Is Golden Age of English Speaking West Africa Gone?

Three Part Series.

The English speaking countries in West Africa

  1. Liberia
  2. Ghana
  3. Nigeria
  4. Sierra Leone
  5. Gambia

Anglophone west African states form the minority of the states in the sub-region. Only 5 of the 16 states in the sub-region fall into this category. t is therefore not surprising that all the states under review are surrouded by French-speaking states. All the countries have at least one french country and the Atlantic Ocean at its boundary.

None of these countries are land-locked,they all have their capital along the coast. The diverse nature of these countries necessitates comments on each of them.


Liberia is borderd by Sierra Leone on the northwest,Guinea on the north
and Ivory Coast on the east (both francophones). Atlantic Ocean forms the
southern borders. With the Exception of Liberia (the oldest Independent State in Africa) which was founded by the United States for freed Slaves all the others are former British colonies.

Liberia got its independence in 1847,first in Africa. From that period until 1980,the country was ruled by a civilian government that based its constitution and
activities to that of the USA. Like most African countries, the country’s development have been stifled by ethno-political instability and wars.  Nigeria’s almost unilateral military intervention in the early nineties has seen the country enjoy the long periods of political stability since independence.


Sierra Leone lies between latitudes 6 55 and 10 N and longitudes 10 16
and 13 18 W.The country is border by Liberia on the east,Guinea (francophone)
on the north and west and Atlantic Ocean on the south and south-west. Though the country has many rivers that flows into the Atlantic Ocean
but their navigability are very limited but they can provide a good source for
hydro-electricity development. The country is amongst the least developed compared to the previous countries discussed.

Nigeria’s military intervention in the sierra Leone in the early nineties has seen the country enjoy the long periods of political stability since independence.


Gambia is one of the smallest country of the African continent and is almost surrounded by the republic of Senegal,but for a small area where the river Gambia empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The country extend 300 km along river Gambia and is less than 50 km wide on each side of the river. The country’s relatively calm political climate was rocked in December 2016 by an election crises in which the incumbent openly defied calls for him to respect the electoral mandate.

After months of diplomatic rangling aimed at convincing the incumbent Yahya Jammeh to hand over power failed, military response was the only solution left. Nigeria deployed her newest warship[p NNS UNITY to blockade the country and deployed fighter jets, reconnaissance aircraft’s and unmanned aerial vehicle, effectively putting Banjul under 24 hours surveillance. Senegalese ground forces, backed up by 200 Nigerian Air Force Special Forces Regiment massed at the Gambian border, ready to move in if necessary and take the capital.

NNS UNITY. In January 2017 Nigeria;s President Muhammaduy Buhari ordered the naval blocade of the Gambia and deployed air assets to Senegal to enforce an ECOWAS mandate in Gambia.
NNS UNITY. In January 2017 Nigeria;s President Muhammaduy Buhari ordered the naval blocade of the Gambia and deployed air assets to Senegal to enforce an ECOWAS mandate in Gambia.
NNS UNITY. In January 2017 Nigeria;s President Muhammaduy Buhari ordered the naval blocade of the Gambia and deployed air assets to Senegal to enforce an ECOWAS mandate in Gambia.
NNS UNITY. In January 2017 Nigeria;s President Muhammaduy Buhari ordered the naval blocade of the Gambia and deployed air assets to Senegal to enforce an ECOWAS mandate in Gambia.

It worked. The prospect of military confrontation with the Senegalese, Ghanaian and Nigerian military was all it took for Yahya Jammeh to respect the electoral mandate and hand over power to Adama, the winner of the presidential election.


Ghana lies between latitudes 4 44 N and 11 11 N and longitudes 3 15 W
and 1 12 E and is surrounded in its entirety by Francophone countries.Togo in the east,Burkina Fasso in the north and Ivory Coast in the west(all francophone countries). The Atlantic Ocean forms the southern border.The countrys drainage is dominated by the Volta system that incluc’es the Volta lake,one of the largest man-made lakes in the world.

Ghana has the second largest economy is West Africa and is generally regarded as one of the most stable politically countries in Africa with relatively decent infrastructure and a thriving music and film industry leveraged on Nigeria’s entertainment industry.




Nigeria is like an anomaly in the region. In a region of tiny countries Nigeria stands out, having more population than the rest of the region combined. Nigeria lies between latitudes 4 and 13 5 N and longitudes 3 and 15 E.The country is bordered by the Republic of Benin on the west, Niger and Chad on the north and Cameroon on the east(all francophone). Atlantic Ocean forms the southern border. About 70% of the land is arable and receives water from rivers Niger and Benue.The country is deeply endowed with natural resources including petroleum, gas,tin etc.

Nigeria has Africa’s largest economy by a mile, with a GDP twice the combined total of all of West Africa combined. The country is considered a regional hegemon,with the largest and most powerful military in the region. Nigeria is the most developed country in the region with the best infrastructure, the largest middle class, the most technologically advanced in the region and the largest and most successful entertainment industry in Africa.

