7 African Countries With Large Igbo Presence

7 African Countries With Large Igbo Presence

by Joy

When God charged Noah and his sons, when they stepped out of the ark, to go into the world and multiply, you’d bet he was speaking to the Igbo people.

Scattered across the globe are Igbo people from all either sides of the Niger and all quarters of Igboland, doing exploits and building establishment in countries that their grandparents didn’t know existed and their fathers cannot locate on a map.

It is often said that three out of every five Nigerian you meet abroad are of Igbo descent. This is true and gives credence to the idiom “Anaghi akwu ofu ebe ekiri mmanwu” which loosely means that to achieve results, one should not stand at a place. Literally, no one stands in a spot to watch the masquerade.

This is the basis of the Igboman’s adventure 

In every African country, you enter there is an Igbo presence that is undeniable from the business sector and others. However, there are countries with a heavy Igbo presence than the others, maybe because of acceptability or of course, because they prosper and flourish more, whatever might be the case, here the top African countries with Igbo presence. 


Equatorial Guinea

The small oil-rich country of Equatorial Guinea is arguably the African country with the most Igbo presence. The Igbos make up 5% of the country’s population which is estimated to be around 1,454,789, hence, they are regarded as a minority group. 

The Igbos were officially declared by the government as the third-largest, after Fang and Bubi tribes in Equatorial Guinea, they occupy a small area in Bioko Island.

Read this – How did the name Igbo come to be?

If you wonder how the Igbos of Equatorial Guinea came to be, it has a rich history behind it. They were said to have migrated from Arochukwu, Abia State centuries ago. Remember the Aro confederacy and their reach during the slave era and after it, well, they reached beyond the shores of Nigeria.

Other Igbo sub-groups have made the sojourn since the turn of the last century.



In a population of 26,545,864, in Cameron, Igbos make up a whopping 7% of the population. It can be argued that Igbos are natives of Cameroon since the time of Eri – or to de-hyperbolize, just after that. While it can be said that in search of greener pasture before the time of the colonial masters that they have settled in the country, whichever is the case, there is deep Igbo root in Cameroon.

A British report during the colonial era affirmed the presence of Igbos in Cameroon as early as the time of the German rulership colonial which started at the end of the 1800s. Then Igbos occupied strategic positions and controlled trade in the region, they wielded a huge influence in the country, 

The Igbo language is one of their recognized regional languages.



When it comes to countries with a large Igbo presence, Gabon is somewhere at the top. The Igbo presence in Gabon is one that the president of the country was alleged to be of Igbo descent by French Investigative Journalist, Pierre Pean sometime in 2015.

The presence of the Igbo people in Gabon was heavily influenced by the Nigeria Civil war of 1967 to 1970 which majorly affected the Igbos, that the then president of Gabon openly supported Biafra. As a country that was sympathetic to the Igbo cause, they opened their arms and many Igbos made it to Gabon for safety. And made a home there.



Igbos have penetrated countries on the ends of the earth, say less of one that is practically, almost, their next-door neighbour. As expected Ghana is one of the African countries with a large presence of Igbos. 

The Igbo community in Ghana is estimated to be in the lower hundreds of thousands. The Igbos have a fully functional independent community in Ghana.

The Gambia

The Igbo community in The Gambia is one that is strong both in numbers and achievement even though it is not officially recognized as an ethnic group. 


According to sources, there are tens of thousands of Igbos living in The Gambia. This is not an earth-shaking number but when compared to the smallness of the Gambia and the just two million population, you would appreciate the Igbos posting such numbers.

The Igbos in The Gambia have a strong sense of community and they are known for their humanitarian efforts across the country.

Sierra Leone

In the years following the abolition of the slave trade, slaves were shipped back to their homelands, but it has been many decades, and some of them who were stolen as children could not remember their way home. Those who could not find their way home formed a community in Sierra Leone called Freetown. 


Igbo slaves were amongst the slaves that settled in Freetown, that formed a settlement that has all the working of a functional Igbo community. Over the years, the community grew and thrived firmly becoming part of the natives.

This one is arguable because they are not exactly the same with the Igbos they left behind. What we are saying, beyond the community that identifies as Igbo, there are thousands of pants of Igbo blood flowing in the veins of many Sierra Leonians who may no longer identify their ancestry.

There are many Igbos who left for Sierra Leone who have nothing to do with the slave trade of centuries back.


South Africa 

In 2010, South Africa hosted the World Cup Games. We took a look at the clips of fans coming out to support the Nigerian team and over 80% of them were Igbos.

South Africa is one of the countries a large percentage of Igbo young men migrate to in search of greener pastures. This can be seen in the number of businesses that are owned by Igbos over there. When the Xenophobia attack broke out, Igbos were the worst hit evident in the videos of business owners crying online.


There is no exact figure for the number of Igbos in South Africa but a quick tour around the country shows that the country is populated with Igbos. Not that we expect you to make the tour. Now, here’s what you can do – counts towns and villages with a large community of their kins in South Africa and you would run short of fingers and toes and ribs and bones and not exhaust the numbers.

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