Portal:Africa

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Satellite map of Africa
Location of Africa on the world map

Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. 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 1.3 billion people as of 2018, it accounts for about 16% of the world's human population. Africa's population is the youngest amongst all the continents; the median age in 2012 was 19.7, when the worldwide median age was 30.4. Despite a wide range of natural resources, Africa is the least wealthy continent per capita, in part due to geographic impediments, legacies of European colonization in Africa and the Cold War, undemocratic rule and deleterious policies. Despite this low concentration of wealth, recent economic expansion and the large and young population make Africa an important economic market in the broader global context.

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 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 is home to much biodiversity; it is the continent with the largest number of megafauna species, as it was least affected by the extinction of the Pleistocene megafauna. However, Africa also is heavily affected by a wide range of environmental issues, including desertification, deforestation, water scarcity, and other issues. These entrenched environmental concerns are expected to worsen as climate change impacts Africa. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has identified Africa as the continent most vulnerable to climate change.

Africa, particularly Eastern Africa, is widely accepted as the place of origin of humans and the Hominidae clade (great apes), meaning that Africa has a long and complex history. The earliest hominids and their ancestors 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) remains, found in Ethiopia, South Africa, and Morocco, date to circa 200,000, 259,000, and 300,000 years ago respectively, and Homo sapiens is believed to have originated in Africa around 350,000–260,000 years ago.

Early human civilizations, such as Ancient Egypt and Phoenicia emerged in North Africa. Following a subsequent long and complex history of civilizations, migration and trade, Africa hosts a large diversity of ethnicities, cultures and languages. The last 400 years have witnessed an increasing European influence on the continent. Starting in the 16th century, this was driven by trade, including the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, which created large African diaspora populations in the Americas. In the late 19th century, European countries colonized almost all of Africa, extracting resources from the continent and exploiting local communities; most present states in Africa emerged from a process of decolonisation in the 20th century. (Full article...)


For a topic outline on this subject, see List of basic Africa topics.

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Oil concessions in Sudan & South Sudan as of 2004. Block 3 (Adar) in the east.

The Adar oilfield, also known as the Adar Yale, Adar Yeil or Adaril field, is an oilfield situated in the Mabaan in South Sudan estimated to contain about 276 million barrels (43,900,000 m3) of oil. The Chevron Corporation discovered the Adar Yale field in 1981, shortly before the start of the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983–2005). Soon after Chevron had suspended operations in 1984, Sudanese government troops began attacking civilian settlements in the area, burning the houses and driving the people away, and in the late 1990s, Nuer militias from Nasir helped the army in clearing away the people to make way for the roads and infrastructure of the oilfield.

President Omar al-Bashir inaugurated the site in March 1997, and it initially produced just 5,000 barrels (790 m3) a day. Production from this oilfield, which lies close to the borders with Sudan and Ethiopia, has the potential to bring significant economic benefits to the region. However, until recently the focus has been on clearing the population away from the oilfield rather than on a longer term strategy for developing the region. China has provided a large investment in the Adar oilfield and others in South Sudan and Sudan and has made plans to make extensive further investments. (Full article...)
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Ouédraogo at a book signing, 2020

Jean-Baptiste Philippe Ouédraogo (born 30 June 1942), also referred to by his initials JBO, is a Burkinabé physician and retired military officer who served as President of Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) from 8 November 1982 to 4 August 1983. He has since mediated a few national political disputes and operates a clinic in Somgandé.

Ouédraogo received his early education in Upper Volta before joining the Upper Voltan Army and studying medicine abroad. After working in healthcare he was appointed chief medical officer of the Ouagadougou military camp. He participated in the November 1982 coup d'état in Upper Volta and shortly thereafter assumed the presidency. More ideologically moderate than most of his comrades, Ouédraogo did not command much popular support and governed the country amid an unstable political climate. A protracted dispute with Prime Minister Thomas Sankara resulted in his removal from power in a coup in August 1983 and imprisonment. He was released in 1985 and resumed medical work. He opened a clinic in Somgandé in 1992, which he still operates. In the 2010s he acted as a mediator between opposing political factions. (Full article...)
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Flag of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau
Emblem of Guinea-Bissau
Location of Guinea-Bissau

Guinea-Bissau, officially the Republic of Guinea-Bissau (Portuguese: República da Guiné-Bissau), is a country in western Africa, and one of the smallest nations in continental Africa. It is bordered by Senegal to the north, Guinea to the south and east, and the Atlantic Ocean to its west. Formerly the Portuguese colony of Portuguese Guinea, the name of its capital, Bissau, was added to the country's official name upon independence in order to prevent confusion between itself and the Republic of Guinea. Portuguese, the official language, is spoken by only 14% of the population.

The protracted liberation war against Portugal brought tremendous damage to the country’s economic infrastructure. The civil war that took place in 1998 and 1999 and a military coup in September 2003 again disrupted economic activity. Guinea-Bissau is one of the world's poorest countries, with more than two-thirds of its population living below the poverty threshold. The economy depends mainly on agriculture and fishing, and cashew nuts are its major exports. (Read more...)

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Beira

Beira is the capital and largest city of Sofala Province, where the Pungwe River meets the Indian Ocean, in the central region of Mozambique. It is the fourth-largest city by population in Mozambique, after Maputo, Matola and Nampula. Beira had a population of 397,368 in 1997, which grew to 530,604 in 2019. A coastal city, it holds the regionally significant Port of Beira, which acts as a gateway for both the central interior portion of the country as well as the land-locked nations of Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi.

Originally called Chiveve after a local river, it was renamed Beira to honour the Portuguese Crown prince Dom Luís Filipe (titled Prince of Beira, itself referring to the traditional Portuguese province of Beira), who had visited Mozambique in the early 1900s. It was first developed by the Portuguese Mozambique Company in the 19th century, supplanting Sofala as the country's main port. It was then directly developed by the Portuguese colonial government from 1947 until Mozambique gained its independence from Portugal in 1975. Beira is the second largest seaport for international cargo transportation to Mozambique after Maputo. In March 2019, the city was heavily damaged by Cyclone Idai, destroying up to 90% of the city. (Full article...)

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