The scientific objectives and research program of the IGCP-646 project (2015–2018) cuts across many disciplines and includes various aspects of continental basement geology, resource exploration (mineral, water and hydrocarbons), geohazard mitigation, and climate change, all of which are of critical importance to developing countries, particularly in parts of West Africa where population pressures are on the rise. Considerable emphasis was placed on capacity building, creation of opportunities for young scientists to undertake higher degrees programs, knowledge transfer and training. The SIDA-funded “pilot project” IGCP-616Y (started in 2012), focused on three objects (i) crustal architecture, tectonic evolution and regional geology of Central Africa and the connection with NE Brazil; (ii) the Mesozoic continental rifting and breakup leading to a better integration of the onshore and offshore geology; (iii) clarification and quantification of the links between basement structures, neotectonics, climate change and landscape evolution. The IGCP-616Y and IGCP-646 projects consisted of over 250 researchers, from different countries. In the course of the projects, six annual meetings, four field trips/workshops, as well as several training sessions were organized. ... mehrHere we provide a summary of the scientific targets of the projects and a summary of the organized activities.