West Africa

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West Africa
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{{About||the region of the African Union|Regions of the African Union#West}}{{short description|Westernmost region of the African continent}}

{{legend|#00ff00|The northwest African region of Maghreb is counted as part of North Africa.}}}}|bodyclass = geography|above = West Africa|label1 = Area5,112,903abbr=on}} (7th)|label2 = PopulationWestern Africa}} ({{UN_PopulationList of countries by population>3rd){{UN_Population|ref}} 381,981,000 (female: 189,672,000; male: 192,309,000 (2017 est.United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2017). World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision, custom data acquired via website. weblink)|label3 = Density|data3 = 49.2/km2 (127.5/sq mi)|label4 = Demonym|data4 = West African|label5 = Countries|data5 = {hide}collapsible list
|titlestyle = background:transparent;text-align:left;font-weight:normal;

|{{BEN{edih} |{{BUR}} |{{CPV}} |{{GMB}} |{{GHA}} |{{GUI}} |{{GBS}} |{{CIV}} |{{LBR}} |{{MLI}} |{{flagcountry|Mauritania}} |{{NIG}} |{{NGA}} |{{flagcountry|SHN}} (British overseas territory) |{{SEN}} |{{SLE}} |{{TOG}}
}}|label6 = Time zones|data6 = UTC+0 to UTC+1|label7 = Major Regional Organizations|data7 = Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS; established 1975)Gross domestic product>GDP (PPP)link=yes}}752.983 billion (2013) (List of countries by GDP (PPP))HTTP://WWW.IMF.ORG/EXTERNAL/PUBS/FT/WEO/2014/01/WEODATA/WEOREPT.ASPX?PR.X=62&PR.Y=13&SY=2012&EY=2019&SCSM=1&SSD=1&SORT=COUNTRY&DS=.&BR=1&C=668%2C638%2C748%2C678%2C624%2C692%2C694%2C722%2C662%2C724%2C648%2C652%2C742%2C656&S=PPPGDP&GRP=0&A= ACCESSDATE=17 OCTOBER 2014, Gross domestic product>GDP (PPP) per capitaACCESS-DATE=17 OCTOBER 2014, Gross domestic product>GDP (nominal)ACCESS-DATE=17 OCTOBER 2014, HTTPS://WWW.BLOOMBERG.COM/NEWS/2014-04-06/NIGERIAN-ECONOMY-OVERTAKES-SOUTH-AFRICA-S-ON-REBASED-GDP.HTML>TITLE=NIGERIAN ECONOMY OVERTAKES SOUTH AFRICA'S ON REBASED GDPWORK=BLOOMBERG NEWS, 17 October 2014, Gross domestic product>GDP (nominal) per capita|data13 = {{US$}}1,929.22 (2013)|label14 = Currency|data14 =
{{collapsible list
|titlestyle = background:transparent;text-align:left;font-weight:normal;
|title =
| {{flagicon|Cape Verde}} Escudo {{smaller|(CVE)}} 
| {{flagicon|Ghana}} Cedi {{smaller|(GHS)}} 
| {{flagicon|Gambia}} Dalasi {{smaller|(GMD)}} 
| {{flagicon|Guinea}} Franc {{smaller|(GNF)}} 
| {{flagicon|Liberia}} Dollar {{smaller|(LRD)}} 
| {{flagicon|Nigeria}} Naira {{smaller|(NGN)}} 
| {{flagicon|Saint Helena}} Pound {{smaller|(SHP)}}
| {{flagicon|Sierra Leone}} Leone {{smaller|(SLL)}} 
| {{nowrap|W. African CFA franc {{smaller|(XOF)}}}}}}|label15 = Largest cities
Lagos, NigeriaAbidjan, Ivory CoastAccra, GhanaAbuja, NigeriaKano, NigeriaIbadan, NigeriaKumasi, GhanaPort Harcourt, Nigeria}}UN M.49>UN M.49 code|data16 = 011 – West Africa202 – Sub-Saharan Africa002 – Africa001 – World}}West Africa is the westernmost region of Africa. The United Nations defines Western Africa as the 16 countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, the Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo, as well as the United Kingdom Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.Paul R. Masson, Catherine Anne Pattillo, "Monetary union in West Africa (ECOWAS): is it desirable and how could it be achieved?" (Introduction). International Monetary Fund, 2001. {{ISBN|1-58906-014-8}} The population of West Africa is estimated at about {{#expr:{{replace|{{UN_Population|Western Africa}}|,||}}/1e6 round 0}} million{{UN_Population|ref}} people as of {{UN_Population|Year}}, and at 381,981,000 as of 2017, of which 189,672,000 are female and 192,309,000 male.

List of countries

{| class="wikitable"! Region !! Country Western Africa| Benin| Burkina Faso| Cabo Verde (Cape Verde)| Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)| The Gambia| Ghana| Guinea| Guinea-Bissau| Liberia| Mali| Mauritania| Niger| NigeriaSaint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha (United Kingdom Overseas Territories>United Kingdom Overseas Territory)| Senegal| Sierra Leone| Togo

