The extent of genetic variation in seed length, width, thickness, weight and germination percentage and seedling traits among and within 12 African provenances of Faidherbia albida was examined. The regional provenances showed a consistent variation in seed length, seed width and seed weight: the southern African provenances had the largest seeds and west African provenances the smallest. Seedling height, stem collar diameter and true leaf number differed (P = 0.05) among the provenances 90 days after germination. The seedlings from west Africa were shorter, had smaller stem collar diameter and fewer leaves. In contrast, the southern and east African provenances had taller seedlings with bigger seedling diameter and more leaves per seedling. Seedling traits did not show clear-cut divisions between southern and east African provenances, but the west African provenances formed a distinct group. Positive correlations were found in some of the seed characteristics and seedling height among provenances, which could be an important criterion for early provenance selection. Greater variation was observed for seed and seedling traits among than within provenances suggesting that selection among provenances might result in rapid genetic gain for the traits studied.