guinea (off the coast of Cameroon), and Sao Tome (southwest of Equatorial Guinea).

More about Africa: The continent of Africa covers nearly 12 million square miles (31 million sq. km). Africa could hold the land occupied by China, India, Europe, Argentina, New Zealand and the continental United States, with room to spare!. As of 2003, there are 54 African countries that are members either of the United Nations or the African Union, formerly the Organization of African Unity (OAU). Western Sahara, occupied by Morocco, is a member of the African Union but not the UN.

Within the vast African continent, climates range from Mediterranean to desert. Tropical rainforest occupies less than one-tenth of the area, and the most common landscape is open savannah grassland. There are over 1,000 African languages; English, French, Portuguese, and Arabic are also widely spoken.

Approximately 255 million people live in West Africa and 225 million in East Africa, the two most populous of Africa’s five regions, almost as many as in the entire U.S. Central Africa, the least populous, has over 100 million people, about as many as the northern U.S. from New England to Kansas. Southern Africa and North Africa each has about 150 million, equal to the U.S. Northeast plus the South, including Texas.

There are tens of millions of recent African immigrants outside the continent today, including more than a million in the United States and more than that in the United Kingdom. Many play leadership roles in global institutions, such as the United Nations, and in the countries where they now live. This global diaspora is an integral part of African reality.

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