Genetic background

File:African Mitochondrial descent.PNG|thumb|250px|right|Map of early diversification of modern humans, with haplogroup L2 entering West Africa.]]Studies of human mitochondrial DNA suggest that all humans share common ancestors from Africa, originated in the southwestern regions near the coastal border of Namibia and Angola at the approximate coordinates 12.5° E, 17.5°S with a divergence in the migration path around 37.5°E, 22.5°N near the Red Sea.{{harvp|Tishkoff|Reed|Friedlaender|Ehret|2009|p=1041}}A particular haplogroup of DNA, haplogroup L2, evolved between 87,000 and 107,000 years agoTishkoff et al., Whole-mtDNA Genome Sequence Analysis of Ancient African Lineages, Molecular Biology and Evolution, vol. 24, no. 3 (2007), pp.757–68. or approx. 90,000 YBP.JOURNAL, Correcting for Purifying Selection: An Improved Human Mitochondrial Molecular Clock, The American Journal of Human Genetics, 4 June 2009, Pedro, Soares, Luca Ermini, Noel Thomson, Maru Mormina, Teresa Rito, Arne Röhl, Antonio Salas, Stephen Oppenheimer, Vincent Macaulay, Martin B. Richards, 84, 6, 82–93, 10.1016/j.ajhg.2009.05.001,weblink 13 August 2009, 19500773, 2694979, Its age and widespread distribution and diversity across the continent makes its exact origin point within Africa difficult to trace with any confidence,Salas, Antonio et al., The Making of the African mtDNA Landscape, American Journal of Human Genetics, vol. 71, no. 5 (2002), pp. 1082–1111. however an origin for several L2 groups in West or Central Africa seems likely, with the highest diversity in West Africa. Most of its subclades are largely confined to West and western-Central Africa.Atlas of the Human Journey: Haplogroup L2 {{webarchive|url= |date=6 October 2011 }} The Genographic Project, National Geographic.Africans bearing the E-V38 (E1b1a) likely traversed across the Sahara, from east to west, approximately 19,000 years ago.JOURNAL, Shrine, Daniel, Rotimi, Charles, Whole-Genome-Sequence-Based Haplotypes Reveal Single Origin of the Sickle Allele during the Holocene Wet Phase, American Journal of Human Genetics, 102, 4, 547–556, Am J Hum Genet, 5985360, 2018, 29526279, 10.1016/j.ajhg.2018.02.003, E-M2 (E1b1a1) likely originated in West Africa or Central Africa.JOURNAL, Trombetta, Beniamino, Phylogeographic Refinement and Large Scale Genotyping of Human Y Chromosome Haplogroup E Provide New Insights into the Dispersal of Early Pastoralists in the African Continent, Genome Biology and Evolution, 7, 7, 1940–1950, Genome Biol Evol, 4524485, 2015, 26108492, 10.1093/gbe/evv118, Due to the large numbers of West Africans enslaved in the Atlantic slave trade, most African Americans, Afro Latin Americans and Black Caribbeans are likely to have mixed ancestry from different regions of western Africa.{{harvp|Tishkoff|Reed|Friedlaender|Ehret|2009|p=1043}} 60% of African-Americans (in the study) were of the E1b1a haplogroup, within which 22.9% were particularly of the E-M2 haplogroup; they also possessed numerous SNPs (e.g., U175, U209, U181, U290, U174, U186, and U247).JOURNAL, Sims, Lynn, Garvey, Dennis, Ballantyne, Jack, Sub-Populations Within the Major European and African Derived Haplogroups R1b3 and E3a Are Differentiated by Previously Phylogenetically Undefined Y-SNPs, Human Mutation, 28, 1, 97, 10.1002/humu.9469, 17154278, 2007,


{{See|Sub-Saharan Africa#Western Africa|African empires#West Africa|List of kingdoms in pre-colonial Africa#West Africa}}The history of West Africa can be divided into five major periods: first, its prehistory, in which the first human settlers arrived, developed agriculture, and made contact with peoples to the north; the second, the Iron Age empires that consolidated both intra-Africa, and extra-Africa trade, and developed centralized states; third, major polities flourished, which would undergo an extensive history of contact with non-Africans; fourth, the colonial period, in which Great Britain and France controlled nearly the entire region; and fifth, the post-independence era, in which the current nations were formed.


At Gobero, the Kiffian, who were hunters of tall stature, lived during the green Sahara between 10,000 and 8,000 years ago. The Tenerian, who were a more lightly built people that hunted, fished and herded cattle, lived during the latter part of the green Sahara approximately 7,000 to 4,500 years ago.WEB, Stone Age Graveyard reveals Lifestyles of a 'Green Sahara': Two Successive Cultures Thrived Lakeside,weblink UChicagoNews, UChicagoNews, 2 June 2018,
Sedentary farming began in, or around the fifth millennium B.C, as well as the domestication of cattle. By 1500 B.C, ironworking technology allowed an expansion of agricultural productivity, and the first city-states later formed. Northern tribes developed walled settlements and non-walled settlements that numbered at 400. In the forest region, Iron Age cultures began to flourish, and an inter-region trade began to appear. The desertification of the Sahara and the climatic change of the coast caused trade with upper Mediterranean peoples to be seen.The domestication of the camel allowed the development of a trans-Saharan trade with cultures across the Sahara, including Carthage and the Berbers; major exports included gold, cotton cloth, metal ornaments, iron, and leather goods, which were then exchanged for salt, horses, textiles, and other such materials. Local leather, cloth, and gold also contributed to the abundance of prosperity for many of the following empires.


{{See|History of Africa#West Africa|History of Africa#West Africa 2|Blacksmiths of western Africa}}{{See also|Jews of Bilad el-Sudan}}File:Mansa Musa.jpg|thumb|left|Mansa Musa depicted holding a gold nugget from a 1395 map of Africa and EuropeEuropeThe development of the region's economy allowed more centralized states and civilizations to form, beginning with Dhar Tichitt that began in 1600 B.C. followed by Djenné-Djenno beginning in 300 B.C. This was then succeeded by the Ghana Empire that first flourished between the 9th and 12th centuries, which later gave way to the Mali Empire. In current-day Mauritania, there exist archaeological sites in the towns of Tichit and Oualata that were initially constructed around 2000 B.C., and were found to have originated from the Soninke branch of the Mandé peoples, who, according to their tradition, originate from Aswan, Egypt.BOOK,weblink 104, Encyclopedia of African American History [3 volumes], Leslie M., Alexander, Walter C. Rucker, Jr, 9 February 2010, ABC-CLIO, Google Books, 9781851097746, Also, based on the archaeology of city of Kumbi Saleh in modern-day Mauritania, the Mali empire came to dominate much of the region until its defeat by Almoravid invaders in 1052.Three great kingdoms were identified in Bilad al-Sudan by the ninth century. They included Ghana, Gao and Kanem.BOOK, Levtzion, Nehemia, Ancient Ghana and Mali, 1973, Methuen & Co Ltd, New York, 978-0841904316, 3, The Sosso Empire sought to fill the void, but was defeated (c. 1240) by the Mandinka forces of Sundiata Keita, founder of the new Mali Empire. The Mali Empire continued to flourish for several centuries, most particularly under Sundiata's grandnephew Musa I, before a succession of weak rulers led to its collapse under Mossi, Tuareg and Songhai invaders. In the 15th century, the Songhai would form a new dominant state based on Gao, in the Songhai Empire, under the leadership of Sonni Ali and Askia Mohammed.(File:African slave trade.png|thumb|13th-century Africa – Map of the main trade routes and states, kingdoms and empires.)Meanwhile, south of the Sudan, strong city states arose in Igboland, such as the 10th-century Kingdom of Nri, which helped birth the arts and customs of the Igbo people, Bono in the 12th century, which eventually culminated in the formation the all-powerful Akan Empire of Ashanti, while Ife rose to prominence around the 14th century. Further east, Oyo arose as the dominant Yoruba state and the Aro Confederacy as a dominant Igbo state in modern-day Nigeria.The Kingdom of Nri was a West African medieval state in the present-day southeastern Nigeria and a subgroup of the Igbo people. The Kingdom of Nri was unusual in the history of world government in that its leader exercised no military power over his subjects. The kingdom existed as a sphere of religious and political influence over a third of Igboland and was administered by a priest-king called as an Eze Nri. The Eze Nri managed trade and diplomacy on behalf of the Nri people and possessed divine authority in religious matters.The Oyo Empire was a Yoruba empire of what is today Western and North central Nigeria. Established in the 15th century, the Oyo Empire grew to become one of the largest West African states. It rose through the outstanding organizational skills of the Yoruba, wealth gained from trade and its powerful cavalry. The Oyo Empire was the most politically important state in the region from the mid-17th to the late 18th century, holding sway not only over most of the other kingdoms in Yorubaland, but also over nearby African states, notably the Fon Kingdom of Dahomey in the modern Republic of Benin to the west.The Benin Empire was a pre-colonial empire located in what is now southern Nigeria. Its capital was Edo, now known as Benin City, Edo. It should not be confused with the modern-day country called Benin, formerly called Dahomey. The Benin Empire was "one of the oldest and most highly developed states in the coastal hinterland of West Africa, dating perhaps to the eleventh century CE",. The Benin Empire was governed by a sovereign Emperor with hundreds of thousands of soldiers and a powerful council rich in resources, wealth, ancient science and technology with cities described as beautiful and large as Haarlem. "Olfert Dapper, a Dutch writer, describing Benin in his book Description of Africa (1668) ". Its craft was the most adored and treasured bronze casting in the history of Africa. It was annexed by the British Empire in 1897 during the invasion and scramble of Africa.

