Zuma versus Science

President Jacob Zuma claimed that Africa is the biggest continent on earth, and that it is larger than all the other continents put together.

Speaking to the business community about Africa, Zuma said “this continent is the biggest continent in the world”. “All continents put together will fit into Africa.”

“[Africa is] not separated even by a river. The rivers that are there flow with the continent – they don’t cut it into half, or quarter.”

Zuma was ostensibly speaking about the geographical area of continents, which makes his statement false and misinformed.

But even if Zuma was speaking about another metric, like population, his statement still would have been wrong.

The facts, as established by scientific knowledge

Universe Today states that the question “which is the largest continent?” may refer to area or population. However, the answer is the same in both cases.

Asia is the largest continent by area, at 43.8 million square kilometers. Asia also has the largest population, with over 4 billion people.

Africa is a distant second, with an area of 30.3 million square kilometers, and a population of just over 1 billion people.

The image below, courtesy of WikiPedia, shows the relative continent sizes based on area and population.

Continent size

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Zuma versus Science