The Sahel

A regional advisor visits a USAID/OFDA-supported community garden in Chad.
A regional advisor visits a USAID/OFDA-supported community garden in Chad.
Rachel Gallagher/USAID

Key Developments

The overall situation in the Sahel has improved since the food insecurity and acute malnutrition crisis in 2011/2012, with the majority of households across the region experiencing stable food security conditions in 2013, according to the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET). Nonetheless, pockets of food insecurity and acute malnutrition persisted during the year, and the U.N. estimated that approximately 11 million people throughout the Sahel remained food-insecure.

In 2013, sporadic insecurity flared across the Sahel, particularly in Mali and Nigeria. In northern Nigeria, escalating violence since May has displaced thousands and negatively impacted regional markets. In Mali, however, the situation has improved significantly after nearly 20 months of instability, although incidents of violence continue in the north.

To aid more than 3 million food-insecure and conflict-affected people in the Sahel, the U.S. Government (USG) provided approximately $231 million in humanitarian assistance in FY 2013. USG support included cash transfers, food distributions, and agricultural, nutritional, and livelihoods activities, as well as assistance for displaced populations.


USAID/OFDA $58,863,817
USAID/FFP $133,049,120
State/PRM $38,998,715
Total USAID and State Assistance to the Sahel $230,911,652

*These figures are current as of September 30, 2013


In 2011/2012, the Sahel—including parts of Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, The Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal—experienced a food insecurity and acute malnutrition crisis that affected approximately 18.7 million people, according to the U.N. As of August 2013, some 11.3 million people throughout the region remained food insecure. Insecurity in the region continues to cause population displacement and disrupt trade flows and normal migration patterns, complicating food security conditions in affected areas.

Related Sectors of Work 

Last updated: October 30, 2013

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