European contact and slavery

(File:Africa de l'Oèst en 1875-es.svg|thumb|right|260px|West Africa circa 1875)Portuguese traders began establishing settlements along the coast in 1445, followed by the French, British, Spanish, Danish and Dutch; the African slave trade began not long after, which over the following centuries would debilitate the region's economy and population.WEB,weblink Historical survey: Slave-owning societies, Encyclopædia Britannica,weblink" title="">weblink February 23, 2007, The slave trade also encouraged the formation of states such as the Asante Empire, Bambara Empire and Dahomey, whose economic activities include but not limited to exchanging slaves for European firearms.


{{Further|Colonisation of Africa}}(File:French West Africa 1913 map.png|thumb|left|French in West Africa circa 1913)In the early 19th century, a series of Fulani reformist jihads swept across Western Africa. The most notable include Usman dan Fodio's Fulani Empire, which replaced the Hausa city-states, Seku Amadu's Massina Empire, which defeated the Bambara, and El Hadj Umar Tall's Toucouleur Empire, which briefly conquered much of modern-day Mali.However, the French and British continued to advance in the Scramble for Africa, subjugating kingdom after kingdom. With the fall of Samory Ture's new-founded Wassoulou Empire in 1898 and the Ashanti queen Yaa Asantewaa in 1902, most West African military resistance to colonial rule resulted in failure. Leaving, however, an effect on the development of the states.Part of the West-African regions underwent an increase in the numeracy level throughout the 19th century. The reason for such a growth was predetermined by a number of factors. Namely, the peanut production and trade, which was boosted by the demand of the colonial states. Importantly, the rise of the numeracy was higher in the regions which were less hierarchical and had less dependent from the slavery trade (e.g. Sine and Salum). Whereas areas with the opposite trends illustrated opposite tendencies (e.g. central and northern Senegal). Those patterns were further even more stimulated with the French colonial campaign.JOURNAL, Baten, Jörg, European Trade, Colonialism and Human Capital Accumula- tion in Senegal, Gambia and Western Mali, 1770 – 1900, CESifo Working Papers, May 2017, Britain controlled the Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Nigeria throughout the colonial era, while France unified Senegal, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Ivory Coast and Niger into French West Africa. Portugal founded the colony of Guinea-Bissau, while Germany claimed Togoland, but was forced to divide it between France and Britain following First World War due to the Treaty of Versailles. Only Liberia retained its independence, at the price of major territorial concessions.

Postcolonial eras

{{Further|Decolonisation of Africa|Neocolonialism}}Following World War II, nationalist movements arose across West Africa. In 1957, Ghana, under Kwame Nkrumah, became the first sub-Saharan colony to achieve its independence, followed the next year by France's colonies (Guinea in 1958 under the leadership of President Ahmed Sekou Touré); by 1974, West Africa's nations were entirely autonomous.Since independence, many West African nations have been submerged under political instability, with notable civil wars in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Ivory Coast, and a succession of military coups in Ghana and Burkina Faso.Since the end of colonialism, the region has been the stage for some brutal conflicts, including:


The Economic Community of West African States, established in May 1975, has defined the region of West Africa since 1999 as including the following 15 states:File:Map of West AFrica.gif|thumb|right|350px|Geopolitical States of West Africa;{{Col-begin|width=100%}}{{Col-break}} {{Col-break}} {{Col-break}} Togo{{clear left}}Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Western Africa includes the preceding states with the addition of Mauritania (which withdrew from ECOWAS in 1999), comprising an area of approximately 6.1 million square km.WEB,weblink The UN office for West Africa, The UN region also includes the United Kingdom Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha in the south Atlantic Ocean.{{clear left}}


In the United Nations scheme of African regions, the region of Western Africa includes 16 states and the United Kingdom Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha:WEB,weblink United Nations Statistics Division – Standard Country and Area Codes Classifications, 17 October 2014, Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal and the Niger are mostly in the Sahel, a transition zone between the Sahara desert and the Sudanian Savanna; Benin, Ivory Coast, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Togo and Nigeria compose most of Guinea, the traditional name for the area near the Gulf of Guinea; Mauritania lies in the Maghreb, the northwestern region of Africa that has historically been inhabited by West African groups such as the Fulani, Soninke, Wolof, Serer and Toucouleur people,Polski Instytut Spraw Międzynarodowych, Studies on the Developing Countries, Issues 6–8, Polish Institute of International Affairs (1988), p. 53 along with Arab-Berber Maghrebi people; Cape Verde is an island country in the Atlantic Ocean; and Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha consists of eight main islands located in four different parts of the Atlantic. Due to Mauritania's increasingly close ties to the Arab World and its 1999 withdrawal from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in modern times it is often considered, especially in Africa, as now part of western North Africa.WEB,weblink Office for North Africa of the Economic Commission for Africa, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, 17 October 2014, WEB,weblink 2014 UNHCR country operations profile – Mauritania, 17 October 2014, WEB,weblink African Development Bank Group: Mauritania, 17 October 2014, Facts On File, Incorporated, Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and the Middle East (2009), p. 448, {{ISBN|143812676X}}: "The Islamic Republic of Mauritania, situated in western North Africa..."David Seddon, A Political and Economic Dictionary of the Middle East (2004), {{ISBN|020340291X}}: "We have, by contrast, chosen to include the predominantly Arabic-speaking countries of western North Africa (the Maghreb), including Mauritania (which is a member of the Arab Maghreb Union)..."Mohamed Branine, Managing Across Cultures: Concepts, Policies and Practices (2011), p. 437, {{ISBN|1849207291}}: "The Magrebian countries or the Arab countries of western North Africa (Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia)..."


