Colonial boundaries are reflected in the modern boundaries between contemporary West African nations, cutting across ethnic and cultural lines, often dividing single ethnic groups between two or more countries.
Africa occupies an area in excess of 6,140,000 km², or approximately
The northern section of West Africa is composed of semi-arid terrain known as Sahel, a transitional zone between the Sahara desert and the savannahs of the western Sudan forests form a third belt between the savannas and the southern coast, ranging from 160 km to 240 km in width.
The history of West Africa can be divided into five major periods: first, its prehistory, in which the first human settlers arrived, developed agriculture, and made contact with peoples to the north; the second, the Iron Age empires that consolidated both intra-African, and extra-African trade, and developed centralized states; third, Major polities flourished, which would undergo an extensive history of contact with non-Africans; fourth, the colonial period, in which France and Great Britain controlled nearly the whole of the region; fifth, the post-independence era, in which the current nations were formed.
Slavery and European contact
early nineteenth century, the French and British continued to advance in the Scramble
controlled The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Nigeria throughout the colonial
era, while France unified Senegal, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Côte
d'Ivoire and Niger into French West Africa.
recently, most governments in
Nigerian Civil War
First Liberian Civil War
Second Liberian Civil War
Ivorian Civil War
Though a few countries like Ghana and Senegal have enjoyed relative stability and have even seen some growth, all progress in the region is contingent on the efficacy and justness of governance and the fair allocation of resources which, for the moment, both leave much to be desired.
Community of West African States (ECOWAS), founded by the 1975 Treaty of Lagos,
is an organization of West African states which aims to promote the region's
economy. The West African Monetary
thesis it’s examining the emerging role of a sub-regional organization dealing
with peacemaking missions on the
post-Cold-War period in
Benin, which produces a small amount of crude oil from its offshore Seme field, hopes to expand offshore and onshore exploration. Neighboring
GAS In 1997,
Electric generating capacity in Africa in 1997 was concentrated in two regions — North and
In efforts to improve on the nation’s electricity generating capacity, the Federal Government of Nigeria on 19 May 2005 approved about Naira10 billion for the building of five power stations across the country.
The new power stations, which are to be completed in the next two to three years, are expected to add over 1400 megawatts of new capacity into the National Grid.
Industrialization and urbanization
Urbanization has fuelled industrialization. Energy supply, transportation facilities, public infrastructure, and proximity to political power (because of security and influence considerations) are important location factors for the siting of industries in the big cities. Metallurgical and chemical industries exist on a very limited scale, if at all. The same applies to electronics industries. There is, however, a certain growth of small-scale industries in rural areas and in smaller regional centres.
resource-based industries such as mining, quarrying, and agricultural
enterprises are generally not closely linked to urban centres. The
socio-political influence of the transnational corporations has declined in
control and other regulatory measures, including recycling and cleaner forms of
production, are in a very initial phase. In most African countries
environmental control mechanisms exist only 'on paper.' For instance,
demographic growth, African development is strongly influenced by the situation
of the political economy and the access of countries to resources. Critics of a
one-sided climatic explanation of hazards and disasters often quote the
In this respect the impact of technology may vary. Irrigation, for instance, may reduce biophysical vulnerability. On the other hand, irrigation practices may lead to salinization and waterlogging. The heated controversy over the consequences of the 'Green Revolution,' with its technology packages (improved water supply, seed selection, chemical fertilizers, etc.), for resulting development is typical of this debate.
1. an investment in growth and development that failed to earn the expected rewards;
2. the international debt crisis, oil price hikes, and rising interest rates, plus the inadequacy of the aid programmes that were meant to provide relief;
3. repeated drought, crop failure, and widespread famine;
4. the failure of agricultural production to contribute significantly to growth and the increased dependence on imported food.
Despite the wide variety of cultures in
West Africa, from
The game Oware is quite popular in many
A typical formal attire worn in this region is the flowing Boubou (also known as Agbada and Babariga), which has its origins in the clothing of nobility of various West African empires in the 12th century.
