Africa is not a country. It is the world’s second largest continent and the second most populous, after Asia. Occupying 20 percent of the Earth’s land area, it measures roughly 5,000 miles from north to south and about 4,600 miles from east to west. This makes it about four times the size of the United States.
Africa’s population of about 890 million is slightly less than 14 percent of total world population. Its peoples belong to thousands of ethnic groups and clans. Some of the more widely known ethnic groups in Africa are Arab, Ashanti, Bantu, Berber, Dinka, Fulani, Ganda, Yoruba, Hausa, Kikuyu, Luba, Lunda, Malinke, Moor, Nuer, Tuareg and Xhosa.
Africans are by no means homogeneous. There is no African culture. Africans have diverse and varied ways of life. They behave differently from country to country, ethnic group to ethnic group and clan to clan.
There is also no African language. Africans speak about 2,000 languages. Among Africa’s most widely spoken languages are Swahili, Hausa, Yoruba, Bantu, Akan, Arabic, Koma and Songhai.
And far from being a perpetual laggard, Africa has made and still makes quite significant contributions to the world order. History 101 says Africa provided the slave labor that developed the New World and enriched the Old World. Today, Africa provides columbite-tantalite, the mineral from which the computer chips that drive the 21st century’s high-tech global economy are made.
Algeria, Egypt, Libya and Nigeria are the major petroleum and natural gas producing countries in Africa. They account for about 20 percent of the world’s petroleum needs. Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa together produce 50 percent of the world’s diamonds. Ghana, South Africa and Zimbabwe together produce nearly 50 percent of the world’s gold.
Africa also contributes 70 percent of the world’s cocoa each year, 34 percent of the coffee and 50 percent of the palm products. The United States imports 30 to 60 percent of key African products; French industry depends on Africa for over 90 percent of its uranium, cobalt and manganese, 76 percent of its bauxite, 50 percent of its chromium and 30 percent of its iron ore; and British industry depends on Africa for 80 percent of its chromium, 65 percent of its lubrication oil, 55 percent of its manganese and 54 percent of its cobalt. China imports nearly 30 percent of its oil and gas from sub-Saharan Africa.
Africa is the continent longest inhabited by human beings. There are two competing theories to explain how mankind spread across the globe from Africa.
The “Out of Africa” theory suggests that between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago, modern man (Homo sapiens) emerged from Africa to slowly populate the rest of the world, replacing any human species that were already there.
The other theory suggests that modern humans arose simultaneously in Africa, Europe and Asia from one of our predecessors, Homo erectus, who left Africa about 2 million years ago.
Proponents of each theory, however, agree on one point—that all humans alive today could share common ancestry with a being in Africa who lived 120,000 to 220,000 years ago.
History is emphatic that Africa is the cradle of civilization. Egypt, Ethiopia and the ancient empires of Mali, Songhai, Kongo, Oyo, Kanem-Bornu and Ghana are among Africa’s early civilizations. The Nile Valley is also acclaimed for the inventions its African inhabitants bequeathed to modern civilization.
Africa boasts of having some of the best brains in the world. According to the United States Census Bureau, Africans are the most educated ethnic group in the United States.
But what do the Western media say Africa is?
This dehumanization of Africa has become a matter of concern not only to Africans, at home and in the diaspora, but also to teeming non-Africans who have suckled at Africa’s generous breasts.
Very interesting read indeed. Seems to me Africa is a very wealthy Country. Where does all the money go?
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All the best
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