Western Africa


January 26, 2022

West Africa is a region of West Africa. It includes the countries on the eastern coast of the Atlantic Ocean and some that share the western portion of the Sahara Desert. Countries that are normally considered part of West Africa are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.The island countries in this region and some in the Gulf of Guinea , normally considered part of Central Africa, are for some purposes included in this sub-region: Cameroon, Chad, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and São Tomé and Príncipe. Former colonial borders formed the basis of current borders between these countries, often dividing cultures and ethnicities between various countries, as well as grouping different cultures and ethnicities into one same country. The sub-region that establishes the transition between the Sahara desert and the equatorial region is called the Sahel.

Regional Organizations

15 countries in this region are united in a regional integration organization, the Economic Community of West African States (or ECOWAS, from its English name, Economic Community of West African States). On the other hand, seven of these countries join the Economic and Monetary Union of West African States, with the acronym UEMOA, and share the same currency, the CFA franc.

Inaccuracies in the use of the term

Despite being located in Central Africa, Angola, at the time of Portuguese colonization, was known as Portuguese West Africa, as opposed to Mozambique (Portuguese East Africa).


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