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Modern West African Cities

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West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of Africa. The United Nations defines Western Africa as the 16 countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo as well as Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha. The population of West Africa is estimated at about 381 million people as of 2018, and at 381,981,000 as of 2017, of which 189,672,000 are female and 192,309,000 male. The region is demographically and economically one of the fastest-growing on the African continent.

Early history in West Africa included a number of prominent regional powers, that dominated different parts of both the coast and internal trade networks, such as the Mali and Gao Empires. West Africa sat the intersection of trade routes between Arab-dominated North Africa and specialized goods from further south on the continent, including gold, advanced iron-working, and products like ivory. After European exploration encountered a rich local economies and kingdoms, the European slave trade exploited previous slave systems to provide labor for colonies in the Americas. After the end of the slave trade in the early 19th century, Europeans, especially France and Britain, continued to exploit the region through colonial relationships—exporting a number of extractive goods, including labor-intensive agricultural crops like cocoa and coffee, forestry products like tropical timber, and minerals like gold. Since independence, many of the West African countries, like Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal, play important roles in the regional and global economies.

West Africa has a rich ecology, with strong biodiversity and several distinct regions. The climate and ecology are heavily influenced by the dry Sahara to the North and East, which provides dry winds during the Harmattan, and the west and humid climate to the south and of the Atlantic which provides seasonal monsoons. This mix of ecologies, mean that there is both biodiversity-rich tropical forest and drylands that support a number of rare or endangered fauna, such as pangolin, rhinoceros, and elephant. Because of the pressure for economic development, many of these ecologies are threatened by processes like deforestation, biodiversity loss, overfishing, pollution from mining, plastic, and other economic processes, and the extreme changes that will result from climate change in West Africa.

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-Africa, and extra-Africa 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 Great Britain and France controlled nearly the entire region; and fifth, the post-independence era, in which the current nations were formed. Wikipedia

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An image of a Modern West African City

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Modern West African Cities – Bing images

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