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Regional Information: Africa

North Africa | West Africa | Central Africa | East Africa | Southern Africa

Africa is the second largest continent. It's a vast area of landmass measuring an incredible 30,335,000 sq km. At its longest point from north to south it measures 7623 km, and from east to west. The continent is dissected in the north by the Tropic of Cancer, in the centre by the Equator and in the south by the Tropic of Capricorn. This makes for a complex and diverse collection of weather systems from dry and arid to temperate to tropical. Africa is almost completely surrounded by sea and ocean except for a small section in Egypt, which joins the continent to the Middle East. In the North the mighty Sahara Desert covers the majority of the land. The central region opens up to a vast river basin, influenced by major river tributaries such as the Congo. Toward the east and south, the elevations rise to form a vast plateau and significant areas of highland.

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The great lakes of Victoria and Tanganyika are home to a grand variety of fish and other aquatic life forms, and the grassy savannahs of the east and south provide a habitat for some of the world's most famous land dwelling critters. Africa has the biggest concentration of countries in the world. Currently the African continent is made up of 54 countries. This makes it one of the most diverse mixes of ethnic peoples in the world, with several hundred languages and tribal dialects being spoken along with English, French and other European languages. Much of the Africa was once colonized by the French and the British and their legacy still lives on, mostly in the form of the languages that these nations have begun to accept as their own.

Africa is home to some incredibly valuable natural resources including gold, diamonds, zinc, iron ore, natural gas and oil. Uranium is also mined in Africa and is used to fuel nuclear power plantations the world over. Due to extremes in climate, Africa possesses environmental concerns such as drought, desertification and flooding. Despite these problems, many of the nations still rely heavily on the agriculture industry, producing a range of products including cereals, fruits, coffee, tea, rice, wheat, sugar and tobacco.

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