Word of the day: the Sahel

The term is derived from the Arabic word for coast or shore and here it is used in a figurative sense in reference to the southern edge of the vast Sahara.

So the Sahel is a huge region of Africa between sands of the Sahara to the north and the savanna of Sudan to the south. It is a 5,900 km (3,670 mi) corridor between the Atlantic Ocean on the west and the Red Sea on the east.

The Sahel part of Africa includes from west to east parts of no less than 14 countries: northern Senegal, southern Mauritania, central Mali, northern Burkina Faso, the extreme south of Algeria, Niger, the extreme north of Nigeria, the extreme north of Cameroon and Central African Republic, central Chad, central and southern Sudan, the extreme north of South Sudan, Eritrea and the extreme north of Ethiopia

The problems of the region are huge: weak governance, rampant corruption, poor living standards, severe climate change, radical Islamic terrorism, and conflict over natural resources including rare-earth minerals.


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