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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

6 November 2018 – European migrant crisis
In two separate incidents, there are a total of at least seventeen migrants killed after they attempted to cross the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa to Spain. (Reuters)
4 November 2018 – 2018 Minya bus attack
Egyptian Police kill 19 Islamist militants accused of involvement in an attack on Coptic Christians in central Egypt two days ago. (BBC)
2 November 2018 – 2018 Minya bus attack
An attack on a bus carrying Copts from Sohag Governorate to the Monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor in Egypt, kills seven people and injures several others. (Euronews and Reuters)
31 October 2018 – Boko Haram insurgency
Boko Haram militants kill at least 15 people in a village on the outskirts of Maiduguri, in northeast Nigeria. (Reuters)
26 October 2018 – 2018 Gaza border protests
Israel responds to 40 Palestinian rockets with 80 air strikes on what Israel states are Iranian and Hamas-controlled weapon factories in Gaza. An Egypt-meditated ceasefire is announced by Islamic Jihad soon afterward. (Reuters)
25 October 2018 – Politics of Ethiopia
United Nations diplomat Sahle-Work Zewde becomes the first female President of Ethiopia in its history after the resignation of Mulatu Teshome. (BBC)
20 October 2018 – Religious violence in Nigeria
A spat in a market in Nigeria's northern Kaduna State results in 55 dead. After the brawl, 22 people were arrested. (BBC)
16 October 2018 – Somali Civil War (2009–present)
The United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) says that a U.S. airstrike has killed around 60 al-Shabaab militants near Harardhere in central Somalia. (BBC)
13 October 2018 – Somali Civil War
Two blasts in the town of Baidoa in Somalia kill at least 15 people and injure more than 30 others. (VOA)


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