West Africa is made up of the Sahel region (semi-arid savannas) and tropical forests and grasslands. The region is rich in natural resources such as cocoa, diamonds, iron ore, gold, uranium, coffee, rice, cotton, fish and petroleum.
Boasting well over 135 million people, Nigeria has the largest population in West Africa and the entire continent. In terms of world population, Nigeria ranks as the eighth most populous country in the world.
Between 1650 and 1900, it is estimated that more than 55 percent of the 10 million enslaved Africans taken to the Americas, Europe and the Caribbean were from West Africa.
Many of Africa's largest and most populous ethnic groups are found in West Africa. In Nigeria alone, the Yoruba population contains well over 30 million people, which is more than five million people over the population of Texas. More than 54 percent of the population of West Africa identifies as Muslims.
The West African nation of Ghana is the second largest producer of cocoa in the world. West Africa is also home to Lake Volta, the world's largest artificial lake.