Major cities in West Africa include:



File:Rhinoceros blanc- réserve de Bandia - panoramio.jpg|thumb|right|250px|A rhinoceros in Bandia Nature Reserve, (Senegal]]. Credit: Corine REZEL.)File:Yankari Elephants.jpg|thumb|right|250px|African bush elephants in Yankari National ParkYankari National ParkBefore European colonisation, West African countries such as those from the Senegambia region (Senegal and the Gambia) used to have a diverse wildlife including lions, hippopotamus, elephants, antelopes, leopards etc.Koslow, Philip, Senegambia: Land of the Lion, Chelsea House Publishers (1997), p. 11, 35–47, {{ISBN|9780791031353}} However, during colonisation, the European colonisers such as the French and British killed most of the wildlife particularly the lions–using their body parts as trophies. By the turn of the 20th-century, the Senegambia region lost most of its lion population and other exotic animals due to poaching. By the 1930s, the Gambian elephant population became extinct. That phenomenon was not only limited to the Senegambia region but affected much of West African as the region lost much of its "natural resources once tied so closely to its cultural identity. Poaching has stolen most of its wildlife." The British issued poaching licences, and although they would later try to reverse the damage that had been done by attempting to preserve what was left of the local wildlife, but by that time, it was too late.New York Times, Across Senegal, the Beloved Baobab Tree Is the ‘Pride of the Neighborhood’, by Dionne Searcey (Sept. 30, 2018) weblink (Retrieved 1 April 2019)Somerville, Keith, Ivory: Power and Poaching in Africa, Oxford University Press (2016), p. 84-85 {{ISBN|9781849046763}} weblink (Retrieved 1 April 2019) During the 1930s, the elephant population in the Gold Coast was about 300, and Sierra Leona between 500—600. Although a small number of elephants survived in Nigeria, hunting, agricultural expansion and clearing of forest in that country drastically affected its wildlife population, particularly elephants.Despite the historical damage that has been done to the region's wildlife populations, there are still some protected nature reserves within the region. Some of these include:
  1. The Bandia Nature Reserve in Senegal (French: Réserve de Bandia), animal life includes: giraffes, zebras, rhinos, a variety of antelopes, buffaloes, monkeys, crocodiles, tortoises. apes and a variety of exotic birds.Bandia Nature Reserve is sometimes called Bandia park reserve, Lonely Planet, Half-Day Somone Lagoon and Bandia Park Safari from Dakar, weblink (Retrieved 1 April 2019)
  2. The Yankari National Park in Nigeria, animal life includes: the African bush elephant, olive baboon, patas monkey, Tantalus monkey, roan antelope, western hartebeest, West African lion, African buffalo, waterbuck, bushbuck and hippopotamus.Lonely Plane, Yankari National Parkweblink (Retrieved 1 April 2019)
  3. The Ankasa Conservation Area in Ghana, animal life includes: the elephant, bongo, leopard, chimpanzee, Diana monkey, and other primates.JOURNAL, Tilahun, Mesfin, Damnyag, Lawrence, Anglaaere, Luke C.N., The Ankasa Forest Conservation Area of Ghana: Ecosystem service values and on-site REDD + opportunity cost, Forest Policy and Economics, 73, 168–176, 10.1016/j.forpol.2016.08.011, 2016,
West Africa is also home to several baobab trees and other plant life. Some baobab trees are several centuries old and form part of the local folklore for example a mythical baobab tree named Ngoye njuli in Senegal which is regarded as a sacred site by the Serer. The tree itself is rather majestic and looks like a huge phallus and a deformed animal or thing is protruding from it. It is said to be the dwelling place of a pangool. Ngoye njuli is protected by the Senegalese authorities and attracts visitors. In West Africa, as in other parts of Africa where the baobab tree is found, the leaves are mixed with couscous and eaten, the bark of the tree is used to make ropes, and the fruit and seeds used for drinks and oils.Martin, Victor; Becker, Charles; Lieux de culte et emplacements célèbres dans les pays sereer (Sénégal), 1 Publié dans le Bulletin de l’Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire, Tome 41, Série B, n° 1, janvier 1979, p. 133-189 weblink"Ngoye Njuuli" in The Seereer Resource CentreFile:Deforestation in Nigeria (3509228297).jpg|thumb|200px|Deforestation in NigeriaDeforestation in Nigeria


{{Further|Deforestation in Nigeria}}West Africa is greatly affected by deforestation, and has one of worst deforestation rate. Even "the beloved baobab tree" which is viewed as sacred by some West African cultures are under threat due to climate change, urbanization and population growth. "Huge swaths of forest are being razed to clear space for palm oil and cocoa plantations. Mangroves are being killed off by pollution. Even wispy acacias are hacked away for use in cooking fires to feed growing families." Nigeria, Liberia, Guinea, Ghana and the Ivory Coast, have lost large areas of their rainforest.Deforestation by Country & Region ("Country Forest Data [sorted by region]") [in] (Retrieved 2 April 2019)Rainforest Destruction [in] Archived by Wayback Machine — weblink" title="https:/-/">weblink (Retrieved 2 April 2019) In 2005, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations ranked Nigeria as the state with the worst deforestation rate in the entire world. Causes include logging, subsistence agriculture, and the collection of fuel wood.Mongabay News, Nigeria has worst deforestation rate, FAO revises figures (17 November 2005) by Rhett A. Butler, weblink (Retrieved 2 April 2019)According to a ThoughtCo publication authored Steve Nix (2018), almost 90 percent of West Africa's original rainforest has been destroyed, and the rest "heavily fragmented and in a degraded state, being poorly used."ThoughtCo, The Territory and Current Status of the African Rainforest by Steve Nix (November 04, 2018) weblink (Retrieved 2 April 2019)


Overfishing is a major issue in West Africa. Besides reducing fish stocks in the region, it also threatens food security and the livelihoods of many coastal communities who largely depend on artisanal fishing. The overfishing generally comes from foreign trawlers operating in the region.Overfishing destroying livelihoodsTo combat the overfishing, Greenpeace has recommended countries reduce the number of registered trawlers operating in African waters, increase the monitoring and control and set up regional fisheries organisations. Some steps have already been taken in the form of WARFP (the World Bank’s West Africa Regional Fisheries Program which empowers west-african countries (i.e. Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cape Verde and Senegal) with information, training and monitoring systems. Furthermore, Liberia enacted a fisheries regulations Act in 2010 and installed a satellite-based monitoring system and Senegal enacted a fisheries code in 2015. In Cape Verde, the fishermen communities of Palmiera and Santa Maria have organized themselves to protect fishing zones. Mozambique finally created a conservation area, including a coastline.Cape Verde: Greenpeace Raises Awareness on the State Of Fisheries in West AfricaOverfishing threatens food security off Africa’s western and central coast as many fish species in the region face extinction – IUCN report

