[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n keeping with the upward trend of growth in Africa, the Area Presidency of the Africa West Area of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced the pending creation of the 100th stake in the area sometime near the end of June. The exact location of the new stake is still being determined.
A letter from the Area Presidency in April encouraged Church members to find ways to celebrate this incredible milestone:
We invite all Latter-day Saints to celebrate this miracle of growth and to invite their friends and neighbors to join with us. This celebration will coincide with the 30th anniversary of the creation of the first stake in West Africa and with the 40th anniversary of the June 8, 1978 revelation on priesthood, when the Church officially began in West Africa. We ask that each stake and district of the Church organize and conduct activities and events to take place from June 8 through June 25, 2018.
To put this in perspective, the 100th stake of the Church was organized in Lehi, Utah in 1928, nearly 100 years since the founding of the Church. Obviously, as time has gone on and the critical mass of the Church increases, 100 stakes are easier to come by in quicker succession. Nevertheless, 100 stakes is a big deal, and something of a major celebratory milestone for the Church wherever it may occur.
Church growth in Africa has exploded in particular over the past 10 or so years, as stakes are seemingly continuously organized, and a number of new temples have been announced or are under construction across the continent. In terms of concentrating that growth into justifiable demand for a temple, the Abidjan Cote d’Ivoire Temple was announced in 2015.
The Africa West Area comprises 17 countries (if counting Western Sahara as as sovereign state), of which 8 have organized Church units: Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal, and Togo.
The countries lacking an organized LDS presence are predominantly Muslim, although sizable Muslim minorities thrive in the countries with organized units. Senegal is the only outlier, as it is 95% Muslim but has two LDS branches.
As of April 15 2018, there were 332,162 members in the Africa West Area across 97 stakes and 41 districts, with missionary work organized across 15 missions. There are two open temples in Nigeria and Ghana, as well as the aforementioned Cote d’Ivoire temple in the works.