The Djembe drum, whose origins lie with the Mandinka peoples, is now a popularly played drum among many West African ethnic groups. The Djembe, along with the highly intricate woven Kente cloth of the Akan peoples of Ghana and the distinct Sudano-Sahelian architectural style seen in the many mosques of the region (see Djenné), are the primary symbolic icons of West African culture.
Family is an important aspect as well.
Family denotes a group of people affiliated by consanguinity, affinity, and co-residence. Although the concept of consanguinity originally referred to relations by 'blood,' many anthropologists have argued that one must understand the notion of 'blood' metaphorically, and that many societies understand 'family' through other concepts rather than through genetic distance.
According to many sociologists and anthropologists, the primary function of the family is to reproduce society, either biologically, socially, or both. Thus, one's experience of one's family shifts over time. From the perspective of children, the family is a family of orientation: the family serves to locate children socially, and plays a major role in their enculturation and socialization. From the point of view of the parent(s), the family is a family of procreation the goal of which is to produce and enculturate and socialize children. However, producing children is not the only function of the family; in societies with a sexual division of labor, marriage, and the resulting relationship between two people, is necessary for the formation of an economically productive household.
ouestaf.com – Online source for news and current affairs in west Africa.
The European Union is a unique entity possessing intergovernmental and supranational elements. It possesses elements of a multi-party parliamentary democracy, however issues such as foreign affairs are currently conducted primarily between member states.
As per the Maastricht Treaty of 1991, the Union's political scene is divided into three pillars; the European Community, which is the Supranational element, and two primarily intergovernmental elements; the Common Foreign and Security Policy and Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters. Although it should be noted that the latter two have supranational elements, although not as strong as in the Community.
The powers afforded to
the Union fall within one of these pillars. More sensitive areas are pooled
into the primarily intergovernmental pillars. The
Some member states are
outside certain areas of the European Union, for example the Economic and
Monetary Union is composed of only 15 of the 27 members and the Schengen
Agreement currently includes only 21 of the EU members. However the majority of
these are in the process of joining these blocs. A number of countries outside
The primary institutions of the European Union are the European Commission, the European Council, the Council of the European Union (Council) and the European Parliament. The first two are a form of executive branch;
exercises control over agencies, proposes and drafts legislation and ensures
application of the law. It is composed of one Commissioner per member-state,
although are supposed to remain above national politics, and one of their
number leads the body as the President. Each Commissioner is given a portfolio
with a related Directorate-General (DG). In simplified terms, one could compare
the roles of the President, Commissioners and DGs as the
The European Council
has no official powers in the treaties, however it is composed of the heads of
state and government of the Union's member states and therefore hold the
considerable power not delegated to the
The Council and
Parliament form the legislative branch of the
Laws made by the
In passing laws, institutions use numerous legislative procedures; depending upon which is used, the balance of power between the Council and Parliament is altered. The most common is the Codecision procedure which gives equal position to both institutions.
Elections are held in
Political parties in the member states organise themselves with like-minded parties in other states into political parties at European level. Most parties are a member of one of these, there are currently 11 recognised parties which receive state funding. They do not operate like the largely unitary national parties and few develop comprehensive manifestos.
The parties are present in all institutions but have most impact in the European Parliament. Most organise themselves with other parties, non attached national parties or independents to form a political group. No party has ever held a majority in the Parliament, this does not have a great affect as it does not form a government but there is usual a coalition between the two major parties to elect the President of the European Parliament. The latest European Parliament elections are now taken into account by leaders when appointing the President of the European Commission, hence in 2004 the Commission President came from the European People's Party, who were the largest party following the elections.
The Financial Perspective for 2007–2013
was defined in 2005 when EU members agreed to fix the common budget to 1.045%
of the European GDP.
establishing a Constitution for
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