Geography and climate

West Africa, broadly defined to include the western portion of the Maghreb (Western Sahara, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia), occupies an area in excess of 6,140,000 km2, or approximately one-fifth of Africa. The vast majority of this land is plains lying less than 300 meters above sea level, though isolated high points exist in numerous states along the southern shore of West Africa.{|style="background-color:darkgray; color:black; border:thin solid black;" height="230" align="center" valign="bottom" cellpadding=10px cellspacing=0px|West Africa Tropical Ecozonealign="center"|{|style="text-align:left;text-decoration:none;width:220px;" valign="middle" BeninBurkina FasoThe GambiaGhanaGuinea-BissauGuineaIvory CoastLiberiaMaliMauritaniaNigeriaNigerSenegalSierra LeoneTogo300px|none)300x430px|none)align="center" valign="top"StateThe biostateLocation in AfrotropicFile:West Africa may 8 2001 1200Z.jpg|thumb|right|upright=2.25|Satellite imagery from outer spaceouter spaceThe northern section of West Africa (narrowly defined to exclude the western Maghreb) is composed of semi-arid terrain known as Sahel, a transitional zone between the Sahara and the savannahs of the western Sudan. Forests form a belt between the savannas and the southern coast, ranging from 160 km to 240 km in width.Peter Speth. Impacts of Global Change on the Hydrological Cycle in West and Northwest Africa, p. 33. Springer, 2010. Prof. Kayode Omitoogun 2011, {{ISBN|3-642-12956-0}}The northwest African region of Mauritania periodically suffers country-wide plagues of locusts which consume water, salt and crops on which the human population relies.National Geographic, February 2013, p. 8.


West Africa is west of an imagined north–south axis lying close to 10° east longitude.Peter Speth. Impacts of Global Change on the Hydrological Cycle in West and Northwest Africa, p. 33. Springer, 2010. {{ISBN|3-642-12956-0}} The Atlantic Ocean forms the western as well as the southern borders of the West African region. The northern border is the Sahara Desert, with the Ranishanu Bend generally considered the northernmost part of the region.Anthony Ham. West Africa, p. 79. Lonely Planet, 2009. {{ISBN|1-74104-821-4}} The eastern border is less precise, with some placing it at the Benue Trough, and others on a line running from Mount Cameroon to Lake Chad.Colonial boundaries are reflected in the modern boundaries between contemporary West African states, cutting across ethnic and cultural lines, often dividing single ethnic groups between two or more states.Celestine Oyom Bassey, Oshita Oshita. Governance and Border Security in Africa, p. 261. African Books Collective, 2010. {{ISBN|978-8422-07-1}}In contrast to most of Central, Southern and Southeast Africa, West Africa is not populated by Bantu-speaking peoples.Ian Shaw, Robert Jameson. A Dictionary of Archaeology, p. 28. Wiley-Blackwell, 2002. {{ISBN|0-631-23583-3}}


Rail transport

A Trans-ECOWAS project, established in 2007, plans to upgrade railways in this zone. One of the goals of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is the development of an integrated railroad network. Aims include the extension of railways in member countries, the interconnection of previously isolated railways and the standardisation of gauge, brakes, couplings, and other parameters. The first line would connect the cities and ports of Lagos, Cotonou, Lomé and Accra and would allow the largest container ships to focus on a smaller number of large ports, while efficiently serving a larger hinterland. This line connects {{RailGauge|3ft6in|lk=on}} gauge and {{RailGauge|1000mm|allk=on}} systems, which would require four rail dual gauge, which can also provide standard gauge."Proposed Ecowas railway" {{webarchive|url= |date=2009-10-24 }}.

Road transport

(File:Dakar-Lagos Highway Map.PNG|450px|right)The Trans–West African Coastal Highway is a transnational highway project to link 12 West African coastal states, from Mauritania in the north-west of the region to Nigeria in the east, with feeder roads already existing to two landlocked countries, Mali and Burkina Faso.Itai Madamombe (2006): "NEPAD promotes better transport networks", Africa Renewal, Vol. 20, No. 3 (October 2006), p. 14.The eastern end of the highway terminates at Lagos, Nigeria. Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) consider its western end to be Nouakchott, Mauritania, or to be Dakar, Senegal, giving rise to these alternative names for the road:
  • Nouakchott–Lagos Highway
  • Lagos–Nouakchott Highway
  • Dakar–Lagos Highway
  • Lagos–Dakar Highway
  • Trans-African Highway 7 in the Trans-African Highway network

Air transport

The capital's airports include: Of the sixteen, the most important hub and entry point to West Africa is Kotoka International Airport, and Murtala Muhammed International Airport, offering many international connections.


Mental health problems are on the rise in West Africa, as they are in many other world regions. However, the subject is largely a taboo, and professional treatment is still rare.WEB, Abi, Samir, Metaphysical explanations,weblink D+C, Development and Cooperation,


Despite the wide variety of cultures in West Africa, from Nigeria through to Senegal, there are general similarities in dress, cuisine, music and culture that are not shared extensively with groups outside the geographic region. This long history of cultural exchange predates the colonization era of the region and can be approximately placed at the time of the Ghana Empire (proper: Wagadou Empire), Mali Empire or perhaps before these empires.


Traditional architecture

{{See|Architecture of Africa#West Africa}}File:Airport in Timbuktu.jpg|thumb|right|A street and airport in the famous town of Timbuktu, MaliMaliThe main traditional styles of building (in conjunction with modern styles) are the distinct Sudano-Sahelian style in inland areas, and the coastal forest styles more reminiscent of other sub-Saharan areas. They differ greatly in construction due to the demands made by the variety of climates in the area, from tropical humid forests to arid grasslands and desert. Despite the architectural differences, buildings perform similar functions, including the compound structure central to West African family life or strict distinction between the private and public worlds needed to maintain taboos or social etiquette.


{{See|Folk costume#Western Africa}}File:Philip Emeagwali in white "agbada.".jpg|thumb|left|A man in the Boubou (or Agbada), a traditional robe symbolic of West Africa]]In contrast to other parts of the continent south of the Sahara Desert, the concepts of hemming and embroidering clothing have been traditionally common to West Africa for centuries, demonstrated by the production of various breeches, shirts, tunics and jackets. As a result, the peoples of the region's diverse nations wear a wide variety of clothing with underlying similarities. Typical pieces of west African formal attire include the knee-to-ankle-length, flowing Boubou robe, Dashiki, and Senegalese Kaftan (also known as Agbada and Babariga), which has its origins in the clothing of nobility of various West African empires in the 12th century. Traditional half-sleeved, hip-long, woven smocks or tunics (known as fugu in Gurunsi, riga in Hausa) – worn over a pair of baggy trousers—is another popular garment.Barbara K. Nordquist, Susan B. Aradeon, Howard University. School of Human Ecology, Museum of African Art (U.S.). Traditional African dress and textiles: an exhibition of the Susan B. Aradeon collection of West African dress at the Museum of African Art (1975), pp. 9–15. In the coastal regions stretching from southern Ivory Coast to Benin, a huge rectangular cloth is wrapped under one arm, draped over a shoulder, and held in one of the wearer's hands—coincidentally, reminiscent of Romans' togas. The best-known of these toga-like garments is the Kente (made by the Akan people of Ghana and Ivory Coast), who wear them as a gesture of national pride.


