Famine Meets with Conflicts in West African Sahel Region: A Retrospective Study

Monday, July 14, 2014: 3:45 PM
Room: 424
Oral Presentation
Oluyemi FAYOMI , Political Science and International Relations, Covenant University, Ota, Nigeria
Lady AJAYI , Political Science and International Relations, Covenant University, Ota, Nigeria
Dominic AZUH , Economics and Development Studies, Covenant University, Ota, Nigeria
The Sahel constitutes the eco-climatic and bio-geographic zone of transition, in Africa, between the Sahara desert to the north and the Sudanese Savanna to the south. It  covers parts of (from west to east) the Gambia, Senegal, southern Mauritania, central Mali, Burkina Faso, southern Algeria and Niger, northern Nigeria and Cameroon, central Chad, southern Sudan, northern South Sudan and Eritrea. Famine has been a perennial problem in the Sahel region of West Africa and some parts of Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Sudan are hard hit. One of the area’s worst droughts occurred in 1914, but the increased rainfall throughout the 1960s made the drier areas more sustainable. The highly visible famines occurred between 1968 and 1974, 2005 and 2007 and in 2010. And these recorded the presence of international humanitarian assistance. In the West African Sahel, majority of people survive by producing crops such as groundnuts, grains and in addition rearing of animal. Man-made problems also complicated the issues of famine and its attendant consequences particularly the political instability of several countries where the locust had infested their crops could not receive adequate treatment. For examples conflicts in Mali and Niger forced over 300,000 people from various households with many escaping to refugee camps in neighbouring countries. Traditional animal grazing routes have been cut off and many local markets were closed due to the conflicts, which have far reaching consequences for West Africa sub-regional food security. The paper discusses the historical antecedents of famine and conflicts in the Sahel region of West Africa, analyses the effectiveness of the World Food Programme , the governments of the various affected countries and other international humanitarian assistance in the quest for food security in the sub-region. Consequently, the paper recommends plausible solutions to both famine and conflicts in the region.