Southern Africa

Latest Southern Africa Fact Sheet

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Key Developments

USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) is responding to disasters in Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.

Countries across Southern Africa continue to recover from prolonged drought conditions associated with the 2015/2016 El Niño climatic event. Favorable rainfall during 2017 resulted in above-average harvests in some areas, and the number of people in the region requiring emergency food assistance decreased from 18.1 million people in 2016 to 4.4 million people in 2017—an approximately 75 percent decrease.

Dry conditions and above-normal temperatures intensified from December 2017 to mid-January 2018 across many areas of Southern Africa, threatening agricultural production and food security conditions, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network. In contrast, above-average rainfall in the northern half of the region—including northern Malawi, northern Mozambique, Tanzania, and northern Madagascar—has supported crop development, but could contribute to flooding and increasing the risk of waterborne diseases, such as cholera.

Fall armyworm (FAW)—an invasive species of caterpillar that can damage staple and cash crops—continues to damage crops in Southern Africa. As of October 2017, all mainland Southern Africa countries, with the exception of Lesotho, had detected and reported FAW infestations, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Host governments in affected countries are implementing activities to respond to, mitigate, and monitor FAW-related impacts on agriculture in the region.

USAID continues to support drought recovery across Southern Africa. Through UN and non-governmental organization partners, USAID is supporting the delivery of emergency food assistance, increasing access to nutrition and water, sanitation, and hygiene services for vulnerable populations, and strengthening household resilience through agricultural and livestock programs.


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Last updated: August 03, 2018

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