{{See|History of West Africa#Cuisine|African cuisine#West Africa|List of African cuisines#West African cuisine}}File:Jollof rice.jpg|thumb|right|Jollof riceJollof riceScores of foreign visitors to West African nations (e.g., traders, historians, emigrants, colonists, missionaries) have benefited from its citizens' generosity, and even left with a piece of its cultural heritage, via its foods. West African cuisines have had a significant influence on those of Western civilization for centuries; several dishes of West African origin are currently enjoyed in the Caribbean (e.g., the West Indies and Haiti); Australia; the USA (particularly Louisiana, Virginia, North and South Carolina); Italy; and other countries. Although some of these recipes have been altered to suit the sensibilities of their adopters, they retain a distinct West African essence.Chidi Asika-Enahoro. A Slice of Africa: Exotic West African Cuisines, Introduction. iUniverse, 2004. {{ISBN|0-595-30528-8}}.West Africans cuisines include fish (especially among the coastal areas), meat, vegetables, and fruits—most of which are grown by the nations' local farmers. In spite of the obvious differences among the various local cuisines in this multinational region, the foods display more similarities than differences. The small difference may be in the ingredients used. Most foods are cooked via boiling or frying. Commonly featured, starchy vegetables include yams, plantains, cassava, and sweet potatoes.Pamela Goyan Kittler, Kathryn Sucher. Food and Culture, p. 212. Cengage Learning, 2007. {{ISBN|0-495-11541-X}}. Rice is also a staple food, as is the Serer people's sorghum couscous (called {{-"}}Chereh{{-"}} in Serer) particularly in Senegal and the Gambia.UNESCO. The Case for indigenous West African food culture, p. 4. BREDA series, Vol. 9 (1995), (UNESCO). Jollof rice—originally from the Kingdom of Jolof (now part of modern-day Senegal) but having spread to the Wolofs of Gambia—is also enjoyed in many Western nations, as well;Alan Davidson, Tom Jaine. The Oxford Companion to Food, p. 423. Oxford University Press, 2006. {{ISBN|0-19-280681-5}}. Mafé (proper: {{-"}}Tigh-dege-na{{-"}} or Domodah) from Mali (via the Bambara and Mandinka)Mafé or Maafe is a Wolof word for it, the proper name is "Domodah" among the Mandinka people of Senegal and Gambia, who are the originators of this dish, or {{-"}}Tigh-dege-na{{-"}} among the Bambara people or Mandinka people of Mali. "Domodah" is also used by all Senegambians borrowed from the Mandinka language.—a peanut-butter stew served with rice;James McCann. Stirring the Pot: A History of African Cuisine, p. 132. Ohio University Press, 2009. {{ISBN|0-89680-272-8}}.Emma Gregg, Richard Trillo. Rough Guide to the Gambia, p. 39. Rough Guides, 2003. {{ISBN|1-84353-083-X}}. Akara (fried bean balls seasoned with spices served with sauce and bread) from Nigeria is a favourite breakfast for Gambians and Senegalese, as well as a favourite side snack or side dish in Brazil and the Caribbean just as it is in West Africa. It is said that its exact origin may be from Yorubaland in Nigeria.Carole Boyce Davies. Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora: Origins, Experiences and Culture, Volume 1, p. 72. ABC-CLIO, 2008. {{ISBN|1-85109-700-7}}.Toyin Ayeni. I Am a Nigerian, Not a Terrorist, p. 2. Dog Ear Publishing, 2010. {{ISBN|1-60844-735-9}}. Fufu (from the Twi language, a dough served with a spicy stew or sauce for example okra stew etc.) from Ghana is enjoyed throughout the region and beyond even in Central Africa with their own versions of it.Dayle Hayes, Rachel Laudan. Food and Nutrition. Dayle Hayes, Rachel Laudan, editorial advisers. Volume 7, p. 1097. Marshall Cavendish, 2008. {{ISBN|0-7614-7827-2}}. Dishes such as taguella, eghajira, etc. are popular among the Tuareg people.

Recreation and sports

{{See also|West Africa cricket team}}File:Supportairemimos.jpg|right|Supporters of thumbThe board game oware is quite popular in many parts of SouthernAfrica. The word "Oware" originates from the Akan people of Ghana. However, virtually all African peoples have a version of this board game.West Africa, issues 4106–4119, pp. 1487–8. Afrimedia International, (1996) The major multi-sport event of West Africa is the ECOWAS Games which commenced at the 2012 ECOWAS Games. Football is also a pastime enjoyed by many, either spectating or playing. The major national teams of West Africa, the Ghana national football team, the Ivory Coast national football team, and the Nigeria national football team regularly win the Africa Cup of Nations."Why does the West dominate African football?" BBC. Major football teams of West Africa are Asante Kotoko SC and Accra Hearts of Oak SC of the Ghana Premier League, Enyimba International of the Nigerian Premier League and ASEC Mimosas of the Ligue 1 (Ivory Coast). The football governing body of West Africa is the West African Football Union (WAFU) and the major tournament is the West African Club Championship and WAFU Nations Cup, along with the annual individual award of West African Footballer of the Year.NEWS,weblink Wafu Cup to make a comeback, 29 September 2008, BBC Sport, 15 July 2015, WEB,weblink Caf have split the West African Football Union into two separate zones,,, 17 May 2011, 15 July 2014,


{{See|Music of Africa#West, Central, Southeast and South Africa|Sub-Saharan African music traditions#West Africa}}File:TalkingDrum.jpg|thumb|left|The talking drumtalking drumMbalax, Highlife, Fuji, Afrobeat, and Afrobeats are modern musical genres of West Africa and its diaspora.Traditional folk music is also well-preserved. Some types of folk music are religious in nature such as the "Tassou" tradition used in Serer religion.Ali Colleen Neff, Tassou: the Ancient Spoken Word of African Women. 2010.

