In 2013, when Jamila Ben Baba started her company, the first privately owned slaughterhouse in Mali, she did so in the midst of a civil war as Tuareg rebels grouped together in an attempt to administer a new northern state called Azawad.
Ben Baba, who is originally from Timbuktu, in northern Mali — where much of the civil war conflict took place — based the business in the country’s western region of Kayes and grew it into what is considered the largest private slaughter house in the West African nation.
The European Commission this week pledged $27.8 million in humanitarian support to the Sahel region as floods and the coronavirus pandemic exacerbate the stability in a region deeply in conflict.
While the figure is less than 2 percent of the $2.4 billion that the United Nations has appealed for, Amnesty International researcher Ousmane Diallo told IPS that despite past donations from international development partners to Sahelian countries, the situation hasn’t improved over the years.
The combination of rife insecurity, food insecurity and more than 7.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance has left the Sahel a region in crisis, with the global coronavirus pandemic expected to exacerbate the situation.
Children under five years of age are not surviving due to severe food shortages in some parts of the Lake Chad region, says Toby Lanzer, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel.
Millions of African farmers don’t need to adapt to climate change. They have done that already.
Climate change is projected by many scientists to bring with it a range of calamities – from widespread floods, to prolonged heatwaves and slowly but relentlessly rising seas – taking the heaviest toll on those already most vulnerable.
Still not enough is being done to improve the food emergency in Africa’s Sahel Region as conflict and instability continue to exacerbate any response towards aiding a region where one in eight people suffer from food insecurity.
In Africa's Sahel region, agroforestry techniques using traditional plantings known as "fertiliser trees" to increase soil fertility, as well as harvesting and grazing regulations, are offering new solutions to both food and human security.
Reporting that the worst of the food crisis in the Sahel region of Africa appears to have been averted, the United Nations’ top official on the area, David Gressley, warned on Wednesday that the potential passing of the immediate emergency should not divert international attention from what needs to be done in 2013, which he calls a critical year for building resilience in the region.
Salimata Coulibaly, director of a medical centre in the town of Korhogo in the northern Cote d’Ivoire region of Savanes, stood before a chart displaying before-and-after photos of local children – one taken when each child arrived at the centre, and one after he or she responded to treatment for malnutrition.
As Africa's Sahel region faces a new food crisis, smallholder famers hold the key to making future development policies sustainable.