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Africa is the world's second largest and second most-populous continent (behind Asia in both categories). 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.

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In the news

10 December 2018 –
164 countries adopt the non-binding Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in Marrakech, Morocco. (UPI)
9 December 2018 –
A helicopter crash in eastern Sudan kills Al-Qadarif state governor Mirghani Saleh and at least four other officials. (BBC)
4 December 2018 –
Frank Scott Jr. is elected Mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas, defeating Baker Kurrus in the runoff. Scott will become the city's first African-American mayor. (USA Today)
30 November 2018 –
Nigerian police killed 104 cattle thieves in operations in the north-western state of Zamfara. (BBC)
26 November 2018 –
A court in Milan, Italy, examines evidence submitted by the campaign group Global Witness, that alleges bribery around the attribution of the OPL 245 oil prospecting license in 2011 led to a loss for the Nigerian state estimated at US$6 billion. (BBC)
26 November 2018 – Killing of Jamal Khashoggi
Human rights activists in Tunisia stage protests against a planned visit by Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the killing of Saudi Arabia journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (Africa News) (VOA News)
24 November 2018 –
At least 35 people died after a cruise boat carrying party revellers capsized on Lake Victoria, Uganda. (CNN)
23 November 2018 –
Witnesses say that gunmen in pickup trucks attacked a police station in Tazirbu, southeast Libya. At least five people were killed and several civilians were abducted. (AP via WETM TV18)


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