Sahel means "edge of the desert” in Arabic. This portion of semi-arid land stretches across Africa south of the Sahara Desert. Historically, people who lived here practiced sustenance (or subsistence) agriculture, but it had experienced bouts of drought that started in 1968.
1. Burkina Faso
This country’s name, Burkina Faso, means “land of honest men.” It has suffered poverty both because of droughts and military takeovers. The nation also struggled in the fight for human rights but did break away from colonial French rule by 1960.
Cameroon has a longstanding history of battling destitute economic conditions and low quality of living according to the United States' standards. However, they did experience some periods of prosperity after their independence in 1960.
Violence heightened in this area in 2016, and it’s still going on as of April 2022 as the country fights for its Anglophone territories.
In 1960 the U.S. formed a diplomacy with Chad, according to the Department of State. This area had experienced about 50 years of local unrest. As revealed in May 2020, the country became vulnerable to Libyan and Liberian violence. Chad reportedly hosted about 470,000 refugees during this time.
4. The Gambia
The Gambia classifies as a “military republic.” It also has one of the densest populations of all African countries. More than half of its people live in urban areas or in neighborhoods directly connected to them.
This landmass used to submit to British rule as a colony, but it gained its independence in 1965.
In July 2020, The USA Today ranked Guinea as the 24th poorest country in the world.
Only about one-third of this nation’s residents have electricity, a phenomenon unheard of in developed countries, such as the U.S. or Japan. Just 32% of the people living here can read and/or write, making it one of the places with the highest illiteracy rate.
At best, about 5% of Mauritania’s land could sustain crop growth. It is, however, one of the least populated places in the world. Most of the people who do live here reside in urban areas as reported by 2017.
Central portions of Mali reside in the Sahel zone, and northern parts of it reach into the Sahara Desert. Towards the south, that’s where more grassland occurs. It’s largest city and capital is Bamako, and that’s where most of its people live. About 90% of it consists of Muslims.
This classifies as one of the Sahel countries according to the United Nations. However, 65% of it includes Saharan Desert land. Most people in this nation live in the south. It has large portions of the world’s uranium sources, but it still remains a poor country.
Nigeria has a diverse number of people and languages within its borders. Abuja became its capital as of 1976, but its former capital, Lagos, still remains a leading commercial and industrial center as of April 2022.
It became independent as of 1960 but still continued commonwealth status. It apparently holds the status has the most people living within it of all of Africa.
Like many Sahel countries, Senegal achieved its independence in 1960. A report made after 2020 indicated that only about 40% of this nation’s farmlands has electrical power. It apparently has a stable political environment right now, but it still could use some economic improvement.