The First Presidency this week announced Area Presidency assignments throughout the world, and the creation of five new areas, effective Aug. 15. The new areas are Africa West, Brazil North, South America West, Pacific Islands and North America East.
Area presidencies are composed of General Authorities from the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy, and Area Authority Seventies from the Third, Fourth and Fifth Quorums of the Seventy.The new areas will bring the number worldwide to 28. Nine of the areas will be in the United States and Canada; six in South America; three in Mexico and Central America; three in Europe, including the British Isles; two in Africa; two in Asia; two in the Pacific; and one in the Philippines.
While the areas in the United States and Canada will have grown from seven to nine in the 13 years since the areas were created, those areas outside the United States and Canada will have jumped from six to 21.
The new areas are:
The Africa Area, created in 1990, will be divided to create the Africa West and Africa Southeast Areas. Growth in the west African coastal nations of Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria, as well as the interior nation of Congo, will anchor the new Africa West Area. It will include the additional nations of Western Sahara, Rwanda, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Senegal, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Benin Togo, Central African Republic, Congo, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cameroon, Equitorial Guinea and Gabon.
The membership in the new area, with headquarters in Accra, Ghana, will total about 68,000 in 15 stakes and six missions.
The countries in the Africa Southeast Area will include, in the south, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Comoros, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Madagascar, Swaziland, and South Africa. In the east, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Eritrea, Dibouti and Tanzania will be in the area. In these countries are 40,000 members in six stakes and seven missions with headquarters to remain in Johannesburg, South Africa.
With the division of the Brazil Area into the Brazil North and Brazil South areas, Brazil will become the second nation outside the United States, besides Mexico, to comprise two areas. The new Brazil North Area will include the larger but less-populous northern area, the width of which is roughly equivalent to the distance between New York and San Francisco. The headquarters of the new area will be in Recife, where missionary work was opened in 1960. The new area will include some 240,000 members in 55 stakes and 11 missions, including the newly created Brazil Joao Pessoa and Brazil Goiania missions that just opened July 1.
The Brazil South Area will retain the highly populous area on the south coast with 400,000 members in 118 stakes and 16 missions. One of these missions, the Brazil Santa Maria, just opened July 1. This area will keep its headquarters in Sao Paulo.
South America West
The South America North Area will be divided to create the two-nation South America West Area, comprised of Peru and Bolivia. The new area, with headquarters in Lima, Peru, will include 412,000 members in 101 stakes and nine missions.
The South America North Area, comprised of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, will retain its headquarters in Quito, Ecuador. It will have 340,000 members in 71 stakes and 11 missions.
The vast Pacific Area will be divided to separate the two largest land areas from the smaller island groups.
The Pacific Islands Area will include many islands where the Church is still developing, as well as island groups such as French Polynesia, Samoa and Tonga where the Church is well-established. It will have its headquarters in Auckland, New Zealand. The Pacific Islands Area will include Micronesia, in a realignment of the Philippines/Micronesia Area. It will have some 157,000 members in 47 stakes and five missions.
The Australia/New Zealand Area will have its headquarters in Sydney, Australia, for its 181,000 members in 54 stakes and 11 missions. It will include Papua New Guinea and The Solomon Islands.
North America East
Creation of the North America East Area, from a division of the North America Northeast and North America Southeast areas, will be the first new area in North America since the creation of the North America Central Area in 1987 (with the exception of the short-lived Utah Central Area). The new area will include all or most of the states of Indiana, Ohio, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina. The area will have some 290,000 members in 70 stakes and 13 missions.
The realigned North America Northeast Area will include the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont, and the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Quebec. Within its boundaries live some 270,000 members in 61 stakes and 19 missions.
The realigned North America Southeast Area will include the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina; the Caribbean islands of the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and others; as well as Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana on the northern coast of South America. In this area, including the Caribbean, will be 355,000 members in 75 stakes and 20 missions. Headquarters of this area will be in Atlanta, Ga.