Sahel Regional

Country Overview

Who are we?

The Sahel Regional Office (SRO), based in Dakar, is part of the USAID mission to Senegal and houses the Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) West Africa Regional Office. Together, its team of 31 staff supports the implementation of over 100 activities in the region.

Where do we work?

The SRO supports development activities in Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Chad, The Gambia, Mauritania, and Guinea Bissau, as well as some regional efforts in Niger. In addition, the BHA West Africa Regional Office monitors humanitarian needs in a 20-country region and currently supports humanitarian response and resilience programs in eleven countries in the region.

Why are we here?

The Sahel is home to some of the poorest people and countries in the world. It is a vast and arid area where rapid climate change is causing natural disasters to occur with increasing frequency and severity.

Over the past decade, the region has also experienced increasingly violent armed conflicts with the rapid emergence of extremist groups such as Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and Boko Haram. This has led to inter-communal violence that has killed thousands and resulted in the displacement of millions.

People living in the Sahel are overwhelmingly young. For example, in Burkina Faso, nearly 45 percent of the population is below the age of 15. Because many are also extremely poor, they are vulnerable to violent extremists’ recruitment efforts.

What Are We Doing?

We work with our colleagues in each country, at headquarters in Washington D.C., and in USAID’s West Africa Regional Mission in Ghana to implement activities in health, agriculture, environment, water, sanitation, economic growth, education, democracy, human rights, and governance. These activities are designed to achieve five goals.

The first is to increase the ability of people and communities to prepare for, go through, and bounce back from hardship - what we refer to as resilience. Hardships could include natural disasters, armed conflicts, or failed harvests.

The second is to prevent and counter violent extremism. We promote security by helping communities resolve local grievances, improve accountable governance, and offer economic opportunities to youth vulnerable to extremist recruitment.

The third is to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to populations affected by disasters and conflict.

The fourth is to help the people of the Sahel to adapt to rapid climate change events and forces that contribute to desertification and other natural phenomena, such as more frequent and intense floods or droughts.

The last is to help people and countries in the region to address health threats such as COVID-19, malaria, malnutrition, AIDS, and obstacles to people’s ability to access primary health care.

What Is Our Budget?

During the 2022 financial year, the Sahel Regional Office managed approximately $235 million in resources for development activities in Sahel countries. During the same period, USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) provided over $857 million worth of humanitarian assistance to people affected by conflict, floods, drought, and other types of disasters.

What Are We Achieving?

USAID’s work in the region is saving and transforming lives. It allows people to escape chronic poverty, earn a living, and increase their chances of living a peaceful life in their communities. Our work also reduces the susceptibility of youth to be recruited into armed and extremist groups.

  • In Burkina Faso, nearly 405,000 mothers and their newborns received pregnancy, natal, and/or neonatal health care. The neonatal period is the most critical time for child survival: mortality during that period accounts for approximately half of all deaths for children under five.
  • In Burkina Faso and Niger, more than 1.2 million people benefitted from improved water services.
  • In Burkina Faso, USAID partners treated 146,000 cases of child diarrhea and 450,000 cases of childhood pneumonia. In Burkina Faso, diarrhea is the second largest cause of death for children under five.
  • In Burkina Faso and Niger, more than 255,000 hectares of land started to be managed and rehabilitated with improved practices and technologies. Some pastures that used to barely suffice to meet herders’ needs are now generating surplus sales. This brings the total area under improved management since 2020 to 508,000 hectares.
  • In Burkina Faso and Niger, 82,000 individuals in the agriculture and food system, mostly women, applied improved management practices or technologies with USAID assistance. This brings that number to 320,000 individuals since 2020. As a result, the total sales of producers and firms receiving this assistance increased by 24 percent over the past year.
  • In Mauritania, USAID and its partners assisted more than 170,000 food-insecure individuals in crisis-affected areas.
  • In Chad, USAID’s emergency food assistance reached nearly 1.8 million people in 2022. USAID built 70 shelters, provided hygiene kits, and distributed kitchen supplies to nearly 7,000 people displaced by conflicts in the country.

How Can I Learn More?

Visit our pages on USAID’s website at You can also email us at, and our communication team based in Senegal will get back to you. If you are in the U.S., you can contact the communication team of the USAID Africa Bureau at


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