To address growing food insecurity that is already affecting tens of millions of people across West Africa, the United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing more than $311 million in additional humanitarian assistance to support vulnerable people in the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin regions.
The additional funding announced today will enable USAID partners to provide emergency food and nutrition assistance for more than 3.8 million people. This latest USAID contribution will include in-kind food assistance such as rice, grains, vegetable oil, and specialized food for the treatment of acute malnutrition, in addition to vouchers and cash for purchasing food from local markets, thereby supporting the local economy. This funding also supports protection activities – including safe spaces and psychosocial support – for conflict-affected communities, as well as emergency shelter, water, sanitation, and hygiene assistance.
This newly announced assistance comes at a critical time, as the United Nations estimates that more than 35 million people will face food shortages during the upcoming lean season in West Africa, which is the period between planting and harvest from May to August when food typically runs out across agricultural communities. In the Sahel, this is exacerbated by an existing poor harvest and the effects of conflict that continue to deplete household food stocks and resources, resulting in more than 20 million people needing food assistance. In the Lake Chad Basin, the ongoing conflict continues to generate widespread food insecurity, which has been exacerbated by displacement, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The United States remains committed to helping the people of West Africa during this time of need, with USAID contributing more than $944 million in assistance to the Lake Chad Basin and Sahel regions combined since October 2020. This funding, announced at the European-Union organized 2022 High-Level Pledging event on the Food and Nutrition Crises in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions, continues America’s enduring support for the most vulnerable people of West Africa.
To underscore the Biden Administration’s commitment to increase collaboration and engagement with Africa, USAID recently attended the third annual General Assembly of the Sahel Alliance, hosted in Madrid; the first since the US became a full member. This full membership status will offer opportunities to partner in new ways with donors, the private sector, and the host government to help strengthen development and reform efforts in the Sahel. The United States will also leverage this partnership to address growing insecurity in West Africa.