Everything You Need To Know About Africa – Coming behind Asia in terms of being the largest and most populous continent is Africa. At 11.7 million square miles, it covers 6% of the Earth’s total surface area and 20% of its land area. With 1.2 billion people as of 2016, it interprets 16% of the world’s human population. It, based on theories of paleoanthropologists is considered to be the oldest inhabited territory. Fossils discovered in the 20th century proved of human occupation as early as 7 million years ago. The climate in Africa which ranges from tropical to subarctic on its highest peaks have made it the ideal environment to a lot of endangered species.
The continent is bordered by Mediterranean Sea to the north, Isthmus of Suez and Red Sea to the northeast, Indian Ocean to the southeast, and Atlantic Ocean to the west. The median age in Africa is 19 while the worldwide median age is 30.4. Therefore making their average population the youngest among the continents.
Deserts, tropical savanna grasslands, jungles and subarctic climates comprise Africa. The world’s hottest desert – Sahara is located in Northern Africa. 11 countries also are witness to Nile river flowing as the longest in the world. The equator runs through several countries in Africa making it be on both northern temperate and southern temperate.
Ecology and Biodiversity
The density and range of freedom made it the largest and most diverse wild animal population in the world. It is home to carnivorous animals – lions, hyenas, tigers, and herbivores – buffaloes, elephants, and camels to name a few. It is also the natural environment of the largest land animal in the world, the African elephant. It has protected areas including 198 marine areas, 50 biosphere reserves and 80 wetland reserves. It has been highly affected by deforestation wherein the rate of it is twice compared to that happening in the rest of the world. It has also been reported that about 90% of virgin forests in West Africa have been ruined. Biological diversity has been reduced due to the increase of human population and habitat destruction.
Language and Demographics
An estimate of about a thousand languages are spoken in Africa. As a multilingual continent, it is not unusual for individuals to fluently speak not only multiple African languages but European as well. Languages indigenous to Africa are; Afroasiatic, Nilo-Saharan, Niger-Congo, and Khoisan.
Over the years, It’s population has swiftly grown. From 630 million in 1990, it is by 2016 at 1.2 billion. Niger-Congo speakers comprise West Africa people from which ethnic groups like Yoruba, Igbo, Fulani, Akan and Wolof are the most influential. In North Africa, people are from three main indigenous groups; Berbers in the northwest, Egyptians in the northeast and Nilo-Saharan speaking peoples in the east. Decolonization during 1960s to 1970s has resulted to emigration of numerous white settlers. However, they remain minority in many African states.
As sensitive a topic it is for African governments, statistics on religious affiliation are difficult to come by but, according to Brittanica, 45% of the population are Christians, 40% are Muslims, and small number of them are Hindu, Buddhist, Confucianist or Jewish
It is rich in natural resources. 90% of world’s cobalt, 90% of platinum, 50% of gold reserves are believed to be in Africa. However, it remains to be the world’s poorest and underdeveloped continent. This is believed to be brought about by corrupt governments, human right violations, illiteracy, and frequent tribal conflict.