Griot artists

File:Bijoutier et joueurs de kora.jpg|thumb|Kora-playing griots in Senegal, 1900. Both the Kora, a 21-stringed harp-lute, and the griot musical-caste are unique to West Africa.]] Griot artists and praise-singing is an important musical tradition related to the oral history of West African culture. Traditionally, musical and oral history as conveyed over generations by griots are typical of West African culture in Mande, Wolof, Songhay, Serer and, to some extent, Fula areas in the far west. A hereditary caste occupying the fringes of society, the griots were charged with memorizing the histories of local rulers and personages and the caste was further broken down into music-playing griots (similar to bards) and non-music playing griots. Like Praise-singers, the griot's main profession was musical acquisition and prowess, and patrons were the sole means of financial support. Modern griots enjoy higher status in the patronage of rich individuals in places such as Mali, Senegal, Mauritania and Guinea, and to some extent make up the vast majority of musicians in these countries. Examples of modern popular griot artists include Salif Keita, Youssou N'Dour, Mamadou Diabate, Rokia Traore and Toumani Diabate.In other areas of West Africa, primarily among the Hausa, Mossi, Dagomba and Yoruba in the area encompassing Burkina Faso, northern Ghana, Nigeria and Niger, the traditional profession of non-hereditary praise-singers, minstrels, bards and poets play a vital role in extending the public show of power, lineage and prestige of traditional rulers through their exclusive patronage. Like the griot tradition, praise singers are charged with knowing the details of specific historic events and royal lineages, but more importantly need to be capable of poetic improvisation and creativity, with knowledge of traditional songs directed towards showing a patron's financial and political or religious power. Competition between Praise-singing ensembles and artistes are high, and artists responsible for any extraordinarily skilled prose, musical compositions and panegyric songs are lavishly rewarded with money, clothing, provisions and other luxuries by patrons who are usually politicians, rulers, Islamic clerics and merchants; these successful praise-singers rise to national stardom. Examples include Mamman Shata, Souley Konko, Fati Niger, Saadou Bori and Dan Maraya. In the case of Niger, numerous praise songs are composed and shown on television in praise of local rulers, Islamic clerics and politicians.


{{See|History of theatre#West African theatre}}

Film industry

{{See|Cinema of Africa#West Africa}}Nollywood of Nigeria, is the main film industry of West Africa. The Nigerian cinema industry is the second largest film industry in terms of number of annual film productions, ahead of the American film industry in Hollywood.WEB, 30 September 2009,weblink Nigeria surpasses Hollywood as world's second largest film producer – UN, United Nations, 5 May 2009, Senegal and Ghana also have long traditions of producing films. The late Ousmane Sembène, the Senegalese film director, producer and writer is from the region, as is the Ghanaian Shirley Frimpong-Manso.



{{Further|Islam in Africa|Religion in Africa#Islam}}File:Djenné Moschee.jpg|thumb|right|upright=1.25|The 13th-century Great Mosque of Djenné is a superb example of the indigenous Sahelian architectural style prevalent in the Savannah and Sahelian interior of West Africa. It is listed an UNESCO World Heritage SiteUNESCO World Heritage SiteIslam is the predominant religion of the West African interior and the far west coast of the continent (70% of West Africans); and was introduced to the region by traders in the 9th century. Islam is the religion of the region's biggest ethnic groups by population. Islamic rules on livelihood, values, dress and practices had a profound effect on the populations and cultures in their predominant areas, so much so that the concept of tribalism is less observed by Islamized groups like the Mande, Wolof, Hausa, Fula and Songhai, than they are by non-Islamized groups.WEB,weblink The Islamic World to 1600: The Fractured Caliphate and the Regional Dynasties (West Africa), dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2013-10-25, Ethnic intermarriage and shared cultural icons are established through a superseded commonality of belief or community, known as ummah.Muslim Societies in African History (New Approaches to African History), David Robinson, Chapter 1. Traditional Muslim areas include Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Guinea, Niger; the upper coast and inland two-thirds of Sierra Leone and inland Liberia; the western, northern and far-eastern regions of Burkina Faso; and the northern halves of the coastal nations of Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Ivory Coast.Spread of Islam in West Africa (part 1 of 3): The Empire of Ghana, Prof. A. Rahman I. Doi, Spread of Islam in West Africa.weblink

African traditional

{{Further|Traditional African religion#West Africa|West African Vodun|Religion in Africa#African Traditional Religion}}File:Voodo-altar.jpg|thumb|left|upright=0.7|Voodoo altar with several fetishes in AbomeyAbomeyTraditional African religions (noting the many different belief systems) are the oldest belief systems among the populations of this region, and include Akan religion, Yoruba religion, Odinani, and Serer religion. They are spiritual but also linked to the historical and cultural heritage of the people.John S. Mbiti. Introduction to African Religion, p. 19. East African Publishers, 1992. {{ISBN|9966-46-928-1}} Although traditional beliefs vary from one place to the next, there are more similarities than differences.William J. Duiker, Jackson J. Spielvogel. World History: To 1800, p. 224. Cengage Learning, 2006. {{ISBN|0-495-05053-9}}


{{Further|Christianity in Africa|Religion in Africa#Christianity}}Christianity was largely introduced from the late 19th century onward, when missionaries from European countries brought the religion to the region.Robert O. Collins. African History: Western African History, p. 153. Markus Wiener Publishers, 1990. {{ISBN|1-55876-015-6}} West African Christians are predominantly Roman Catholic or Anglican; some Evangelical churches have also been established. Christianity has become the predominant religion in the central and southern part of Nigeria, and the coastal regions stretching from southern Ghana to coastal parts of Sierra Leone. Like Islam, elements of traditional African religion are mixed with Christianity.Emmanuel Kwaku Akyeampong. Themes in West Africa's History, p. 152. James Currey Publishers, 2006. {{ISBN|0-85255-995-X}}

Demographics and languages

{{see|Demographics of Africa|List of ethnic groups of Africa#West Africa|List of African countries by population|African diaspora|Writing systems of Africa#West Africa}}West Africans primarily speak Niger–Congo languages, belonging mostly, though not exclusively, to its non-Bantu branches, though some Nilo-Saharan and Afro-Asiatic speaking groups are also found in West Africa. The Niger–Congo-speaking Yoruba, Igbo, Fulani, Akan and Wolof ethnic groups are the largest and most influential. In the central Sahara, Mandinka or Mande groups are most significant. Chadic-speaking groups, including the Hausa, are found in more northerly parts of the region nearest to the Sahara, and Nilo-Saharan communities, such as the Songhai, Kanuri and Zarma, are found in the eastern parts of West Africa bordering Central Africa. The population of West Africa is estimated at {{#expr:{{replace|{{UN_Population|Western Africa}}|,||}}/1e6 round 0}} million{{UN_Population|ref}} people as of {{UN_Population|Year}}. In Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso, the nomadic Tuareg speak the Tuareg language, a Berber language.Colonial languages also play a pivotal cultural and political role, being adopted as the official languages of most countries in the region, as well as linguae franca in communication between the region's various ethnic groups. For historical reasons, Western European languages such as French, English and Portuguese predominate in Southern and Coastal subregions, whilst Arabic (in its Maghrebi varieties) spreads inland northwards.

