It is Africa Day!

Africa is just immense - much, much larger than you or I thought. Just look at it, realize that, and smile - because you will never forget it again

Kai Krause


For many people today, the world looks like the one designed by the Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator in 1569.

Mercator was the first person to use the term "atlas" for a collection of maps. He wanted to show the current knowledge of the geography of the world and at the same time make the chart more useful to sailors. He drew straight lines on a map that represented the sphere shape of the globe. Mercator's idea was one of the most significant advances in the history of cartography. It is still used as a starting point for finding the way across the seas today.


Making a map this way means the sizes of countries are not accurate. In particular, the southern hemisphere is shown much smaller than it is in reality.

Using Mercator's projection, north America looks at least as big, if not slightly larger, than Africa. And Greenland looks a similar size.

But, in reality Africa is larger than both. The recent Gall-Peters equal projection map shows that you can fit north America into Africa and still have space for India, Argentina, Tunisia and some left over. Greenland, meanwhile, is 1/14th the size of the continent.


Africa is really big! It is roughly the size of the moon. It has 54 countries and hundreds of different cultures and peoples living in it.


Africa Day is celebrated both in Africa and around the world on 25 May. Each year there is a theme, and this year 2017, the African Union highlights the theme: ‘Harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in youth.’

To real people, that simply means investing in young people. Giving them the best opportunity to be the best they can be.


Leave a Reply