With funding from USAID/OFDA, Near East Foundation (NEF) distributes cash vouchers to beneficiaries in Mopti Region
With funding from USAID/OFDA, Near East Foundation (NEF) distributes cash vouchers to beneficiaries in Mopti Region, central Mali, in July 2013.

Key Developments

The U.N. estimates that 20 million people—nearly 13 percent of the region’s population—will face food insecurity in the Sahel in 2014. Of those, up to 2.5 million people faced Crisis—Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC)3—levels of food insecurity and required emergency food assistance as of February. The remainder are coping with Stressed—IPC 2—levels and are in need of livelihood support.

Escalated violence in northeastern Nigeria has internally displaced hundreds of thousands of people, while more than 57,000 people, including returning migrants, have fled to Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. Unrest has affected crop production and will likely have long-term impacts on regional food security, as Nigeria serves as West Africa’s largest supplier of staple cereals.

In northern Mali, improved security conditions are facilitating the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs), as well as people displaced to neighboring countries, to northern areas of origin, reports Mali’s Commission on Population Movements. The commission identified food as a primary need among IDPs, returnees, and host communities in the north.

To date in FY 2014, the U.S. Government has provided more than $205.2 million in humanitarian assistance to the Sahel. Funding includes $171.3 million from USAID to support agriculture, food security, nutrition, and other activities, and $33.9 million from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration for conflict-affected people in Mali, as well as Malian refugees in Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Niger.


USAID/OFDA $35,744,533
USAID/FFP $135,600,419
State/PRM $33,900,000
Total USAID and State Assistance to the Sahel $205,244,952

*These figures are current as of May 16, 2014


The U.N. estimated that as many as 20 million people throughout the Sahel—including parts of Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, The Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal—were food insecure as of February 2014. In July 2013, an estimated 11.3 million people in the region were affected by or at-risk of food insecurity, according to the U.N. The year prior, erratic rainfall and decreased agricultural production propelled the Sahel into a food insecurity and malnutrition crisis that depleted household food stocks, resources, and livelihood assets.

In Mali and its neighboring countries, the effects linger from a conflict that began in northern Mali in January 2012 and triggered massive population displacement throughout the region. While the situation improved in 2013, the displacement, as well as disrupted trade flows and migration patterns, continue to complicate food security conditions in affected areas.

Related Sectors of Work 

Last updated: June 27, 2014

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