West African Countries: An Overview3 min read

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Africa is distinctively divided into five regions namely; the Northern, Southern, Western, Eastern and Central Africa. West Africa forms the five major regions and also plays a huge role in ensuring that Africa remains that entity that must be reckoned with. West Africa has 18 countries that made up the region.
The eighteen nations that make up the West African Countries are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire or Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Saint Helena, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principe and Togo. It is estimated that approximately about 540,000,000 people are occupying this particular region of Africa.
West Africa Regional Map (Photo Credit: What-When-How.com)


An overview of some interesting facts about West Africa.
West Africa is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and the South, while the Northern region is capped by the Sahara Desert. There is however no distinct natural features that defines the eastern part of West Africa.

Lagos (Nigeria), Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Accra (Ghana), Abuja (Nigeria), Kumasi (Ghana) forms the biggest cities in this region. Lagos alone has a population of approximately six million people according to the (2015 Nigerian Census).

The three main types of religion in West Africa are Islam, Christianity and Traditional. Although not officially estimated, Islam is said to be the leading religion.
Most West African Countries have similar cultures unlike other regional bloc of Africa. There is similarity in the food, clothing, lifestyle and religious belief.

West Africa is blessed with fertile soil as majority of the region is covered by the tropical rainforest. Some of the major cash crops that are grown in this region include; Cocoa, cotton, coffee, cassava, rice and groundnuts.

Cocoa which is used in the production of chocolate and beverages is mostly grown in Ghana and Ivory Coast. Ivory Coast is the second largest cocoa producer in the world.

West Africa accounts for more than half of the entire population in Africa hence, houses a variety of different ethnic groups, tribes and culture. Because of this diversity, the clothing style of the West African people also varies but however shows some similarities. The garment known as the “Wrapper” is commonly worn by the women. The men wears a robe called the “Bouba” some call it “Boubou”.

The popular “Oware” game, a kind of board game is played in most of the West African countries. The game of “Oware” has a correlation with the Akan people inhabiting in Ivory Coast and Ghana. They are believed to have invented the game years back.

West Africa has some of the most populated countries in Africa. Nigeria is known to be the most populous country in Africa with an estimated population of about 200 Million people. Nigeria is one of the West Africa countries surrounded by neighboring countries like Benin Republic, Niger, Cameroon and Chad.
Do you know?
That the world’s largest artificial lake is situated in West Africa? Lake Volta, found in Ghana one of West Africa’s most nature endowed country has Lake Volta formed as a result of the dam construction and dredging of the Volta River.
Lake Victoria (Photo Credit: Ghana Tourism Board)

Check this out  History of West African Countries.