The main petrological, mineralogical, and geochemical features of the metavolcanites belonging to the Late Proterozoic tectono-sedimentary units of southern Mauritanides (Termessé and Niokolo Koba – Koulountou) and western Hoggar, Algeria (Timesselarsine), permit a reconstruction of the geodynamic environment that controlled the evolution of the Pan-African ranges of western Africa. Flows and pyroclastic beds metamorphosed under greenschist-facies conditions are interbedded within detritic and carbonate platform sediments, suggesting an unstable environment in the vicinity of a continental margin.The association of oceanic tholeiites slightly enriched in LREE and basalts more enriched in TiO2, Zr, Nb, and LREE displaying alkalic affinities suggests intracontinental rifting succeeded by expansion. The lack of ultrabasic – basic complexes (oceanic paleosutures) in southern Mauritanides and their occurrence in the Hoggar suggest that the opening was bigger in the north than in the south.The later calc-alkalic sequences of the Niokolo Koba – Koulountou units are tectonically associated with the Termessé unit. In the Timesselarsine unit, calc-alkalic acid rocks coexist with the basic lavas previously mentioned. Thus, the closure of the rift related to a continental collision appears to be later in southern Mauritanides than in the Hoggar.