Portal:Africa

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Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most-populous continent. At about 30.2 million km2 (11.7 million sq mi) including adjacent islands, it covers six percent of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4 percent of the total land area. With 1.1 billion people as of 2013, it accounts for about 15% of the world's human population. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, both the Suez Canal and the Red Sea along the Sinai Peninsula to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The continent includes Madagascar and various archipelagos. It has 54 fully recognized sovereign states ("countries"), nine territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition.

Africa's population is the youngest among all the continents; 50% of Africans are 19 years old or younger.

Algeria is Africa's largest country by area, and Nigeria is the 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 seven million years ago, including Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Australopithecus africanus, A. afarensis, Homo erectus, H. habilis and H. ergaster – with the earliest Homo sapiens (modern human) found in Ethiopia being dated 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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The Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (French: Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC)) is the state military organisation responsible for defending the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The FARDC is dominated by its land forces but also includes a small air force and a smaller navy, which together number around 130,000 personnel. There is also the National Congolese Police, which are not part of the Armed Forces, and a presidential force called the Republican Guard.

The FARDC is being rebuilt as part of the peace process which followed the end of the Second Congo War in July 2003. The government, the United Nations, the European Union, and various bilateral partners are attempting to create a viable force with the ability to provide the DRC with stability and security. However, this process is hampered by corruption, the near-impotence of the government, and inadequate donor coordination. (Read more...)

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A Nodding Pincushion Flower Bud
Photo credit: Mila Zinkova

Leucospermum (Pincushion or Pincushion Protea) is a genus of about 50 species of flowering plants in the family Proteaceae, native to Zimbabwe and South Africa, where they occupy a variety of habitats, including scrub, forest, and mountain slopes.

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Pieter Kenyon Fleming-Voltelyn van der Byl (11 November 1923 – 15 November 1999) served as the Foreign Minister of Rhodesia from 1974 to 1979 as a member of the Rhodesian Front. He was a close associate of Prime Minister Ian Smith.

After a high-flying international education, van der Byl moved to the colony of Rhodesia to manage family farms. He went into politics in the early 1960s through his involvement with farming trade bodies, and became a government minister responsible for propaganda. One of the leading agitators for the Unilateral Declaration of Independence, van der Byl was afterwards responsible for introducing press censorship. He was unsuccessful in his attempt to persuade international opinion to recognise Rhodesia as a new nation, but was popular among the members of his own party. Promoted to the cabinet in 1968, van der Byl became a spokesman for the Rhodesian government and crafted a public image as a diehard supporter of continued White minority rule. In 1974 he was made Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence. (Read more...)

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