Areas of East, West, and southern Africa are highly vulnerable to drought and conflict over natural resources. Programs are building resilience in the region through investments in agriculture and livestock, access to water, economic growth, improved governance and conflict reduction.
Large areas are vulnerable to recurring drought. The region’s drylands experience frequent droughts that damage pastoralists’ livelihoods and increase conflict over natural resources. As weather patterns become less predictable and extreme weather events more common, it’s more important than ever to build resilience in the region. Conflict, forced migration, and internal displacement also contribute to vulnerability in some areas.
Regional programs working to build resilience in East Africa include:
- The Intergovernmental Authority on Development implements the Drought Disaster Resilience and Sustainability Initiative.
- The Horn of Africa Resilience Network, established by USAID, supports mutually reinforcing activities.
- The Regional Resilience Framework Monitoring Protocol tracks progress on resilience building in the region.
- Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program is one of the largest safety net programs in the world.
- Kenya’s National Drought Management Authority works with international donors to coordinate resilience and economic growth activities in the country’s arid and semi-arid regions.
The Sahel is an arid band stretching 1.1 million square miles from Senegal to Chad with limited annual rainfall. This zone has a combustible mix of deeply rooted chronic poverty, food insecurity and recurrent drought that drive the same vulnerable communities into crisis year after year. While the Sahel has not experienced a major drought since 2012, local shocks occur regularly. According to a 2016 survey in Niger and Burkina Faso, 96% of households experienced a shock in the previous year. One poor harvest can push millions of the most vulnerable from severe risk into a humanitarian crisis.
Several regional organizations, in partnership with international donors, are working to build resilience in the Sahel and West Africa:
- The Global Alliance for Resilience Initiative (AGIR) works closely with ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), the West African Economic and Monetary Union, and international organizations to support national activities and foster coordination and synergies between resilience activities in the region.
- The CILSS (Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel) helps coordinate the various stakeholders working to build resilience in the region.
In addition to their work with these regional organizations, international donors are building resilience in the region by investing in agriculture and livestock, expanding access to water, creating new economic opportunities, improving governance, and reducing conflict.
Droughts, floods, and pests create vulnerability. Southern Africa's coastal areas are at risk from increasingly intense tropical cyclones, and several countries in the region have experienced significant macroeconomic challenges in recent years that have exacerbated these and other vulnerabilities.
Under the Southern African Development Community’s Regional Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis Programme, most countries in the region have created multistakeholder national vulnerability assessment committees or similar structures. These committees monitor resilience capacities at the household and individual level, but efficacy varies significantly from country to country. International donors are working with national governments to increase local, national, and regional capacity to respond to weather events, combat pests, and protect ecological and natural resources.