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#WEF2016: Nine surprising things you probably don't know about Africa

Africa is a place that often appears to confound expectations & defy convention, a place full of surprises.

Africa seen from a million miles away. Picture: Nasa.

A continent that spans the hemispheres, Africa has been home to some of the world's oldest civilisations and today has some of the fastest growing nations in the world.

Africa is a place that often appears to confound expectations and defy convention, a place always full of surprises.

Here are 9 facts about the continent that may come as a surprise:

OVER 25 PERCENT OF THE WORLD'S LANGUAGES ARE SPOKEN ONLY IN AFRICA

There are thought to be around 2,000 languages in use on the continent. All are considered official languages of the African Union. Nigeria alone has over 500 living languages.

AFRICA IS THE ONLY CONTINENT TO EXTEND FROM THE NORTHERN TEMPERATE ZONE TO THE SOUTHERN TEMPERATE ZONE

It is the world's hottest continent and the second driest after Australia. Despite being nearly four times the size of Europe, its straighter shores mean it has a shorter overall coastline.

THE AFRICAN POPULATION IS MUCH YOUNGER THAN THE REST OF THE WORLD

Over 50 percent of Africans are under the age of 20, compared to a global median age of 30. Africa has the world's highest child-dependency ratio - with 73 children under the age of 15 for every 100 people of working age. That's nearly double the global average.

AFRICA'S POPULATION WILL MORE THAN DOUBLE TO 2.3 BILLION PEOPLE BY 2050

Nigeria's population alone is expected to rise from 174 million to 440 million people. 40 percent of the global population will be African by the year 2100, up from 9 percent back in 1950.

MORE THAN HALF OF THE WORLD'S MOBILE MONEY ACCOUNTS ARE IN AFRICA

12 percent of African adults have access to one, compared to just 2 percent worldwide. In Kenya the figure stands at 58 percent. Across the continent only a third of adults have access to a traditional bank account.

ETHIOPIA WAS THE WORLD'S FASTEST GROWING ECONOMY IN 2015

The IMF says the country's real GDP grew by 10.2 percent. But growth for the sub-Saharan region as a whole fell to 3.5 percent, the lowest level in 15 years, and is predicted to fall as low as 3 percent this year.

ALMOST 40 PERCENT OF ADULTS IN AFRICA ARE ILLITERATE

Two-thirds of them are women. Progress in improving literacy on the continent has been slow - in 1990 the proportion of adults who couldn't read and write stood at 48 percent, according to UNESCO statistics (PDF).

NOLLYWOOD IS NIGERIA'S SECOND BIGGEST EMPLOYER AFTER AGRICULTURE

The country's film industry employs over one million people, and produces around 50 movies each week. Only Bollywood makes more. In 2014 the Nigerian government released data showing Nollywood was a $3.3 billion industry.

AFRICA HAS AROUND 30 PERCENT OF THE EARTH'S REMAINING MINERAL RESOURCES

This includes over 40 percent of gold reserves and 90 percent of platinum reserves. Nigeria is the world's fifth largest exporter of oil, ahead of Iraq and Kuwait, according to the CIA World Factbook.

Keith Breene is the senior writer at Formative Content.

This article is part of the World Economic Forum's Africa series. You can read more here.

The World Economic Forum on Africa is taking place in Kigali, Rwanda, from 11 to 13 May.