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West Africa


West Africa is west of an imagined north-south axis lying close to 10° east longitude. The Atlantic Ocean forms the western and southern borders of the region. The northern border is the Sahara Desert, with the Ranishanu Bend generally considered the northernmost part of the region. The eastern border is less precise, with some placing it at the Benue Trough, and others on a line running from Mount Cameroon to Lake Chad.

The northern section of West Africa is composed of semi-arid terrain known as Sahel, a transitional zone between the Sahara 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 [].

Before arrival of Europeans there were the big states in West Africa, such as Ghana, Mali and Songhai. Since XV century on the Guinean coast Portuguese, French and the English began to found the colonies, dealing by slaves, in particular with America [Западная_Африка].

The West Africa region includes 16 states which achieved the independence during the period from the end of 1950th up to the end of 1970th. Among this states 9 are the former French colonies: Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo, 4 – are the former English colonies: Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, 2 – are the former Portuguese colonies: Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde; Liberia is the state created by the black American migrants who proclaimed independence of Republic of Liberia in 1847.

The main dignity of the West Africa region is enormous natural resources. Here there are territories rich in minerals, namely: bauxites in Guinea, iron-stone in Mauritania, uranium in Niger, oil in Nigeria, diamonds in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Some of these countries are considerable suppliers to the world markets of different crops, for example: Benin, Burkina Faso and Mali supply cotton, Cote d'Ivoire and Togo – cacao and coffee, Cote d'Ivoire and Liberia – heveas for the rubber production; all of coastal West African countries are rich for fish and sea-food.

For foreign partners West African markets can be interesting because of their demand in the different groups of commodities. The distinctive feature of economies of the West Africa states is that they can not provide the demand for food, technical and chemical commodities. Therefore these countries are forced to import these commodities. Besides it, West African countries pay big attention for building of infrastructure objects of industrial, social, tourist and other complexes.