Africa is the world's second-largest continent and second most populous after Asia. The name Africa came into Western use through the Romans, who used the name Africa terra — "land of the Afri" for the northern part of the continent. Africa is the largest of the three great southward projections from the main mass of the Earth's surface.
Africa is home to the oldest inhabited territory
on earth, with the human race originating from
this continent. Africa's climatic zones are
largely controlled by the continent's location
astride the equator and its almost symmetrical
extensions into the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
Africa is the world's poorest inhabited continent
as per the UN Human Development Report 2003.
The major economic success is South Africa,
which is developed to the extent that it has
its own mature stock exchange. This is partly
due to its wealth of natural resources, being
the world's leading producer of both gold and
diamonds, and partly due to its well-established
legal system. South Africa also has access to
capital, markets and know how. Nigeria sits
on one of the largest proven oil reserves in
the world and has the highest population among
nations in Africa.
Thousands of languages are been spoken in Africa
but the major four languages are Afro-Asiatic,
Nilo-Saharan, Niger-Congo and Khoisan languages.
European languages like English, French,Portuguese,
and Spanish have acquired prominence in Africa
and that are the official languages. English
and Afrikaans are the native languages in South
Africa has a number of cultures rather than
one culture. African art reflects the diversity
of African cultures. The oldest existing art
from Africa are 6000-year old carvings found
in Niger, while the Great Pyramid of Giza in
Egypt was the world's tallest architectural
for four thousand years until the creation of
the Eiffel Tower.
Africans profess a wide variety of religious
beliefs, with Christianity and Islam being the
most widespread. Approximately 40% of all Africans
are Christians and another 40% Muslims. Roughly
20% of Africans primarily follow indigenous
African religions. A small number of Africans
also have beliefs from the Judaic tradition,
such as the Beta Israel and Lemba tribes.