AbstractWe review the recent progress in dynamical and statistical downscaling approaches for west African precipitation and perform a regional climate model (RCM) intercomparison using the novel multi-model RCM data set from the Ensembles-based Predictions of Climate Changes and Their Impacts (ENSEMBLES) and African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analyses (AMMA) projects. Present RCMs have distinct systematic errors in terms of west African precipitation varying in amplitude and pattern across models. This is also reflected in a relatively large spread in projected future precipitation trends. Altogether, the ENSEMBLES RCMs indicate a prevailing drying tendency in sub-Saharan Africa. Statistical post-processing of simulated precipitation is a promising tool to reduce systematic model errors before application in impact studies.