Science and technology

{{See|History of science and technology in Africa#West Africa and the Sahel|History of science and technology in Africa#West Africa and the Sahel 2|History of science and technology in Africa#West Africa and the Sahel 3|History of science and technology in Africa#West Africa|History of science and technology in Africa#West Africa and the Sahel 4|History of science and technology in Africa#West Africa and the Sahel 5|History of science and technology in Africa#West Africa and the Sahel 6|History of science and technology in Africa#West Africa and the Sahel 7|History of science and technology in Africa#West Africa 2|History of science and technology in Africa#West Africa 3|History of science and technology in Africa#West Africa 4|History of science and technology in Africa#West Africa and the Sahel 8}}

Economic and regional organizations

File:Petroleum regions - West Africa map-fr.svg|thumb|upright=1.4|left|Map of petroleum and natural gasnatural gasThe Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), founded by the 1975 Treaty of Lagos, is an organization of West African states which aims to promote the region's economy. The West African Monetary Union (or UEMOA from its name in French, Union économique et monétaire ouest-africaine) is limited to the eight, mostly Francophone countries that employ the CFA franc as their common currency. The Liptako-Gourma Authority of Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso seeks to jointly develop the contiguous areas of the three countries.

Women's peace movement

Since the adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 in 2000, women have been engaged in rebuilding war-torn Africa. Starting with the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace and Women in Peacebuilding Network (WIPNET), the peace movement has grown to include women across West Africa.Established on May 8, 2006, Women Peace and Security Network – Africa (WIPSEN-Africa), is a women-focused, women-led Pan-African non-governmental organization based in Ghana.WEB,weblink WIPSEN, 17 October 2014, The organization focuses on empowering women to have a role in political and peace governance in Africa. WEB,weblink About Us,, 2019-10-21, It has a presence in Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Regional leaders of nonviolent resistance include Leymah Gbowee,NEWS, WIPSEN EMPOWERS WOMEN…To fight for their rights,weblink 11 December 2010, Ghana Media Group, article, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 17 September 2011, Comfort Freeman, and Aya Virginie Toure.Pray the Devil Back to Hell is a documentary film about the origin of this peace movement. The film has been used as an advocacy tool in post-conflict zones like Sudan and Zimbabwe, mobilizing African women to petition for peace and security.November 2009 MEDIAGLOBAL {{webarchive|url= |date=2010-07-10 }}


Cityscapes of the largest cities

{{multiple image| image1= Lagos_Island.jpg| alt1= | width1= 425| image2= Lagos_1_galleryfull.jpg| alt2=| width2= 360| image3= | alt3=| width3= 320| footer= Bird's-eye view of the West Africa City of Lagos, Lagos State, Nigeria| footer_background=#BBDD99| background color=#BBDD99| footer_align=center}}{{multiple image| image1= Abuja, Federal Capital Territory 3.jpg| alt1= | width1= 368| image2= Abuja, Federal Capital Territory 2.jpg| alt2=| width2= 368| image3= Abuja, Federal Capital Territory.jpg| alt3=| width3= 368Bird's-eye view of the West Africa City of Abuja, Federal Capital Territory (Nigeria)>Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria| footer_background=#BBDD99| background color=#BBDD99| footer_align=center}}{{multiple image| image1= City Of Accra.jpg| alt1=| width1= 335| image2= City of Accra.jpg | alt2= | width2= 437| image3= Modern Accra Buildings.jpg| alt3=| width3=335Bird's-eye view of the West Africa City of Accra, Greater Accra Region>Greater Accra, Ghana| footer_background=#BBDD99| background color=#BBDD99| footer_align=center}}{{multiple image| image1= AbidjanSib.JPG| alt1=| image2= Abidjan-Plateau1.JPG| alt2=| image3= Abidjanpyramid.JPG| alt3=Bird's-eye view of the West Africa City of Abidjan, Lagunes Region>Lagunes, Ivory Coast| footer_background=#BBDD99| background color=#BBDD99| footer_align=center| width=369}}{{multiple image| image1= Aerial View of Kumasi in 2003.jpg| alt1= | width1= 352| image2= Ghana Commercial Bank in Kumasi.jpg| alt2=| width2= 352| image3= Gravity Road, Kumasi.jpg| alt3=| width3= 398Bird's-eye view of the West Africa City of Kumasi, Ashanti Region>Ashanti, Ghana| footer_background=#BBDD99| background color=#BBDD99| footer_align=center}}{{multiple image| image1=| alt1= | width1= 342| image2= PortHacourt1.jpg| alt2=| width2= 295| image3= Pitakwa.jpg| alt3=| width3= 465| footer= Bird's-eye view of the West Africa City of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria| footer_background=#BBDD99| background color=#BBDD99| footer_align=center}}{{clear}}

Capital cities of West Africa

File:Praia coast Cape Verde.jpg|Praia, Cape VerdeFile:Dakar - Panorama_urbain.jpg|Dakar, SenegalFile:Imagelomé20.jpg|Lomé, TogoFile:Grande mosquee porto-novo.jpg|Porto-Novo, BeninFile:Street scene niamey 2006 002.jpg|Niamey, NigerFile:Kwamenkrumah av2.JPG|Ouagadougou, Burkina FasoFile:Fort Thornton - Freetown - Sierra Leone.jpg|Freetown, Sierra LeoneFile:Banjul great mosque.jpg|Banjul, GambiaFile:Conakry street (3329204314).jpg|Conakry, GuineaFile:Praça Che Guevara, Bissau.jpg|Bissau, Guinea-BissauFile:Monrovia Street.jpg|Monrovia, LiberiaFile:Place des explorateurs, Koulouba - Bamako.jpg|Bamako, MaliFile:Georgetown Ascension1.JPG|Georgetown, Ascension IslandFile:Tristan W coast 47 (3449569461).jpg|Tristan da Cunha, Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

See also

{{Div col end}}



Further reading

  • Akyeampong, Emmanuel Kwaku. Themes in West Africa's History (2006).
  • Brydon, Lynne. "Constructing Avatime: questions of history and identity in a West African polity, c. 1690s to the twentieth century." Journal of African History 49.1 (2008): 23-42. online
  • Collins, Robert O. African History: Western African History (1990).
  • Davidson, Basil. A History of West Africa, 1000–1800 (1978), numerous editions
  • Edgerton, Robert B. The Fall of the Asante Empire: The Hundred-Year War For Africa'S Gold Coast (2002).
  • Festus, Jacob et al. eds. History of West Africa (Vol. 1, 1989)
  • Ham, Anthony. West Africa (2009).
  • Hopkins, Antony Gerald. An economic history of West Africa (2014).
  • Kane, Ousmane Oumar, Beyond Timbuktu: An Intellectual History of Muslim West Africa (2016).
  • Law, Robin. "Human sacrifice in pre-colonial West Africa." African Affairs 84.334 (1985): 53-87. online
  • Mendonsa, Eugene L. West Africa: An Introduction to Its History (2002)
  • O'Brien, Donal Cruise, Richard Rathbone, John Dunn, eds. Contemporary West African States (2002) online free to borrow

External links

{{commons category multi|Western Africa|West Africa}}{{wikivoyage|West Africa}} {{ECOWAS}}{{Regions of Africa}}{{coord|12|N|3|E|source:wikidata|display=title}}{{authority control}}

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