Africa is the second largest continent by geographic area and the second most populous continent in the world, with an area of approximately 30 million km2 and a population of 1.2 billion people. The continent is widely considered to have a total of 54 countries, nine territories and two independent states with limited or no recognition. However, given Africa's complex political situation and the legacy of its colonial history, the exact makeup of the continent and number of officially recognized countries is still a contentious issue. Africa's population is the youngest of all the continents, with a median age of 19.7 (in comparison to the global median age of 30.4).
The northern country of Algeria is Africa's largest sovereign state and also among the most populous, with around 40 million residents. However, Nigeria is by far the largest country in terms of population – as of 2018, almost 196 million people live in the country. Ethiopia follows with a population of 107 million, while Egypt, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and South Africa all have populations in excess of 50 million.
Even the smaller countries in Africa have fairly large populations. Rwanda and Burundi are relatively small in area (although both share borders with the much larger Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania), yet have populations 12.5 million and 11.2 million, respectively. The tiny landlocked country of Lesotho, surrounded by vastly bigger South Africa, nevertheless has a population of more than two million. Technically, however, it is the Seychelles – an Indian ocean archipelago made up of 115 islands – that is Africa's smallest country, with a total population of just 95,235.