Africa has the second largest population in the entire world, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including nearby islands, it encompasses roughly 6% of the earth’s surface area and about 20% of the earth’s land area. With approximately 1.3 billion individuals as of today, it makes up about 16% percent of the total human population of the planet. Thus, Africa has an influence on the entire world.
Africa shares a large part of its historical legacy with the rest of the globe. With civilizations ranging from ancient Greece to Egypt and more recently to Mesopotamia, Africa has been an important source of literature, art and culture. In fact, many of the most popular and influential cultures of the world are found in Africa. This includes all of the major cultural areas of North, South, East and West Africa. The history of these areas is very different from one another, so there is no real single generalization that could be made. However, most scholars and experts agree that the most important cultural and intellectual areas are those in the Nubia and Sahara regions of Africa. In addition, the central part of Africa, which encompasses the Sahara Desert and the central part of the Central African Republic, is also one of the most culturally diverse regions of Africa.
When it comes to geography, Africa covers a vast majority of the entire planet, encompassing the vast majority of the land mass. Most of Africa has a dry subtropical climate, which includes many deserts such as the Sahara Desert. Most of Africa is also tropical, meaning that most of it experiences hot weather. Most areas of Africa do have some seasonal rainfall, but rain is more common during summer than during winter, when snowfall occurs in Northern and Southern Africa, respectively. Most regions of Africa are located at or near the equator of the earth, although portions of many areas experience extreme climate change. Africa is very rich in natural resources, including fossil fuels, coal, precious metals, minerals, gold, gem stones, iron ore and other rare earths.