Western

West Africa

 

West Africa, also called Western Africa and the West of Africa, is the westernmost region of Africa. West Africa has been defined as including 17 countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, the island nation of Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, the islands of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. The population of West Africa is estimated at about 362 million

Demography

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 362 million people as of 2016. 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 spreads inland northwards.

West Africa Countries

Benin

Burkina Faso

Cape Verde

Ivory Coast

Gambia

Ghana

Guinea

Guinea-Bissau

Liberia

Mali

Mauritania

Niger

Nigeria

Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

Senegal

Sierra Leone

Togo