Phase I of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood has provided valuable information regarding international prevalence patterns and potential risk factors in the development of asthma, allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema. However, in Phase I, only six African countries were involved (Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Kenya, South Africa and Ethiopia). Phase III, conducted 5–6 years later, enrolled 22 centres in 16 countries including the majority of the centres involved in Phase I and new centres in Morocco, Tunisia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Togo, Sudan, Cameroon, Gabon, Reunion Island and South Africa. There were considerable variations between the various centres of Africa in the prevalence of the main symptoms of the three conditions: wheeze (4.0–21.5%), allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (7.2–27.3%) and eczema (4.7–23.0%). There was a large variation both between countries and between centres in the same country. Several centres, including Cape Town (20.3%), Polokwane (18.0%), Reunion Island (21.5%), Brazzaville (19.9%), Nairobi (18.0%), Urban Ivory Coast (19.3%) and Conakry (18.6%) showed relatively high asthma symptom prevalences, similar to those in western Europe. There were also a number of centres showing high symptom prevalences for allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (Cape Town, Reunion Island, Brazzaville, Eldoret, Urban Ivory Coast, Conakry, Casablanca, Wilays of Algiers, Sousse and Eldoret) and eczema (Brazzaville, Eldoret, Addis Ababa, Urban Ivory Coast, Conakry, Marrakech and Casablanca).