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.

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.
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