General Information


West Africa lies 10° east longitude south of the Sahara desertand is bounded to the south by the Atlantic Ocean

West Africa is made up of the following countries:

MaliBurkina FasoSenegal and Niger mostly in the Sahel, a transition zone between the Sahara desert and the Sudanian Savanna.
BeninCote d’IvoireGambiaGhanaGuineaGuinea-BissauLiberiaSierra LeoneTogo, and Nigeria comprise Guinea, the traditional name for the area near the Gulf of Guinea
Cape Verde is an island country in the Atlantic Ocean, and Saint Helena is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom.
Mauritania lies in the Maghreb, the northwestern region of Africa that has historically been inhabited by both traditionally West African groups such as the Fulani, Soninke and Wolof, along with Arab-Berber Maghrebi people.

The countries of West Africa make up the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Mauritania withdrew from ECOWAS in 1999.

West Africa 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 countries along the southern shore of the region.