Africa is the second largest continent after Asia, covering about one-fifth of the total land surface of Earth, with a total land area of about 30.3 million km2. It covers 20% of Earth's land area and 6% of its total surface area. With 1.4 billion people it accounts for about 18% of the world's population.

The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.

It contains 54 fully recognised sovereign states, eight cities and islands that are part of non-African states, and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition.

This count does not include Malta and Sicily, which are geologically part of the African continent.

Despite a wide range of natural resources, Africa is the least wealthy continent per capita and second-least wealthy, ahead of Oceania.

This can be attributed to different factors including geography, climate, tribalism, colonialism (and neocolonialism), the Cold War, lack of democracy, and corruption.

Despite this low concentration of wealth, recent economic expansion and the large and young population make Africa an important economic market in the broader global context.