West Africa

West Africa is a land region covering the entire western part of sub-Saharan Africa. It roughly includes the coastal countries north of the Gulf of Guinea to the Senegal River, the countries covered by the Niger River basin as well as the countries of the Sahelian hinterland. The birthplace of successive empires in Ghana, Mali and Songhai, West Africa is a collection of countries with common influences and heritage. The joking kinship system that still links West African ethnic groups and social groups together today is a striking example. Imperial authority was exercised through the control of trans-Saharan trade, the production of gold and salt. Its decline began in the sixteenth century with the development of maritime trade. Fragmented and weakened after the battle of Tondibi, West Africa underwent European and American colonization at the end of the 19th century and during the first part of the 20th century. Certain foundations of West African civilization as well as imperial history gradually fell into oblivion, but the rediscovery of the Timbuktu manuscripts opened up considerable hope for their understanding.

West Africa is today a community of peoples, which tends to reconstitute itself politically, with in particular the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and a space of civilization forged by a millennial history. According to the IMF, the overall PPP GDP of the ECOWAS member states amounts to $ 564.86 billion, making it the 25th economic power in the World. West African states created ECOWAS with the initial goal of creating a West African economic and monetary union. However, in 1990, its power was extended to maintain regional stability with the creation of ECOMOG, a military intervention group which became permanent in 1999, which gave it important means of diplomatic pressure. However, major dysfunctions appear within the ECOWAS following difficult democratic transitions in Guinea (2009) and in Ivory Coast (2010). They are growing in the face of the emergence of various jihadist groups which today constitute the first security threat in the region. Thus, in 2012, armed groups took control of northern Mali which was forced to request military intervention from France in the face of the inaction of the ECOWAS and no joint military response was put in place against the jihadist insurgency in Nigeria led since 2009 by Boko Haram and Ansaru.

West Africa countries

  • Benin
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cape Verde
  • Ivory Coast
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Guinea Bissau
  • Liberia
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Togo