What makes Anglophone West Africa different? The United States in Reverse.

These are the only countries in Africa formed by freed slaves of Europe and the United States. All these states are multi-ethnic and multi-lingual with each having distinct rich and diverse cultures.The ethnic groups have more in common with other groups in neighboring countries than with groups in the country. All these states have a group that lives mostly in the capital that is dominated by the freed slaves from Europe and USA,with the exception of Ghana and Nigeria.


The continuing ubiquitous and negative presence of French neo-colonialism in West Africa has been and still is a major impediment to the continuous domination of English speaking . Paris had sought to break up Nigeria during its civil war in 1967-1970 in order to reduce the country’s potential influence on the sub-region’s eight francophone countries.

When, thanks to the British that didn’t work, Paris encouraged francophone countries to form rival trade blocs that contradicted ECOWAS’ integration goals. Today, the currency of these countries is still tied to a French-backed euro, while Paris maintains a 3000-strong military presence in Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, and Senegal; as well as an air force bases Chad and Mali and drones in Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

Now, its important to note in French-speaking parts of the continent it is Paris that is fully in control. Who becomes president and how national affairs are conducted is a matter determined by the French for their own interest under the colonial-era doctrine of Françafrique. And unfortunate tax-payers of these enslaved countries foot much of the bill for this neo-colonialism.

At the end of his first week in office, newly elected President Emmanuel Macron visited French troops in Mali. Macron flew into Gao, a city in Mali’s north, where political unrest and ethnic strife have raged for more than five years. He met some of the 1,600 French soldiers stationed there, at the largest French military base outside of France.

The final nailing of the coffin of Anglophone diplomatic and military dominance in West Africa was in 2013. Years of lack of investment and neglect of the Nigerian military meant the country could not carry out its defacto obligation of maintaining peace and security in West Africa by virtue of Nigeria’s military might and size, which dwarfs the armies of al francophone countries int the region combined in size and equipment.

By being unable to lead a military intervention in Mali Nigeria ceded her position as the guarantor of security in West Africa to the French, who could hardly believe their luck. The French, aided by Chadian forces carried out a spectacular military intervention in Mali, its former colony in January 2013 in an effort to drive out al-Qaeda-linked groups which had taken advantage of the unrest and conflict created by a rebellion of the ethnic Tuaregs in 2012 to try to take control of the central government in Bamako, Mali’s capital.

Mirage fighter jets in Mali. France maintains 3,000 troops and dozens of fighter jets in Mali.

It is important to understand the astonishing level of French influence in all supposed independent French colonies and the continuing role of the French Government and army in the region.

A French army picture of Puma helicopters in the northern Mali region of Adrar des Ifoghas on 8 March 2013. (PA)

France established military bases in Africa during the colonial period and maintained a military presence in Africa after the ‘flag independence’ of its former colonies in the 1960s. The independence struggle of French Africa resulted, with the exception of Guinea, in the notional independence of the African states, each with a flag, a national anthem, a football team, and a continuing dependence on France under the terms of a Colonial Pact. The terms of this pact were agreed at the time of independence as a condition of the de-colonialization of the African states.

The Colonial Pact Agreement enshrined a number of special preferences for France in the political, commercial and defence processes in the African countries. On defence, it agreed two types of continuing contact. The first was the agreement on military co-operation or Technical Military Aid (AMT) agreements. These covered education, training of soldiers and officers of African security forces.

The second type, secret and binding, were defence agreements supervised and implemented by the French Ministry of Defence, which served as a legal basis for French interventions within the African states by French military forces. These agreements allowed France to have pre-deployed troops and police in bases across Africa; in other words, French army and gendarme units present permanently and by rotation in bases and military facilities in Africa, run entirely by the French. The Colonial Pact was much more than an agreement to station soldiers across Africa. It bound the economies of Africa to the control of France. It made the CFA franc the national currency in both former colonial regions of Africa and created a continuing, and enforceable, dependency on France.

End of Part One







3 Replies to “Is Golden Age of English Speaking West Africa Gone?”

  1. Most Nigerian Politicians Have What I Call The Small Picture Mentality, Always After Fillin Their Pocket. They Fail To Take This Long Term Threat Into Consideration. And Our Top Tier Military Officials Who Are Supposed To Understand And Advise Them Have Over Time Joined Them. But The Leadership Of The Current Administration In Person Of The President Himself Who Have Personally Led A Battle Against French Backed Chad Will Hopefully Change This Story. As We Have Seen In Terms Of Many Bilateral Military Relation With Other World Powers, An Upgrade In Our Military Infrastructure, Equipment, And Troop Morale Plus Leadership Within A Short Period Of Time. Hopefully Hopefully We Will Recover.

    Liked by 1 person

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