West African Perspectives

Resources for Development

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West African Perspectives: Resources for Development conducts a cross-cutting analysis of the main development challenges in the region and offers suggestions on how to meet them. It provides an overview of West Africa’s abundant resources , examining not only economic and natural resources but also human, social and cultural capital. Finally, it presents the perspectives of six prominent West Africans involved in the development of their region.

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Presentation of the Region

Sahel and West Africa Club

In this report, West Africa includes the entire ECOWAS zone (15 countries), to which Cameroon, Chad and Mauritania have been added, given their historic, demographic and cultural links. This area covers 7.9 million km², which is 1.8 times the size of the European Union or equivalent to 80% of the surface area of the United States or China.The average population density (40 inhabitants/km²) is low, even though 95% of the population lives in 50% of the region. From the edges of the Sahara desert to the forests of Guinea, the Sahel and the Sudanian zone, a succession of longitudinal bands have various common environmental characteristics, resulting in agro-ecological complementarities on which historical trade is based. The West African population has partly been structured around this geographical framework.

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