Worldwide Travel InformationAfrica World Countries > Africa
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Central African Republic
São Tomé and Príncipe
About the Continent
Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most-populous continent. At about 30 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers six percent of the Earth's total surface area and 20% of the total land area. With one billion people, 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 archipelagoes. It has 54 fully recognized countries, 9 territories and three de facto states with limited recognition.
Africa, particularly central Eastern Africa, is widely regarded within the scientific community to be the origin of humans and the Hominidae clade.
Africa straddles the equator and encompasses numerous climate areas; it is the only continent to stretch from the northern temperate to southern temperate zones. The African expected economic growth rate is at about 5% for 2010 and 5.5% in 2011.
Africa's population has rapidly increased over the last 40 years, and consequently, it is relatively young. In some African states, half or more of the population is under 25 years of age. The total number of people in Africa grew from 221 million in 1950 to 1 billion in 2009.
By most estimates, well over a thousand languages (UNESCO has estimated around two thousand) are spoken in Africa. Most are of African origin, though some are of European or Asian origin. Africa is the most multilingual continent in the world, and it is not rare for individuals to fluently speak not only multiple African languages, but one or more European ones as well. There are four major language families indigenous to Africa.
- The Afro-Asiatic languages are a language family of about 240 languages and 285 million people widespread throughout the Horn of Africa, North Africa, the Sahel, and Southwest Asia.
- The Nilo-Saharan language family consists of more than a hundred languages spoken by 30 million people. Nilo-Saharan languages are spoken by tribes in Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, and northern Tanzania.
- The Niger–Congo language family covers much of Sub-Saharan Africa and is probably the largest language family in the world in terms of different languages.
The Khoisan languages number about fifty and are spoken in Southern Africa by approximately 120,000 people. Many of the Khoisan languages are endangered. The Khoi and San peoples are considered the original inhabitants of this part of Africa.