chapter
A–Z Entries
Pages 878

The second-largest continent by landmass and population-after Asia, in both cases-Africa is a land of contrasts. (All references in this article to “Africa” refer to sub-Saharan Africa; for a discussion of North Africa, see the article “Middle East and North Africa.”) On the one hand, its vast mineral wealth and abundant supply of arable land make it potentially one of the richest regions of the world. But centuries of exploitation-including the slave trade and European colonization-along with corruption, mismanagement, and a lack of political stability since independence came to most of the continent in the 1960s have left it with the lowest per capita income of any major region in the world.