5 Signs of Improvement in the Sahel

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As it does every year, the Sahel’s lean season hit the population of Africa hard this season. The lean season is the period in between the farmers’ planting of their crops and the time in which they can reap the benefits of the harvest. After almost a year of crisis in the Sahel, 18.7 million people in more than 9 countries have faced a lack of food and depleted grain sacks. More than 1 million children are at risk of severe acute malnutrition as a result of the previous lean season. However, things are about to take a turn for the better. The harvest season begins very soon and certain signs indicating improvement in the Sahel are apparent.

  1. A good harvest is expected: The UN claims the food insecurity and malnutrition in the Sahel is likely to ease in October. The immense amount of rain Niger received starting in August of last year served as a great source of nourishment for many farmers’ crops.
  2. Funding of Burkina Faso’s agricultural plans: This plan creates a partnership between rich countries, poor countries, and the private sector. The goal of this plan is to lift 50 million people out of poverty with the use of agricultural improvement within the next 10 years.
  3. Boosting Africa’s economy: Since May 21, many private sector companies have signed letters of intent to invest an additional $500 million in the growth of African agriculture.
  4. Renewed focus for security in Mali: Recently, the situation in Mali was brought to the attention of the UN again. After much deliberation over the issue, there is a regional block of countries planning to send 3,300 soldiers to Mali government to stabilize the situation. If this plan is carried out, the risk of civilian casualties would be greatly reduced.
  5. UN Special Envoy to the Sahel: At the UN General Assembly last week, Ban Ki-moon announced an Integrated Regional Strategy for the Sahel along with the nomination of a UN Special Envoy for the region. This strategy would combine “strengthening of regional capacities to combat insecurity, prevent and respond to large-scale crises (socially and environmentally) and promote democratic governance and respect for human rights.”

These are all great signs of improvement for the Sahel region. However, more can always be done. We are taking a step forward in the right direction. There is improvement, and where there is improvement there is hope.

– Matthew Jackoski

Source: ONE
Photo: Oxfam

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